Exploring British Columbia’s Recreation Sites and Trails: Lundbom Lake
Sometimes, the weather can be tough in the lower mainland of British Columbia. Rain and overcast skies can put a serious damper on our motivation to get out of the house and into the great outdoors. Last spring, we put the dreary weather behind us and headed to the Nicola Valley to explore Lundbom Lake, one of BC’s fabulous Recreation Sites.
After doing some preliminary research at home, we discovered that Lundbom Lake, less than half an hour from Merritt, offered a huge range of outdoor activity opportunities including fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and ATVing. Without a second thought, we loaded up our dog, our tent trailer, and our mountain bikes and headed for the much sunnier weather of BC’s interior for a weekend getaway.
Accessing Lundbom Lake is quite simple. From Merritt, take Highway 5A/97C (the Okanagan Connector) then turn off on Lundbom Lake Road – a well maintained gravel road. Upon leaving the highway, you first pass the Laurie Guichon Grasslands Interpretive Area. This is a really neat area with interpretive signage, a short trail, a viewing platform, and a wildlife tree. It makes for an interesting and informative stop to learn about grasslands ecology and local history.
Next the road passes Marquart Lake, the first option for camping. Marquart Lake is interesting because the water level has been rapidly decreasing and you can clearly see where the lake used to be. Marquart Lake has both tenting and RV sites, but we chose to carry on to Lundbom Lake, another 5-10 minutes down the road.
As you crest the hill and begin the descent towards Lundbom Lake, you first come to the Lundbom Lake West campground. This site offers quite a few campsites, as well as horse corrals. As we are not horseback riders, we chose to keep going on the road around Lundbom Lake until we came to the Lundbom Lake East campground. Here we found our perfect campsite: sunny, only feet from the lake, and level – which made it easy to set up our tent trailer!
After establishing our campsite, we had a great evening of board games, a campfire, and simply enjoying the beautiful weather. We were visited by the site operator who collected our camping fees (a very reasonable $12 per night) and gave us some tips on mountain biking in the area.
The next morning we unloaded our bikes, met up with family, and headed for the Lundbom/Tent Mountain Bike Trail. The trail, a 12-kilometer route managed by the Merritt Mountain Bike Association, is a fantastic beginner to intermediate ride leaving right from the campground. The trail has rolling hills, making it ideal for beginner mountain bikers like me who are nervous about the steep downhill sections of some mountain biking trails! The route follows old access roads and horse trails and is a great mix of open grasslands and treed areas which would provide welcome relief from the hot sun during the summer months.
As always when camping, it is important to remember that we are heading into areas where wildlife is present. On our bike ride, we saw a bear out enjoying the sunshine. Fortunately, the bear had very little interest in us and headed the other way as soon as it heard us coming, but it is always important to be Bear Aware when heading into the wilderness.
After our ride we returned to the campground where we had a great conversation with a woman who was out for a day of fishing. She told us that Lundbom Lake has amazing fishing opportunities and even gave us a hint as to the “secret spot” to catch the biggest fish!
Our weekend at Lundbom Lake gave us a break from the dreary lower mainland weather and the opportunity to easily (and inexpensively) access the outdoors. We will definitely be back as our weekend away only scratched at the surface of the many things to do at this BC Recreation Site.
First published November 2017 and updated September 2019.
Coast Along British Columbia’s Famed Fishing Highway 24 in the Cariboo
While travelling east-west between the Southern Cariboo’s 100 Mile House (above the Fraser Plateau) and the town of Little Fort in BC’s Thompson River Valley, you’ll find the historic Highway 24 – also known as BC’s Fishing Highway.
Only 97 kilometres in length (60 miles), this short yet incredibly scenic route offers quite a few places to relax, rest up and eat – along with plenty to do, see and experience – along the way. (More than fishing – think boating, swimming, wildlife viewing and more.)
Though paved and modern, what’s interesting is that the route for Highway 24 (or Fishing Highway) has remained essentially the same since gold seekers and fur traders used it so many centuries ago.
After the gold discovery in the Northern Cariboo region and the gold rush of the 1800s that soon followed, the area’s wilderness trails became important roads that led to the northern gold fields for thousands upon thousands of gold seekers. Along these routes, a myriad of roadhouses sprang up offering stopover points to these weary travellers. As well, the water from the area’s hundreds of local lakes and connecting streams throughout these forested areas created a natural and rewarding setting for cattle ranching.
Today, the area supports key BC industries that include logging, ranching and tourism and several of the early roadhouses have been restored and are now used as recreational buildings and/or resorts.
This picturesque Highway 24 also follows a trail originally used by the Shuswap people as a trading route, and then later developed – in the early 19th century – by the Hudson’s Bay Company to bring furs from the northern BC region to Fort Kamloops and the Columbia River. In fact, sections of the Hudson’s Bay Fur Brigade Trail can still be seen towards the highway’s eastern end, which has been aptly preserved and named as a “heritage trail.”
Though named the “Fishing Highway,” this route offers seemingly endless wilderness with boundless outdoor opportunities such as bird watching, boating and canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, swimming and other activities. (During winter, there’s also snowmobiling and snowshoeing.)
