Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is a beautiful spot in the Fraser Valley with campsites, a lake and a nice sandy beach. It’s about 47 km east of Cultus Lake.
Chilliwack Lake Park and Campgrounds
The Fraser Valley’s Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is one of the best parks in the region. The lake is a fun place for camping, boating, fishing, hiking and more.
The park is a picturesque place to visit and great for a multitude of outdoor activities. The lake rests low and is surrounded by beautiful mountains.
Near the park’s entrance, you’ll notice nearly 150 campsites. Each site at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park has a picnic table and a fire ring. For those wanting to use the fire rings, wood is often available for purchase at the park itself.
Chilliwack Lake is home to a small playground, a sandy beach and a designated area for swimming. Boats of different kinds are permitted on the lake, including canoes, kayaks and motor-boats. Fishing is allowed for those with a license. Pets are not welcome in the picnic or swimming areas, and they must be leashed at all times throughout other parts of the park.
There are about 40 km of trails to explore at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park and the main ones begin in the Post Creek Parking Lot. The Flora Lake hike is a 14 km roundtrip. The trail reaches an elevation gain of nearly 1700 metres and is quite challenging overall, though the views are rewarding. Meanwhile, the Greendrop Lake trail is a 10 km roundtrip and is a bit easier than the Flora Lake trail. For those wanting an even shorter hike, the Lindeman Lake trail at Chilliwack Lake is less than 4 km in total.
Getting to Chilliwack Lake
A beautiful but lesser-known provincial park in the Lower Mainland is Chilliwack Lake. It’s about a 2.5-hour drive from Vancouver.
The park is located along Chilliwack Road. If driving from Vancouver, take the Trans-Canada Highway and head east. There are a couple of ways to get to Chilliwack Road. Below we describe one of them.
After passing through the Lower Mainland and Abbotsford about an hour from Vancouver, take exit 104. Merge onto No. 3 Road, take a right onto Tolmie Road and then an immediate left back onto No. 3 Road.
Next, make a left onto Yarrow Central Road, which eventually becomes Vedder Mountain Road. After crossing the Vedder Bridge there’s a roundabout. Use the first exit to get onto Chilliwack Lake Road and continue for about 30 minutes. Turn right when you see signs for Chilliwack Lake and drive into the parking lot.
Camping at Chilliwack Lake
Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park has over 140 campsites. The campground is less expensive than average because it doesn’t have hot showers or flush toilets. The facilities consist of outhouses and cold tap water. Each site is also slightly smaller and closer to its neighbours than average, or at least that’s the case the closer you get to the Lake.
There also isn’t much vegetation on the ground between campsites, so it’s not as private as most comparable campgrounds. It’s a nice place though and we recommend it (unless you’re the type of person who can’t survive in a tent without access to hot showers).
The campground is full of deciduous trees – mostly cedars and Douglas firs in some parts, and mostly pine trees in others. Most of the trees are pretty skinny compared to trees of those kinds in other Lower Mainland forests. That could be because of the hotter summers the Chilliwack region gets, and the forest being fairly young.
Each campsite comes with its own standard picnic table and campfire pit. Often in the summer though, by July, there is a campfire ban in effect.
The campground is quite large and split up into different sections. There are five campsite areas. They are the Paleface, Greendrop, Lindeman, Radium and Flora Loops. The closer you get to the lake the greener and more shaded the terrain. Each has its own strengths and disadvantages.
The Paleface Loop section is closest to the lake, which makes it extra nice. The Radium Loop and Flora Loops are the farthest from the water. They are also more open, less shaded and in visibly drier terrain.
The Paleface Loop
Our first choice for campground areas is the Paleface Loop area because of its proximity to the lake. It also has lots of shade, which makes it nice in the heat of the summer. Some of the sites also have amazing views.
The Paleface Loop consists of 48 sites. If you camp there you might feel more like you’re in the Okanagan than in the Lower Mainland, or at least that was the case when we were there. It has that kind of vegetation and terrain.
Like many provincial campgrounds, but more than some, the surfaces of the campsites are designed for durability, not for tent pegs. Unless you have titanium steel tent pegs and a jackhammer, good luck getting your pegs in the ground. Some areas of the campground are better than others. The gravel tenting pads in the Paleface Loop, however, are almost like concrete (or at least ours was when we stayed there).
There is a fair-sized open space in the picnic area near the Paleface Loop. It has a small children’s play area as well.
The Beach and the Lake
Chilliwack Lake is stunning! It’s a very beautiful lake! There are mountains all around, with some in the distance with jagged peaks and at least a tiny bit of snow even in August.
The beach itself is sandy. It’s fairly long, but narrow. In the spring and early summer, the water can get quite high because of the melting snow in the mountains. At times the “beach” can almost entirely disappear. By the middle of June and for the rest of the summer though, there is enough sand to make the beach an almost tropical Canadian paradise!
The beach is at the north end of the lake. Because of the forest and mountains, this means that it’s in the shade by the late afternoon, even in the summer.
The lake has a boat launch. It’s not suitable though for larger boats. The water doesn’t get deep quickly. As a result, boats over 20 feet in length have a chance of getting damaged.
At the lake there is also a dog beach beside the main beach for people. There are no lifeguards, outhouses or changing rooms at the waterfront. If needing a bathroom, you have to hike a little ways back up the hill to the Paleface Loop campground area.
The water at the lake is cold, but amazingly clean and clear! It can get windy in the afternoons. As already mentioned, the views from the beach are amazing!
For more details about Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, visit the BC Parks website.
Other articles that may be of interest include:
- City of Chilliwack
- Vancouver’s Best Hiking Trails
- Camping Around Vancouver
- Lower Mainland Parks and Nature
- Fraser Valley’s Best Places