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Camping at Cat Lake in the Paradise Valley near Squamish, BC

tent pitched in campsite

Campsite at Cat Lake, BC Recreation Site

Hot sun. Cool wind. Crisp mountain water. The perfect remedy for a warm, Fall day’s hike is a dip in one of the Sea to Sky’s many lakes. If you’re looking for a quick fix hike or bike trail with the family while camping, think Cat Lake. Nestled in the stunning Paradise Valley, Cat Lake is one of the best swimming holes around, complemented with dusty outcrops to set up your picnic area and encircled with fun hiking and biking trails. The lake itself is set against the backdrop of the stunning snow-capped Tantalus mountain range, and is a little more remote than some of the other parks in the Squamish area. Cat Lake provides the out of the way recreational experience but only a stones throw from the main highway. The biking trail system in the area is filled with challenging mountain bike routes navigating around the Cat Lake and Cheekeye River – my advice is to get on them early before the crowds (usually before 11am) as speed and congestion make for a nasty combo!

Buckets hung to keep food safte

Buckets in Trees

Camping is plentiful here but set a good distance apart so it feels like you’ve got space and privacy. There’s a 1km walk to reach the campground, so tranquility is virtually guaranteed. We headed straight for the lake in our raft and two kayaks. If you don’t have your own, fret not, there are wooden home-made rafts on the shoreline at your disposal. Look a few metres down from the main beach and you’ll spot rope swings from the trees which provide all the entertainment you’ll need on a hot, sweltering day here. The lake is a popular party spot at weekends, so my advice is to head down from Monday to Wednesday and really experience the beauty this place has to offer.

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Published: September 19th, 2013

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Avatar by Louise

Louise ditched her day time job as a news reporter in Ireland to go on a six month sabbatical to see the world. The six month extravaganza turned into a six-year adventure spanning 22 countries and all of the continents. Louise had a list comprising every country she wanted to see and adventure to embark on and managed to achieve it- exploring everything from the depths of Antarctica to the mist covered mountains of Japan. She has blown up dynamite in underground mines in Bolivia, hiked the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, ran the New York marathon, been chased by flowing lava down a dodgy mountain in Guatemala, trekked around east Africa, spent three years discovering the beauty of New Zealand and most recently hiked and skied one of Japan’s famous active volcanoes. She is a qualified ski instructor and solo paragliding pilot and is currently (unsuccessfully and with many injuries!) exploring Squamish's biking trails whilst concocting her next big adventure.

25 thoughts on "Camping at Cat Lake in the Paradise Valley near Squamish, BC"

Avatar Calvin says:

Yeah, no problem no need to go early, usually, there are a lot of spots available on Saturday morning.

Avatar Ziba says:

We want to go Cat lake on this Sunday , any one knows I have chance to get spot or No?

Avatar Josh says:

Hi! Looking to camp this Saturday and was wondering if it would be better to head up Friday night or Saturday morning. We’re not looking for one of the closer sites to the parking lot. A remote one is fine. How has it been on Saturdays? Thanks!

Avatar Scott says:

Hi, I am planning on going to Cat Lake sometime next month. The one issue is that my vehicle is a Honda Fit which I am concerned about the road..

Has anyone driven up there with a small car without any difficulty?

Avatar Michal says:

Hey Scott, I actually drove up the road in a Honda Fit 2 years ago. There weren’t any real problems, just take it slow and try to avoid the potholes.

Avatar abby says:

it says it’s $15.00. is that per person or per tent? also, where do you pay?

Avatar Ariane says:

Hi there,
I was just wondering if dogs are allowed at the camp site.

Avatar Teressa McMillan; Recreation Sites Technician says:

Dogs are allowed but they must be on a leash. Hope that helps.

Avatar aarti says:

Hi, you mentioned dogs are allowed, but are they allowed on the beach and in the water?
I know some sites do not allow dogs on the beach and must remain at the site

Avatar tim says:

Are there many sites left at cat lake for tonight?

Avatar Adventure Mom says:

Sorry Tim,

I hope you found a site. It was a very busy weekend along the Sea to Sky Corridor with Crankworx and the Squamish Music Festival.

Avatar Rachel says:

For the August long weekend, what are the prospects of getting a spot early saturday morning? or do most people go on thursday/friday and thats when it fills up? thanks

Avatar Adventure Mom says:

It may be difficult to secure a spot on early Saturday morning, our suggestion is to phone campgrounds that still have availability and book now.

Avatar Stephanie says:

Is there a phone number i can call to see how booked up Cat Lake is?

Avatar mitchel says:

I have heard that with the forest fires the air is quite ashy, is this true? For anyone who is there.

Avatar Anita says:

Is it always full here? Is there a time of the day that’s best to be there? I don’t want to make the drive and not get a spot. First come, first serve seems so iffy. I’m going July 1 or 2nd. Hope I get a spot.

Avatar Adventure Mom says:

I checked with recreation sites and her reply was that it doesn’t usually fill up too quickly, coming earlier in the day helps to get a spot.

Avatar Joshua says:

What’s the fees for camping?

Avatar Adventure Mom says:

Camping is $15 per night at Cat Lake Recreation Site.

Avatar Fancycarrots says:

hey no reservations – fisrt come first serve. and its 12 bucks a night to park and camp. also fire wood for sale at 8 bucks for an arm full. or 25 for a wheel barrow.

Avatar Adventure Mom says:

We asked Recreation sites about fees at Cat Lake and there are no reservations. The site is first come first serve. It is $15 per night and fire wood is $10 per armload and $20 for a wheelbarrow load.

Avatar cred says:

Is the fire ban in affect at Cat Lake?

Avatar Adventure Mom says:

Yes, the fire ban is in effect at Cat Lake. This ban is intended to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety, and it will remain in effect until the public is notified otherwise. You can find more information at

Hi Meredith,
It is first come first serve at Cat Lake. You can choose any available site and a Site Host will visit you at some point during your stay to collect the fee. Enjoy your visit.

Avatar meredith says:

Hey, just wondering how to actually camp at cat lake. Do you have to book in advance our is it a first come, first serve type thing?

Thanks! Great blog!


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