Maple Bay Cabins Camping at Cultus Lake

A cool new addition to Cultus Lake Provincial Park is the 25 new cabins they installed at Maple Bay. It’s very close to the Maple Bay Campground, connected by a newly paved road that connects the two areas. This is a fantastic option if you or your companions prefer a little more comfort than tent camping.

As this is the only viable cabin option on the BC Provincial Park system near Vancouver (the only other two parks on the provincial reservation system with cabins are Carp Lake – 950km to the north, and Kikomun Creek – 910km to the east of Vancouver), reservation can be extremely difficult to get.

The map showing the newly created Maple Bay cabin site in relation to the boat launch and campground. It’s an easy drive or a very walkable few hundred meters between the campground and cabins.
Detailed map of the cabins.

The cabins feature lights (indoor and on the patio), baseboard heating, an 120v outlet, a bunk bed, a single bed, and a twin bed (4 beds in total) with foam mattresses, and a picnic table on the patio. No campfire allowed at the cabins, but they have propane fire pit rental and a communal firepit. Also, only 1 car is allowed per cabin. A 5-car visitor parking lot is available but I assume overnight parking is not allowed.

The newly renovated washroom/shower building is bright and very clean. A small group of picnic tables is provided for party gatherings. Two deep dishwashing sinks with hot water, an absolute luxury for camping.

Cleanest facility in a provincial campground we’ve seen.
Dish washing station and group picnic tables

There is also a family washroom with lots of space.

Family washroom at Maple Bay Cabins

Trip Report: June 2021

We came with my parents who stayed at a Maple Bay Cabin while we stayed in the campground. The creature comfort of a heated cabin with a bed was definitely welcomed by my parents.

After a BBQ lunch, we followed a short gravel path from the cabins down to a pebbly beach to launch our boat and paddleboards. The easy water access from the cabins was fantastic.

Gravel walking path from cabins to Cultus Lake

We had a fantastic time on the water.

After dinner, we asked Junior if he wanted to stay in the more civilized cabin with the grandparents, but he insisted that he would like to stay in the tent with us at the campground. We are glad that he is clearly very fond of camping.

After dinner we had a lovely campfire at our campsite before calling it a night. Having a campfire is a major plus for tenting over the staying in a cabin.

Early next morning, I walked from the campground to grab my board from the cabin then launched from the same beach again. After a quiet 2 hour paddle, I returned to find my dad up and making coffee on the patio.

After our morning espresso, my parents launched their boat for a morning lap too, while I walked back to the campground to take down our campsite. The whole gang met at the cabin to have breakfast before checking out at 11. It was a perfect set up for our needs. Even though having to hop between two bases was a little disjointed, everyone got to enjoy their stay. We all agreed that 1 night was definitely too short.

Trip Report: May 2022

With the addition of Baby Bro, tent camping was largely ruled out for 2022. But we didn’t want to give up on camping all together, so Maple Bay Cabins came up as a natural choice.

We came with our good friend Johnny’s family and enjoyed a 2 night stay in a pair of side-by-side cabins. The weather was cool and wet for the majority of our stay, as per usual in the shoulder season, but we still had plenty of fun.

We noticed that the distance between the posts in the front porch was perfect for setting up a hammock so that’s what we did, a lot.

There was also a small path along the lakeshore that takes you from the cabins to the boat launch. The trail connecting to the Maple Bay Day Use area was damaged during the 2021 winter storm though.

After checking out, the sun finally came out so we took the opportunity to picnic at Entrance Bay Day Use area and paddleboarded a little bit before calling it a wrap.

Trip Report: April 2023

We started to build a reputation of being the outdoor-addicted family among our friends, so when the topic of camping came up during a Christmas gathering, the whole party was cautiously interested. Tenting was a daunting proposition, so we settled on a big group outing to Maple Bay Cabins.

Due to the popularity of the site, we aimed for a weekend in April to beat the crowd. We managed to snatch 4 cabins on the reservation opening date for 4 families (Amy and Aaron have been our camping buddies in the past, and Leo and Sus were featured previously too. Sean and Hilda are new to this blog but old friends of Leo and me), but someone was still faster than us so one of the cabins were behind the rest of our group. Amy and Marcus booked another cabin later on when they found out our grand plan.

