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Winter Fun in BC Parks
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Winter Fun in BC Parks
  British Columbia Travel Tip

by Lorry Patton

There are 370 provincial parks in B.C. Some have been developed especially for wintertime fun. For instance, there's tobogganing, snowmobiling or cross-country skiing in Beatton Provincial Park on Alaska Highway; there's ice-fishing for northern pike and walleye in nearby Charlie Creek.

Cross-country skiing trails abound at Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park on Highway 97. Ten Mile Lake is also known for great snowshoeing, ice skating and ice-fishing. In Babine Mountains, Crooked River Provincial Park offers easy access to one of the best snowmobiling areas in the province. And West Lake Provincial Park near Prince George ( a popular park in the summer ) offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tobogganing throughout its 600 acres.

Still in the north country, Barkerville Historic Park on Highway 26 maintains cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails. One ski trail begins on the main street of town and ends in Richfield, a genuine gold rush ghost town. ( Barkerville, by the way, is a reconstructed gold rush town of the mid-1800's and quite a busy place in the summer. However, it looks more like the real thing during the winter months when the streets aren't packed with curious tourists. )

Winter is wild and wonderful in the Cariboo-Shuswap-Okanagan district as well. Some developed parks in the area for skiing and snowmobiling are Apex Mountain, Silver Star, Stake-McConnell Lakes and Wells Gray. For igloo building or winter wildlife photography, undeveloped parks such as Lac Le Juene and Shuswap Lake are popular.

Closer to Vancouver snow activities such as skating, skiing and snowshoeing are fantastic at Mt Seymour, Cypress and Manning Provincial Parks.

Finally, don't let the fact you don't ski or skate or ride snowmobiles or ice fish, keep you out of the parks. Build a snowman or maybe engage in a friendly exhilarating snowball fight, or, if that's too strenuous, flop on the ground and flap your arms. There. You've created a snow angel. Now, wasn't that fun?

There are campsites at all the above parks I mention except West Lake Provincial Park, Mt. Seymour, Cypress, Apex, Silver Star and Stake-McConnell Lakes Provincial Recreational Area. Most parks are open year-round. However, sites are usually not plowed of snow and toilets are not operating. Before traveling to B.C. parks during winter check with the District offices for current information and booklets or check out their website.

The following is a full list of provincial parks that are open off-season but with limited or no service and no reservations during off season months. Some are wilderness parks and are walk- in only. Be sure to enquire at the 800.689.9025 before traveling to any of these parks.

Call 800.689.9025 for more information on BC Parks or visit their website at www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks

Alice Lake: Located off Highway 99, just north of Squamish.

Akamina-Kishinena: Located the southeast corner of BC, near Waterton Lakes National Park.

Bamberton: Located approximately 45 km north of Victoria off Highway 1 near the north end of the Malahat Highway. Also serviced by BC Ferries;

Beaumont Marine: Located on the west side of South Pender Island Big Creek: Located approximately 100 km southwest of Williams Lake.

Bromley Rock: Located about 21 km east of Princeton, on Highway 3.

Buccaneer Bay: Located in Georgia Strait off the Sunshine Coast at the South end of North Thormanby Island.

Brandywine Falls: Located 47 km north of Squamish.

Cabbage Island Marine: Located in Georgia Strait off the northeast end of Tumbo Island on the east end of Saturna Island.

Cape Scott: Cape Scott is a hike-in park located approximately 64 km from Port Hardy..

Cariboo Mountains: Located northeast of Likely and east of Quesnel.

Carmanah Walbran: Located northwest of Port Renfrew.

Cowichan River - Stolz campground: Located near Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island..

D'Arcy Island Marine: Located west of Sidney Island in Haro Strait.

Darke Lake: Located northwest of Summerland off Highway 97.

Davis Lake: Located 19 km north of Mission.

Desolation Sound Marine: Located north of Powell River and Lund on the Sunshine Coast.

Dionisio Point: Located on the northeast tip of Galiano Island.

Discovery Island Marine: Located east of Victoria.

Drewry Point: Located 32 km south of Balfour across Kootenay Lake from Boswell.

Elk Falls: Located 3 km north of Campbell River on Highway 28.

Elk Lakes: Located in southeastern B.C., about 104 km north of Sparwood.

Eneas Lakes: Limited road access - 20 km of rough gravel road west of Peachland. Four wheel drive vehicles recommended; 4 km further northwest of Darke Lake provincial Park.

Englishman River Falls: Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is located 13 km southwest of Parksville..

Fillongley: Located on Denman Island.

Flat Lake: Located about 20 km southwest of 100 Mile House.

French Beach: Located on Highway 14, 20 km west of Sooke.

Garibaldi-- Red Heather Elfin: Located on Highway 99 between Squamish and Pemberton.

Golden Ears - Gold Creek campgrounds: Located 11 km north of Maple Ridge on the north side of the Fraser River.

Goldstream: Located 16 km northwest of Victoria on the Highway 1.

Granby: Located approximately 135 km east of Vernon.

Hamber: Located at Jasper National Park accessed from Kootenay National Park at the Highway 93.

