Duffey Lake Paddle


Quick Facts

  • Parking and Launching: Duffey Lake Viewpoint
  • Launching type: pebbly beach
  • Difficulty – windy and small waves made it more of an intermediate paddle
  • Boat traffic – no motor boats
  • View – majestic, snow capped Mt Rohr accompanies the outbound paddle
  • Facilities: none.
  • Overall score – 5/10
Duffey Lake

Duffey Lake sits on Highway 99, halfway between Pemberton and Lillooet. Most motorists drive by and exclaim “what a beautiful lake!” without slowing down, and some would pull over to one of the pullout spots for a quick photo before continuing. Very few people come here to paddle.

At the eastern end of the lake, there is a small “boat ramp” and enough parking for about 8 cars. I used quotation for boat ramp because it would take a special kind of skill and determination to launch a motor boat with a trailer here, as the gravel ramp leads to a pebble beach dotted with rocks and drift wood. And I wouldn’t know how to even back up a trailer off the highway onto this ramp in the first place.

The “boat ramp”. I think it’s fair to say that you won’t be seeing motor boats here.

That’s just as well for us as paddlers. The ramp and beach is easy enough to launch a paddle craft.

When we got to the lake around noon as part of our camping trip at Nairn Falls, a westerly wind was blowing quite strongly. I contemplated canceling the paddle plan since I wasn’t sure if the boys would tolerate being on a rocky beach in the wind for an hour. With Tina’s encouragement, I decided to set off for a quick paddle just to experience the lake a little.

Assessing the situation at Duffey Lake

The outbound paddle faces Mt. Rohr in the west, which was very nice to look at for the first few minutes. But then after a while, I started getting bored of the same view. Unlike lakes with turns and corners (like Lightning Lake) which provide more intriguing exploring opportunities, the 6km Duffey Lake is straight as an arrow.

I turned around after 30 mins and let the wind blow me back.

Turns out the boys were having lots of fun on the beach too!

I took the boys for a ride on the lake, then called it a success.

As a provincial park, Duffey Lake has surprisingly little in the way of facilities. By little, I mean nothing. No pit toilets, no portable toilets, no water, no garbage can. It’s really just a small highway pullout that slopes down to the lake.

For the paddle itself, a full loop around the lake would be around 12km. With the wind and chop, it would probably take around 3 hours. The view of Mt Rohr is great, but looking at the same view for the whole paddle is probably not great enough to make up for the long drive and lack of amenities.


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