Since this was our 3rd time at the Maple Bay Cabins, we were able to give some pointers.

Cabin Camping Cheat Sheet

Must bring: 

  • Sleeping: the cabins are heated, and the beds have mattresses.
    • Beddings (blankets or sleeping bags)
    • Pillows
  • Clothing: the mornings are coldest but most serene. Dress warmly to enjoy.
    • Winter jackets 
    • Gloves/Mittens 
    • Rain pants for kids
    • Rain boots
    • Change of clothes (free hot shower nearby)
  • Food: each family will prep food. Portable camping stove can be used outside. Electric stove or appliances can be used with an extension cord. Also lots of snacks for kids.
  • Eating utensils: Bowls, plates, spoons, forks, chopsticks. There is a sink close by to wash the utensils after every meal
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Napkins (we like to bring a whole roll of kitchen tissue)
  • Garbage bags
  • Toiletries : body soap, shampoo, toothpaste, tooth brush, floss
  • Hairdryer (if needed) there is an outlet in the washroom to plug in
  • Towels 

Nice to have: 

  • Camping toys: around the cabins there is an open field to run around in
    • camping chairs
    • Hammock 
    • Firewood 
    • Ball/ frisbee 
  • Indoor toys/games: the cabins don’t have a table inside
    • Portable table
    • Games
    • Books for kids 
  • Water activities: our cabins are very close to the lake. The beach is pebbly.
    • Digging toys 
    • Water shoes (crocs or native shoes for kids)
    • Swimwear
    • I’m taking my paddleboards and wetsuits. The water might still be too cold without wetsuits. 
  • Hiking: there are some hiking trails in the park and around Chilliwack we can explore.
    • Hiking shoes
    • Poles
    • Baby carriers

As the date got closer, the group got excited. Leo spent considerable time and effort to design a formal Pokemon draft cube for the group. New sleeping bags were bought, and the kids were all eager to try them. Camping meal plans were shared.

Big Bro helping with camp setup
Baby Bro much more mobile and inquisitive than last year’s visit.

The weather was again mostly rainy and cold but we had some sunny breaks too. We grabbed the first opportunity to get on the water when there was a bit of sun.

I put up a rain tarp in front of our cabin for a bit of muddy play space for the kids, which was a great hit. The tarp was small and the anchor points were limited, so I opted for a slanted design. The head room was limited, but the kids didn’t mind.

Sweet camp for the weekend

We didn’t have much of an agenda, basically the day was spent relaxing, chatting, watching kids play, cooking and cleaning. Each family mingled at meal time and freely retreated to their cabins to rest and recharge as needed. It was pretty blissful.

Got busy with Pokemon battles
The morning tranquility, as advertised.

Between breakfast and lunch, we gathered the group for a short walk to the boat launch area. Here Aaron does his photography magic again:

It was a rainy afternoon, but I figured a little sprinkle from the sky won’t be a problem for wet suit and dry suit designed for full water submersion. The kids also had a wet suit as their base layer just in case of falling in. The water was pretty cold, probably around 7 degrees C is my guess.

Since I haven’t actually fallen in with my dry suit, or for that matter, my paddling PFD, I decided to do some drills. Initially I didn’t have my neoprene gloves on, so while the rest of my body was warm, my fingers became numb and stiff pretty quickly. Not to the point where I lost use of them, but definitely more uncomfortable than I expected. Not only did the dry suit kept the water out completely, it was a big balloon and kept the air in. My legs kept floating up and I felt like I was sitting in a very comfortable reclining couch. But swimming in them was somewhat awkward.

Before bedtime, there were also opportunities for a bit of late night shenanigans, checking out the communal fire (was not popular because it rained both nights), bugs, and going out for a night walk.

After we checked out on the last day, the weather cleared up a bit. We hit up the teapot hill for a quick hike.

Then it’s a picnic lunch at Entrance Bay again before we finally said goodbye.

Even though this was our third time coming to these cabins, it was an amazing and memorable trip. A large part of it was sharing the experience with friends who were not just visiting the Maple Bay cabins for the first time, but camping in general. I think they could see why we love it so much.

The happy campers. Biggest group we’ve organized so far! PC: Sean

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