Stave Lake Paddle


Stave Lake is a large and fairly rugged lake north of Mission, only accessible by a winding gravel road with fair number of potholes. Due to its ruggedness, it’s much less frequented than the nearby Aloette Lake and Pitt Lake, making it a good option on a busy summer weekend.

There is a boat launch at the southern tip of Stave Lake, and it was already getting busy at 8:30am because the parking lot was very small and occupied by trucks with trailers.

Stave Lake Boat launch.
View from the boat launch

There is an outhouse at the boat launch. Another outhouse was available further up the forest service road, but otherwise it’s in the nature you go.

Due to the lack of parking at the boat launch, we drove about 10km further up the road to find a small access beach by the lake where we launch from (google maps).

The beach where we launched from was behind some boulders and there were campers and tents on the beach. We climbed over the boulders to give the occupants some heads up that we were coming through. They were courteous and understanding.

Launched! The campers are in the background.

For such a large lake, Stave is surprisingly warm. The water was very clean, calm close to the shore, and just the right depth to stand up in, although there are some sudden drop offs. Always use a lifejacket or PFD when playing in or near natural bodies of water. And only lifejackets for kids.

I used my anchor for the first time, and it was actually quite easy to do. Just throw it in the water, and magically it catches on something and provides enough pull to stop the paddleboard from going downwind. Perfect for a snack or a nap.

Socially distanced paddleboard lunch with my anchor. Easy to keep 2m apart when the board itself is longer than that.

The backcountry feel of Stave Lake was interrupted by frequent noise. There were some roaring powerboats in the distance, but they kept to the other side of the lake. Some campers were blasting music pretty loudly.

There were some sand dunes and marshes to explore a little, but we didn’t aim for distance this day. It started as a lazy day’s leisurely paddle.

However, on the way back, we fought a strong headwind which created a formidable chop. Some waves were actually turning into whitecaps. I would have been rattled by this a month or two ago, but with enough practice over this summer so far, I pushed on.

All in all, I clocked in 8.12km and I barely felt tired. I think my endurance is improving!

  • Difficulty: 4/10. Headwind and choppy waters. It would be quite feasible to bring a toddler here for paddleboarding as long as you are mindful of the wind directions.
  • Boat traffic: 2/10. Loud boats but they mostly kept to themselves.
  • View: 8/10. Surrounded by mountains all around.
  • Facilities: 2/10. Pit toilets in drivable distance. Bumpy gravel road.
  • Overall score: 6/10.


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