July 05, 2011 | Tips from Us >
Harrison Hot Springs, Camping
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One of my favourite things about living in Vancouver is that I can hop in the car, and within an hour or two be setting up my tent beside one of many gorgeous lakes and rivers. On the recent Canada Day long weekend, I decided to do exactly that.
There are a number of provincial campsites within a short drive of Vancouver, but I prefer the more rustic recreation sites (which are less maintained - think pit toilets and bear-proof garbage cans). This long weekend, I decided to head to Wood Lake, a small rec site on the west side of the much larger Harrison Lake.
With less than 30 campsites, it can be tough to snag a spot, especially on a long weekend. But luckily Wood Lake is one of only a few rec sites participating in a pilot reservation program, so my party was able to reserve spots in advance. I'm glad we did, because I'm pretty sure we got the best spots on the lake - up on a hill with a view, complete with our own path down to the water!
The weather was great (for the most part) and everyone was in good spirits for Canada's 144th birthday. Our entire side of the lake even broke out singing the national anthem around our campfires at one point on Friday night! Very Canadian :)
There are no powerboats allowed in this little lake, but people were out on the water all day in canoes, kayaks, dinghys and even air mattresses. Wood is warmer than other lakes in the area, so it's perfect for swimming when the temperature climbs.
If fishing's more your thing, you can throw a line in the water from a boat or from shore - Wood Lake is stocked with trout every May. The area is also popular with ATVers and dirtbikers as there are trails up into the mountains off the main road.
To get to Wood Lake, just drive east on Hwy 7 past Maple Ridge and Mission, then head up the Harrison West Forest Service Road (FSR) for about 18km. The FSR is essentially a logging road, so it's a bit of a bumpy ride, but definitely do-able in a regular car. There are several other places to camp along the West Harrison FSR - I'd suggest grabbing a Backroads Book for the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region and taking a look! You can also check out the Recreation Sites and Trails BC website for full rec site listings around the province.