Camping at Sasquatch Provincial Park – Hicks Lake Campground

Quick Facts:
  • BC Provincial Parks website:
  • Access to water: walkable distance, with some sites with obstructed views of the lake
  • Pit toilet, non-potable water source, garbage collection
  • Activities: water sports, limited hiking
  • Beach type: mix of sandy and pebbly beach, lots of geese poop
  • Outdoor Fam rating: 6 out of 10

As a provincial park near Metro Vancouver, it’s always surprising to me that Sasquatch Park tends to be one of the last ones to be filled up. It’s likely due to the rustic amenities: it only has pit toilets, no showers, and even the water taps are contaminated with E. coli and therefore not drinkable.

The boil water advisory stated they will be ‘monitoring test results over the next few weeks’. The advisory on the provincial park website was posted in 2020.

Getting there also requires dodging potholes on a gravel road for 5km.

5km of dusty gravel road, not too bad for a 2WD city car though.

However, that wasn’t enough to deter us and our intrepid friends Johnny, Maria, and Mike. We wanted to see for ourselves what Sasquatch Park looked like.

The park has several campgrounds, the largest being Hicks Lake. The smaller Bench Campground and Lakeside Campground at Deer Lake are even more remote.

Johnny brought his two daughters on his first-ever “solo-plus-plus” camping, beating out my solo-plus camping by one extra kid.

It’s our first time camping with Maria and Mike, but they are also quite experienced with camping themselves so it’s nice to share and learn from each other.

We booked campsite H1, which is very close to two pit toilets and a beach on the lake. As the lake was the main (and only) attraction, it’s nice to have easy access to it.

After a delicious fire-cooked dinner by Mike and some marshmallows, we spent a few minutes on the lake shore. We were pleasantly surprised by a full moon just rising above the mountains, shining over the lake.

Early next morning, Johnny and I set our alarms for 5am and went for a super early morning paddle.

By the time we returned from the paddle, Mike was already up and preparing a fire-cooked breakfast. He wanted to use the campfire as much as possible, since he figured that we won’t be allowed to have a campfire for much longer given how dry this season has been. It turned out he was totally right: campfire ban came into effect for most of the province only a few days after this trip.

The morning activity for the kids was biking around the campground. I’ve always seen kids biking around campgrounds but never quite understood the appeal. This trip was the first time that our boys got to ride their bikes around camp, and they loved it. It was especially fun to loop around back to our campsite, which surprised Middle Bro who remarked “hey, that looks just like our tent!”

Following the bike ride, we went on the lake for a paddle. It was 11am by the time the gang got to the water, and the wind already started. I had hoped that Big Bro would be more comfortable on his own paddleboard, but the wind and chop quickly eroded his confidence and he called it quits.

I shuttled the kids on my board for a bit. The wind picked up fairly strongly so we retreated back to camp for lunch and a bit of down time.

Before dinner, we went on a short hike along the lake shore. The trail was somewhat overgrown and washed out in places, but a few access points to the lake was fun for the kids nonetheless.

The trail connected to the day use area, which was quite busy. Almost all picnic tables were occupied on this sunny Saturday afternoon.

For dinner we had lamb skewers with minced pork noodles. Kids had spaghetti with meat sauce. Combined with Maria’s watermelon, dinner was a big success.

It was a pretty full day, but Maria still went out for a paddle with one of her boys, which inspired me to bring out Baby Bro who hasn’t been on the board yet this trip.

After dropping him off, I went for a sprint paddle and clocked in a 2km in 20mins, or 6km/h. Some people chilling on the shore seemed impressed and gave me a surfer’s shaka salute.

Before calling it a night, we went out for a twilight bike ride after outfitting all the kids with head lamps. I think that further solidified the link between camping and biking around camp for the boys.

Big Bro crashed soon after, but Middle Bro had a bit of juice left and stayed out with me to tend the fire and play firefighter.

Sunday morning was a leisurely start, followed by efficient packing. We bid farewell to Maria and Mike and went to explore the town of Harrison Hot Springs a bit more.

First we stopped by Green Point day use area of Sasquatch Provincial Park. It’s the only place in Sasquatch Park that has flush toilets. There was a sandy beach, picnic tables, and a pebbly boat ramp.

By the afternoon, the famous southerly winds on Harrison Lake has definitely arrived. The lake was white capping with gusty winds. I wouldn’t want to be paddling against that, and even down-winding that strong of winds can be treacherous.

The town of Harrison Hot Springs sits on the southern end of Harrison Lake. This section of Harrison Lake was calmer since the southerly winds don’t have much fetch here.

The boys finally found a playground and spend a few happy moments here. The adults finally got reception and also spent some time to catch up on messages and emails.

We then walked along the promenade and had a lovely lunch at a local burger joint, before partaking in the namesake hot springs in the public pool. It was definitely dated but at least it was quite clean. The mineral spring didn’t have any noticeable smell, and it was basically one swimming pool-sized hot tub minus the chlorine. It would have been significantly more enjoyable if they created an outdoor portion for some variety.

After the warm soaks, we were finally content and headed home. The kids, of course, immediately fell asleep before we hit the highway.

The proximity of Hicks Lake from the campsites, and the resort town of Harrison Hot Spring from the provincial park make camping at Hicks Lake Campground quite pleasant. Lakeside Campground on Deer Lake is apparently also nice, and it has the added bonus of a playground. But Deer Lake is smaller and murkier than Hicks Lake, so I think we would stick with Hicks if we return. The major inconvenience at Sasquatch Park was the lack of clean water supply, but at least there’s a water tap and we can filter/treat/cook the water to sterilize it.

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