Jedediah Island Marine: An island park located between Lasqueti and Texada islands in the Sabine Channel of Georgia Strait.

Joffre Lakes: Located off Highway 99 east of Pemberton, BC on the Duffey Lake Road.

Juan De Fuca Trail: Located on the westcoast of Southern Vancouver Island.

Juniper Beach: On the north shore of the Thompson River, 19 km east of Cache Creek on Highway 1.

Kakwa: Located approximately 70 km north of McBride in BC.

Kentucky-Alleyne: Located 38 km south of Merritt off Highway 5A.

Kianuko: Located approximately 40 km north of Creston.

Kilby: Located at Harrison Mills, 15 km west of Agassiz.

Koksilah River: Located 100 km northwest of Quesnel.

Kokanee Glacier: Located in the Selkirk Mountains, between Slocan and Kootenay Lakes.

Kwadacha Wilderness: Located approximately 160 km southwest of Fort Nelson.

Liard River Hot Springs: Located at kilometer 765 of the Alaska Highway, approximately 60 km north of Muncho Lake Provincial Park.

Little Qualicum Falls: Located 19 km West of Parksville off Highway 4.

Marble Canyon: 40 km northwest of Cache Creek, off Highway 99.

Marble Range: Located south end of Clinton.

McDonald: Located at the north end of Saanich Peninsula off Highway 17.

Miracle Beach: Located 22 km north of Courtenay and 22 km south of Campbell River on Highway 19.

Monashee: 111 km north of Vernon.

Monkman - Monkman Lake: Located 60 km south of Tumbler Ridge.

Montague Harbour Marine: Located on the southwest side of Galiano Island.

Moose Valley: Located approximately 31 km west of 100 Mile House.

Morton Lake: Located northwest of Campbell River.

Mount Assiniboine: Located on the B.C.-Alberta border, east of Golden and just 48 km southwest of Banff.

Mount Robson - Berg Lake Trail: Located in east central BC, just west of the BC/Alberta border.

Nahatlach: Located west of Boston Bar.

Naikoon - Agate Beach: Located on the Queen Charlotte Islands

Nairn Falls: Located approximately 92 km north of Squamish.

Nazko Lake: Located in the northern part of the Chilcotin Plateau northwest of Alexis Creek:

Nazko Lake Park: Located off highway 20 west of Williams Lake.

Newcastle Island Marine: Island park located by foot ferry from downtown Nanaimo

Norbury Lake: Located near Cranbrook.

Okanagan Mountain: Located near Peachland on Highway 97.

Pennask Lake: Located west of Kelowna off Highway 97.

Pilot Bay: Located off Highway 3A at Balfour BC.

Pirates Cove Marine: Located adjacent to Pylades Channel on the southeast tip of DeCourcy Island.

Plumper Cove Marine: Located on Keats Island off Gibsons BC.

Porpoise Bay: Located at the southern end of Sechelt Inlet on the Sunshine Coast,

Porteau Cove: Located 38 km north of Vancouver on Highway 99 .

Premier Lake: Located 16 km east off Highway 93/95; 1 km North of Skookumchuck.

Princess Louisa Marine: Located in the Princess Louisa Inlet accessed through the Straight of Georgia.

Princess Margaret Marine: Located on Portland Island across from Sydney on Vancouver Island

Raft Cove: Located on the north end of Vancouver Island.

Rathtrevor Beach: 3 km south of Parksville on Highway 19A.

Roche Lake: Located 36 km southeast of Kamloops.

Rugged Point Marine: Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Saltery Bay: Located on Highway 101, 27 km south of Powell River.

Schoen Lake: By gravel road from Highway 19, 140 km north of Campbell River.

Sechelt Inlets Marine: Located 20 km north of Sechelt.

Smelt Bay: Located on Cortes Island:,

Smuggler Cove Marine: Located 16 km west of Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast.

Sproat Lake: Located 13 km northwest of Port Alberni on Highway 4.

Stamp River Located 14 km North of Port Alberni off Highway 4 onto Beaver Creek Road.

Steelhead: Located 40 km west of Kamloops on Highway 1.

Stemwinder: About 35 km. east of Princeton on Highway 3.

Strathcona, backcountry - Buttle Lake Marine: Located on Vancouver Island near the cities of Campbell River and Courtenay.

Taylor Arm Taylor Arm Provincial Park is on the north shore of Sproat Lake.

Top Of The World: Located 48 kilometres northeast of the Kimberley.

Ts'yl-Os:: Located in a wilderness area of the Chilcotin region..

Tunkwa: Located about 40 km southwest of Kamloops.

South Tweedsmuir: Located on Highway 20, between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola.

Valhalla: Located on the shores of Lake Slocan north of the town.

Vaseux Lake: Located approximately 25 km south of Penticton on Highway 97.

Wallace Island Marine: Located in Trincomali Channel between Galiano Island and Saltspring Island.

White Lake: Located approximately 10 km northeast of the Trans Canada Highway west of Salmon Arm.

Call 800.689.9025 for more information on BC Parks or visit their website at www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks

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