Pitch a Tent in the Fraser Valley

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Load up the cooler and spend time beside the campfire roasting marshmallows after a day at the lake, all without the punishing car trip. After all, some of the most beautiful provincial parks are right here in our Fraser Valley!  Here are a few ideas to get you started.  Where is your favourite place to camp in the Fraser Valley?

Cultus Lake Provincial Park (Cultus Lake – near Chilliwack)

Surrounded by the rugged Cascade Mountains, rocky Cultus Lake offers four separate campgrounds with nearly 300 campsites (tent and vehicle friendly, group option available). Your family can go far into the forest for almost total seclusion, emerging only for idyllic canoe rides or solitary hikes. Or you can park closer to the busy and fun vibe offered at Cultus Lake such as the famous Waterpark, mini-golf, hiking, water skiing, jet boating, playgrounds, restaurants and shops. The campgrounds provide basic facilities as well as access to flushing toilets and showers. In the summertime, the park also offers educational interpretive programs.

Golden Ears Provincial Park (Maple Ridge)

Golden Ears Provincial Park is one of the largest in BC – almost 60,000 hectares of nearly untouched wilderness nestled next to the Coast Mountains on the north side of the Fraser River. There are two campgrounds at the park with 353 well-spaced campsites (tent and vehicle friendly, group options available).  Not all areas of the park feature running water but basic facilities are typically nearby unless you hike into the back country. Golden Ears has something for everyone – horseback riding, water skiing, wind surfing canoeing, cycling and swimming to a vast network of hiking trails for all skill levels and ages. One of the more popular destinations is Alouette Lake.

Golden Ears
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Rolley Lake Provincial Park (Mission)

Once a grand forest, Rolley Lake is now primarily a flat lakeside recreational area surrounded by a tall second-growth forest. There are only 64 campsites at the park (all of them are vehicle or tent friendly). There may not be the vast array of activities that there are at some of the larger parks but for a quiet stay spent on the beach and playground, simply enjoying the day, this might be your best fit. Motor boats are not permitted on the lake so teaching your kids to canoe or kayak may be a bit easier without the waves. Walking trails are gentle and unique birds make for excellent nature walks.  It is also popular with anglers as the lake is stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout (but fish early in the season – it’s usually fished out by August). Facilities such as showers and flush toilets are available.

Sasquatch Provincial Park (Harrison Hot Springs)

There are 217 campsites scattered across three campgrounds at Sasquatch, surrounded by mountains and bordered by sandy beach lakes including the popular Harrison Lake. Swimming and sunbathing are the popular activities at this site. There is a beautiful child friendly lagoon that is sandy and shallow right at Harrison Lake as well as changing houses and a playground for families. There are nature and interpretive talks given throughout the summer as well and of course, the famous Harrison Hot Springs. Trout fishing is popular, particularly from a small boat. There are flush toilets available near most campsites.

Path in Sasquatch Provincial Park
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For more information about each of these parks, including fees, reservations, etiquette and directions, visit BC Parks. Or if you are ready to reserve a spot, visit Discover Camping Reservations.

Where do you like to camp in the Fraser Valley?

Contributor: Sarah Bessey

Sarah Bessey is a marketer, writer and blogger. She lives in Abbotsford for her husband and two children. Twitter: @emergingmummy

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