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Camping at its best: Revelstoke to Galena Bay, British Columbia

If you are looking for some great camping and hiking, check out the corridor (Highway 23) between Revelstoke and Galena Bay. Surrounded by stunning mountain views – Selkirk Mountains on the east and Monashee Mountains on the west – this area is worth the trip!

Blanket Creek Provincial Park / Photo: C. Stathers

Just south of Revelstoke, the Columbia River widens creating Upper Arrow Lake at the north and Lower Arrow Lake with its southern end near Castlegar.

In this blog, I want to share two great campsites on Upper Arrow Lake: Blanket Creek Provincial Park and Arrow Lakes Provincial Park (Shelter Bay Site) plus some great hikes.

Travelling about 25 kilometres south from Revelstoke, you will reach Blanket Creek Park. I can’t pinpoint just one reason why this park has evolved into my favourite provincial park of the past few years but from seeing how busy it is becoming, I am not alone.

Blanket Creek Campsite / Photo: C. Stathers

I love walking and hiking and find that there are lots of choices within the park and plenty more close by. Just walking around the camping area, there are a little over 100 campsites so it is a good size park for meandering up and down the roads around the campsites. The park also has lots of trails including the 1.5 kilometer Columbia River Trail that runs along the lake and around the man-made swimming lagoon. On our recent visit to the park we were also able to walk a long way along the beach which was accessible as the water levels had dropped quite significantly since the beginning of the summer.

Blanket Creek Columbia River Trail / Photo: C. Stathers

The Nature Trail at the south end of the park takes you to the original Domke homestead and farm. This historic site was developed into the park in 1982. As you explore the site, you may see the original rock-work and signs with more historic information.

For those wanting a short up-hill walk, the trail to the 12 metre high Sutherland Falls in the park provides a beautiful view. The falls are created by Blanket Creek flowing from above.

Sutherland Falls / Photo: C. Stathers

Not far from the park gates there are a number of hiking trails including the Begbie Creek and Mount MacPherson Trails, as well as Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park near Revelstoke. This past trip we hiked to Begbie Falls and then down to the lake; it was an easy 1-kilometre trail through the dense forest and moss-covered ground.

Along with hiking there are lots of swimming spots along the lake, plus it is a great place for boating and fishing. Unique to this park is the man-made swimming lagoon, a circular lagoon surrounded by sandy beach. I read one article that stated that the water circulates every 24-48 hours.

Shelter Bay Boat Launch / Photo: C. Stathers

Just south down the road (about 25 km south of Blanket Creek) is the Shelter Bay Site which was created in 1981 and has 17 first-come-first-serve campsites. Highlights of this park include swimming along the shores of the lake and easy access for boating. The park includes a concrete boat launch with lots of parking.

Shelter Bay Campsite / Photo: C. Stathers

For those interested in exploring further south, the 20-minute ferry which crosses the lake from Shelter Bay to Galena Bay is located just south of the campsite gates. From the other side of the lake, your adventure can continue to communities like Nakusp and the hot springs at Halcyon and Nakusp.

Even though I love the hiking and lush green forests of this area, it is always fun to set off on our next adventure for more hiking and great camping.

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For other campgrounds in this area or elsewhere in British Columbia go to the Camping Map.

Share your BC camping and travel photos using hashtag #campinbc #BCNice and #ExploreBC

Published: October 8th, 2020

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Carol Stathers by Carol Stathers

Carol loves being in the outdoors whether it is hiking, camping, kayaking or enjoying time at the lake. With a health background in nursing, she has written for many health-related journals and is also writing a historical non-fiction book about the Peach Valley area of Summerland where she lives. Along with writing, she and her family love camping. She grew up camping on Vancouver Island and has explored many parts of BC with her husband, three kids and their golden retriever. She and her newly-retired husband just upgraded to a newer trailer and are looking forward to more camping adventures throughout British Columbia.

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