Camping at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

Quick Facts:
  • BC Provincial Parks website:
  • Access to water: walkable distance from Paleface Loop, only pick-a-boo views of the water from campsite
  • Pit toilet, drinking water source, garbage collection
  • Activities: playground, water sports, hiking
  • Beach type: mix of sandy and pebbly beach
  • Outdoor Fam rating: 7 out of 10

Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is located 140km east of Vancouver and surprisingly far from Chilliwack. From Vedder Crossing, you need to drive another 40km east on Chilliwack Lake Road, which gets increasingly remote and wild but thankfully it’s paved the entire way till the provincial park.

Along Chilliwack Lake Road, there are lots of random camping on the roadside, some of which look a little sketchy. Cellphone reception becomes non-existent about 5km in.

Being located deep into the upper Chilliwack River Valley and set at an elevation of 600m, Chilliwack Lake is 10-15 degrees C colder than Chilliwack. It was slightly confusing when we noticed wildly different weather forecasts on Google Search, which was showing us Chilliwack forecast even though we asked for Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, versus the Weather Network, which seemed more accurate.

The front country campground is quite enormous, with 182 sites broken up into 5 loops. The Paleface Loop is closest to the lake, but also the most crowded and noisy. Flora and Radium loops are about 1km from the lake, but their sites are much more spaced out.

The amenities are pretty rustic: pit toilets, drinking water supply, garbage and recycling bins are available. The campground host does their rounds regularly to sell ice, firewood, and they have propane tanks for sale or exchange.

Camping Trip Report

Our camping trip started on a Friday evening after school. We stopped by Chilliwack for dinner and charging our EV since I wanted to have as much juice as possible before heading up the isolated cellphone black hole 40km from service. The drive in was quite lonely and frankly a little unsettling. We were one of the only cars along the 40km stretch of isolated Chilliwack Lake Road. If we got into any kind of trouble, I wasn’t sure what we could do other than wave down a passerby.

Chilliwack Lake Road

The sense of isolation quickly evaporated as we arrived at the campground: there were hundreds of campers happily doing the usual camper activities. We didn’t get to camp until almost 9pm, and the sun has already set in the valley. Thankfully, we had enough experience by now that setting up the tent and sleeping system in semi-darkness was no problem.

The crew checking out the water source

I took the time to pump up my paddleboard too, so that I can do an early bird paddle the next morning.

We booked Paleface #26, which was one of the closest sites to the boat launch. But it’s also extremely close to a whole row of neighbors. Our next door neighbor basically claimed one of our trees to set up their hammock, so we didn’t end up putting ours up. I was ok with the trade off of crowdedness for proximiy to the lake though, as I easily walked the 100m or so to get to the lake.

We can basically see every other campsite in the whole row

An added bonus was the proximity to an open field and playground, which Tina and the kids visited multiple times.

Read more about my paddle on Chilliwack Lake

After my morning paddle, the gang was still asleep. I cooked some coffee and enjoyed a bit of short-lived solitude. After breakfast, we headed to the nearby Lindeman Lake Trail. It was probably close enough to walk the 1.7km from our campsite to the trailhead, but we wanted to conserve as much energy as possible for maximal chance of success, so we drove instead.

Read more about our hike to Lindeman Lake

After the epic hike, we let the kids ride their bikes around the campground to the lake. Upon seeing the majestic Chilliwack Lake, the kids immediately changed their minds and wanted to paddleboard. So we pushed them back uphill and brought the paddling gears down.

For dinner, we had some quick and easy minced pork noodles. I also started a campfire and cooked some marinated lamb skewers, which was a big hit.

Overnight, the temperature dropped to 3 degrees according to the Weather Network, but it didn’t feel that cold at all in our tent. The morning was a little chilly so we used the remaining fire wood for a morning fire with breakfast, before checking out.

On the drive out, we stopped at Tamihi Rapids Recreation Site for a quick look at the roaring Chilliwack River. Some intrepid river kayakers were getting ready upstream, but too bad we didn’t see any running the river. We contemplated camping here at some point in the future, but the lukewarm online reviews made us think twice.

We lingered in Chilliwack for a McD lunch and checked out the bike park at Island 22 Regional Park, before finally heading home.

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