You’ll find this idyllic route dotted with beautiful lakes boasting picnicking areas (and bathrooms), along with cafes/restaurants, shops and places to rest up and stay for the night.
Indeed, along this relatively expanse of highway, you’ll find nearly a dozen lakes dotting the scenery – with each offering opportunities to discover and explore the area, including Bridge Lake Provincial Park, Crystal Lake Recreation Site, Deka Lake (known for its sizable lake trout and rainbow trout), Eagan Lake, the peaceful and wilderness surrounded Fawn Lake (also known for its rainbow trout at certain times of the year), the five-kilometre long Hathaway Lake, the scenic Horse Lake offering views of rolling hills and vibrant colours in the fall season, Interlakes, the forested Lac Des Roches (which includes many little islands), Sheridan Lake (known for its crystal-clear water and abundant rainbow trout) and Sulphurous Lake (featuring a rocky shoreline and surrounded by low mountains).
Many of the above lakes also boast an array of other activities (along with fishing) and overnight accommodations that range from rustic cabins and RV parking to charming bed & breakfast spots, camping, upscale resorts.
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If the Fishing Highway interests you, check our suggested drives:
Following the BC Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo & Beyond
Canadian Rockies, Cowboy Country to Coast Mountains
For campgrounds in this area and elsewhere in British Columbia go to the Camping Map.
Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc
The Chilliwack River Valley: An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Paradise
About one and a half hours east from Vancouver International Airport is one of the Lower Mainland’s best kept secrets, one which is an outdoor adventurers’ dream. Want world class fishing for steelhead trout and a variety of salmon? Got it. Rapids ranging from class 2 to 5 for the whitewater rafting rookie or experienced kayaking enthusiast? Check. A range of hikes from family-friendly afternoon jaunts to technically challenging overnighters? Affirmative. Camping destinations for relaxed RVers, summer long-weekend tenters, and backcountry machete-wielders? Absolutely. When it comes to outdoor destinations, the Chilliwack River Valley has it all. But don’t tell anyone…the locals are trying hard to keep it a secret!
With its origins in the mountains of Washington State’s North Cascades National Park, the Chilliwack River makes its way north into Canada and eventually the Chilliwack Lake. From the lake’s northern end, the river snakes mostly west for many kilometers before it meets up with the Sweltzer River and then the Sumas River before flowing into the mighty Fraser River. On a technical note, shortly after joining forces with the Sweltzer, the Chilliwack passes under the Vedder Bridge and its’ name changes to the Vedder River.
Regardless of its name, the Chilliwack/Vedder River is well known to anglers from around the Lower Mainland, the province, and even internationally. A veritable rainbow of salmon species – coho, chum, pink, white chinook, and sockeye can be caught here between the months of July and early December. The river is also home to various types of trout, including rainbow, coastal cutthroat, and steelhead, which is renowned as one of the most difficult-to-catch freshwater sportfish. Those hungry for the challenge of steelhead can put their angling skills to the test between January and April or July to early September. Be sure to obtain a proper license for the type of fish you’re hoping to hook! If you are going to camp in the area too there are a good selection of private campgrounds, provincial parks and recreation sites. More information at Where to Camp.
If the idea of landing a 30-lb chinook salmon doesn’t thrill you, perhaps racing down the Chilliwack River in a raft or kayak would be enough to take your breath away. Local companies offer a range of trips for anyone from the rafting rookie to the whitewater junkie (from class 2 to 4+ on the whitewater scale). Perhaps you’d rather challenge the river on your own – try kayaking. There are appropriate sections for newbies, while experienced kayakers can test their skills at the famous Tamihi Rapids, Canada’s only class 5 training course and a common site for the training of our national Olympic kayaking team. By the way, the official whitewater classification system maxes out at Class 6, which is the type of water you don’t want to even attempt to navigate in a floating object (i.e. Hell’s Gate).
For those who feel more comfortable on “terra firma”, the Chilliwack River Valley still has plenty to offer. Easier, flat walks can be found west of the Vedder Bridge at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve (several hikes ranging up to 5 km return) or the Vedder River Trails (the Vedder Rotary Trail is 8 km one way). At the east end of the valley from Vedder Bridge is access to more moderate hikes. The Lindeman Lake Hike is a well maintained trail that winds through forest for 3.4 km (return) with a modest 215m elevation gain before terminating at a peaceful alpine lake where wooden camping platforms are available for those who want to stay overnight. The longer-winded among us may want to carry on a further 3.5 km and gain another 150m in elevation to visit Greendrop Lake.
Meanwhile, the hardier, more adventurous trekker can put their legs and lungs to the test on the way up Mount MacFarlane. This trail will have you climbing 2,016 m over the course of 17 km out and back, but the inspiring scenery includes massive Douglas Firs, a couple of pristine lakes, and a summit with a panoramic view of snow-capped peaks that is incomparable.
Once you’ve conquered Mount MacFarlane, there are many other challenging hikes and illustrious summits to reach in the Chilliwack River Valley area. Did I mention there’s a lot to do here? If you love the outdoors, this is a place you must visit. But be careful…you might just decide you never want to leave!
For information on camping and RVing in British Columbia go to https://www.campingrvbc.com/
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