It’s almost lake season in BC, which means it’s time to break out the tent and camp stove.
British Columbians looking to chill lakeside this summer are lucky to have countless options for great getaways. There are over 20,000 in the province, and each one is unique and full of gorgeous flora and fauna.
Some of the best lakes in the province are lesser-known. Others are worldwide tourist attractions. No matter who you are, make sure you pick up your garbage on your way out and follow rules designed to keep animals, plants, and other people safe while you’re there.
Here are some of the BC lakes we think will take your breath away.
The surface of this lake is often so still you can see the reflections of the mountains on it, and it is a sight to behold. Enormous, humbling ridges surround this quiet, pristine lake, known for its light blue water and lush surroundings. It’s an 11-kilometre walk, so bring your hiking shoes — and it’s near the also-beloved Emerald and Sherbrooke Lakes.
Technically, it’s a whole provincial park, but it’s one of the best things to do for any nature lovers in the province. It’s a crater of light blue surrounded by dark mountains, and its stark beauty is incredible. Near Squamish and right by Mount Garibaldi and Tantalus, there are tons of hiking routes in the area if you want to leave the lake for a while.
There’s a tremendous waterfall by this lake, and it’s well worth the trek to get there. It’s powerful and giant, so you won’t miss it if you get anywhere near its roaring waters. See glaciers, throw stones, and smell the cedar during your visit to really soak it all in.
The campground is notoriously well-kept here, at one of the more still lakes on the list. Off the beaten path, it offers serenity and scenery, and it’s recommended you park it and spend the night. The remote location makes for quiet nights, bright stars, and perfect conditions for kayaking. Canoes and kayaks sit on the beach for public use, with visitors encouraged to leave money in a cash cache nearby.
If facilities like a warming shack, fully-functional washrooms, and large docks for swimming sound good to you, this might be the best lake to check out. There are parts perfect for families, and others that aren’t — including a clothing-optional area. The trails are wide and shaded by the tree canopy, so it’s also perfect for jogs, bikes, or walks.
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The sunsets here are absolutely stunning, and the crowds are sparse if you come early. Get a spot on its tiny, adorable pier for a nice date or self-care trip. Part of the area is sandy for suntanning and picnics, while others are rocky and covered in birds, moss, and flowers. It’s a magical hideaway right off the highway.
The stargazing here is out of this world. Stick around for a couple of nights to guarantee remarkable horizons and a crystal-clear view of the cosmos. It’s less green than many of the other lakes, but it’s very calm and fantastic for swimming. The water is clean, full of fish, and a little cold! Dress warmly to stay cozy.
It’s not the most jaw-dropping on the list, but it’s the best for a quick day trip near Vancouver. Trout Lake near Commercial Drive is right in the city, and it’s home to a lot of characters, including a man with a pet pigeon, a surprisingly large population of geese, and tons of dogs. There are bathrooms, a playground, fields nearby for playing games, a forested area, and a manmade beach for relaxing around the water.