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Kinbasket Lake

Travel Scenic Highway 23 North of Revelstoke, BC to Mica Dam & Begbie Falls

In 2020, we decided to explore a region of British Columbia which was new to us. We have camped extensively throughout Vancouver Island, the Interior, Okanagan and the Kootenays but had not camped in the area north of Revelstoke.

Highway 23, north of the city, was the start of our adventure. With no camping reservations this time, our first two nights were at BC Forest Recreation sites on the shores of Lake Revelstoke. Our first night was at Wadey which has 30 sites and is located about 25 kilometres north of Revelstoke, and then our second night was at Carnes Creek (the south campsite), 11 kilometres further north.  Carnes Creek was my favourite, probably because I really liked our site which was overlooking the lake. Carnes Creek has two campgrounds, the south location which has 27 sites and the north with 19 sites and a boat launch.

Carnes Creek Recreation Site | Photo: C. Stathers

From Carnes Creek, we did a day trip north up the scenic Highway 23 for about an hour to the Mica Dam. It was such a beautiful paved road, winding its way along the lake and very little traffic. Being married to a retired Socials Studies teacher always proves to be educational! My personal tour guide was quick to educate me about the dam and its history. Located 135 kilometres north of Revelstoke, its water flows from Kinbasket Lake south through the dam into Revelstoke Lake. It took six years to build and opened in 1973 as part of the 1964 Columbia River Treaty; it is the tallest dam in Canada and is operated by BC Hydro.

Mica Dam | Photo: C. Stathers

Just before you reach the dam, you will see the old village of Mica Creek which had a population of 4,000 workers and their families when the dam opened. It is a pretty impressive, lake-view site which even includes a swimming pool, golf course, curling rink and an old ski chalet. It also had a high school which closed shortly after the dam was built. Most of the buildings of the old town site are still being used by the dam maintenance employees.

Picnic on Way to Mica Dam | Photo: C. Stathers

Before we left Carnes Creek, we paddled our kayaks along Revelstoke Lake, under the bridge and up the actual creek. It was a beautiful, calming paddle with the current gently pushing us back down when we were done. 

Martha Creek Provincial Park | Photo: C. Stathers

After camping at Carnes Creek, we packed up and moved to Martha Creek Provincial Park (18 kilometres north of Revelstoke). This is a very popular and impressive park; it has lots of sites; 29 of them were new in 2019. It has a very large picnic area, great beach and is attractive to anglers.

Hike to Begbie Falls | Photo: C. Stathers

On our way home we stopped for a hike at Begbie Falls (about 10 minutes south of Revelstoke on Highway 23). What a lovely hike!   The trail winds its way through the trees down to the falls and to Upper Arrow Lake. Not only did we get to see the falls and the beach, but the salmon were also spawning (September). There are different trails you can use but we accessed the trail-head through the Begbie Falls Recreation Site, located at the end of the Begbie Falls Forest Service Road.  This access point was a gentle downhill to the beach and falls and not too long.

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We are definitely looking forward to our next camping trip anywhere along Highway 23, such a beautiful part of our province!

For camping accommodations in this area and elsewhere in British Columbia check out the Camping Map.

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc #explorebc #bcnice.

Published: July 20th, 2023

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