Formed by ancient glacial activity and offering untouched adventure, Carp Lake Provincial Park is a must-visit park for travelers in British Columbia. Located in the near direct center of British Columbia, Carp Lake got its name due to First Nations people of the area visiting the lake to catch carp. This name was noted by Simon Fraser, an explorer who detailed his comments in 1806 while he was at nearby Fort McLeod. Fraser is also known as the man who created Fort McLeod, the first permanent European settlement in what is now British Columbia.
The park is beautiful and features a wide array of diverse habitats due to the combination of the lake, large sandy banks and forest. Carp Lake is the center of recreational activity within the park and the lake is famous for its rainbow trout, offering some of the best fishing in British Columbia. Visitors also enjoy swimming in the lake once the weather heats up and there are multiple sandy beaches that you can relax at. Other popular activities include hiking, hunting, wildlife viewing, picnicking and snow shoeing.
There are two campgrounds that are RV friendly at Carp Lake Provincial Park with a combined 102 fully maintained campsites. The main campground (Carp Lake Campground) has the majority of the sites and amenities. During the winter time the campground and the park is open until they are inaccessible due to weather. Peak season at Carp Lake Provincial Park runs from May until September.
Carp Lake Provincial Park is located very close to the geographical center of British Columbia, and is approximately 90 miles (150 km) northwest from the city of Prince George. The park is relatively remote but there are a few small towns that are within driving distance, including McLeod Lake (around 19 miles or 32kms), Mackenzie (around 48 miles or 78kms) and Chetwynd (around 123 miles or 198kms).
Once you get around 20 miles from the park entrance the road changes from asphalt to gravel. For some larger RVs this will prove more difficult to navigate due to the uneven road base. When the road changes to gravel take care when driving as the road also becomes more narrow and will be just a single lane with many sharp bends. This gravel road also means that during the spring melt the road may be impassable to cars or vehicles with trailers.
Once the snow starts to fall in the winter the gravel road is not plowed so you will not be able to enter the park. If you plan on visiting the park at any time after peak season make sure to call ahead to the park office to make sure that the road will still be open.
There is plenty of parking available at Carp Lake Provincial Park.
Unfortunately there are no public transport options that will take you to Carp Lake Provincial Park.
Carp Lake Campground is the largest of the two campgrounds that are RV friendly in Carp Lake Provincial Park. Located in Kettle Bay, the campground has 90 sites that are suitable for both RV and tent camping.
All of the campsites within Carp Lake Campground are primitive so you won't find any water, electrical or sewer hookups. Despite this there are still some great amenities available for you to use, including a playground, picnic shelter, running water, pit toilets, firewood, dump station and horseshoe pitches. The campground is also pet friendly but all pets must be leashed at all times.
All sites at Carp Lake Campground are only available on a first come, first served basis. During the winter time the campground gate is open however no services are provided and the road into the campground is also not maintained. Because of this, you will not be able to camp at Carp Lake Campground in winter and the season officially runs from May until September.
War Lake Campground is the smallest of the two RV friendly campgrounds that are located at Carp Lake Provincial Park. Located on the banks of War Lake there are only nine campsites that are available for visitors to use.
All of the campsites within War Lake Campground are primitive so you won't find any water, electrical or sewer hookups. There are also not as many amenities available in comparison to Carp Lake Campground. However, you will still find water collection points, pit toilets, firewood and a car-top boat launch provided for your convenience. Please note that there is no dump station at War Lake Campground. Like Carp Lake Campground, War Lake Campground is also pet friendly but pets must be leashed at all times.
All sites at War Lake Campground are only available on a first come, first served basis. During the winter time the campground gate is open however no services are provided and the road into the campground is also not maintained. Because of this, you will not be able to camp at War Lake Campground in winter and the season officially runs from May until September.
While there are no designated wildlife viewing platforms in the park, there are some bridges over wet areas that are great spots to be on the lookout for wildlife. The bridges also have interpretive signs that highlight and inform visitors of what animals of interest frequent the park. Larger mammals such as black bears and deer are often seen within the park, as well as moose foraging in the marshy areas about the lake. Depending on the time of year waterfowl are also prevalent during migratory and nesting periods. For more information on wildlife that call the park home, contact the park office.
Along with the trail that leads to War Falls there are many other areas that visitors can explore. A loop trail that connects the main campground with Rainbow Lake and with McLeod River is popular and features interpretive signs along the trail that will inform you about the local area. For those with boats you can also checkout a trail between Drumlin Bay and Dace Lake. Park staff recommend that you keep to designated trails to maintain plant life and soil structure.
If Carp Lake Provincial Park was to be known for one thing, it undoubtedly would be for its fishing. Carp Lake is renowned for its rainbow trout and it was noted way back in 1806 by early explorer Simon Fraser that the lake was a great fishing spot. The nearby McLeod River is also great for fishing and offers sensational fly-fishing. Since the lake is not stocked yearly with new fish anglers are encouraged to catch and release fish that are caught in the park. Remember that you will also need a valid fishing license too.
One of the best adventure opportunities available for visitors to the park is descending to the base of War Falls. The walk down to the falls is pretty straightforward and is downhill for most of it. Once you reach the end of the trail you can also view the cascading waterfall from a viewing platform. This is a real hidden gem so make the most of the chance to see it as the walk is short and the view is well worth it!
Carp Lake is also a very popular area for people who love to boat. Boaters have the opportunity to launch their watercraft from a concrete boat ramp on Carp Lake, or a gravel ramp at War Lake. The highlight of boating are the 20 islands or so that vary in size which are located within Carp Lake that boaters can explore. Canoeing and kayaking are the two most popular boating activities but motorized boats are also allowed on the lake. Take care on the water and we recommend wearing a life jacket at all times.
Once the weather starts to heat up, Carp Lake turns into a fantastic place to go and take a dip. Swimming is allowed throughout the lake but the best areas are from either of the two sandy beaches on Carp Lake. Both of these beaches can only be accessed via walking trails which are a 20 minute and 40 minute hike. If you are short on time we recommend going to the closest beach as there isn't a huge difference between the two swimming areas.