Located in southern British Columbia, Cathedral Provincial Park offers visitors stunning views of the jagged Cascade Mountains. The remote park sits amid thousands of acres of protected evergreen forests, home to a vast array of wildlife. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails crisscross the park, where you’ll be able to spot mountain goat, mule deer, and California bighorn sheep. Black and grizzly bears are also sometimes seen in the area, although they prefer to avoid human company.
There are six groups of lakes dotted throughout the green valleys of the park. You’ll find excellent fishing in the pristine turquoise waters, with large populations of brook, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. The long stretches of water are also perfect for kayaking and canoeing trips, as you can enjoy the lakes without anyone around to disturb you.
Although RV camping is limited in the heart of the park, there are two campgrounds located near the trailheads that lead into the core areas of the park. Lakeview Trailhead and Buckhorn Campgrounds both offer multiple rustic sites with quick access to hiking trails.
Cathedral Provincial Park is located along British Columbia’s southern border with Washington. The park is fairly remote, but it can be reached in around five hours from Vancouver and Seattle. RV camping in the area is limited, but you can find campgrounds along the Ashnola River.
If you are coming from Vancouver, take BC-1 east to BC-3, and you’ll arrive at the park in just under five hours. From Seattle, take I-5 north to BC-3, and you’ll reach the park in around six hours.
Cathedral Provincial Park features remote, tough to navigate forests and peaks, and the only way to access the interior of the park is by hiking. However, you can get to Lakeview Trailhead and Buckhorn Campgrounds, both located along the Ashnola River, by taking BC-3. You’ll have to use a dirt forest service road to get to the campgrounds.
This small campground features three rustic RV sites. None of the sites have hookups of any kind or picnic tables, although they do have fire pits. There are two pit toilets close to the sites. The campground is mainly used as a staging area for hikers moving into the heart of the park. You’ll be right by the Lakeview Trail, which stretches 16 kilometers into the Cascades, taking you to the core areas of the park.
The sites in the campground are first come, first served. Since there are only three spots, try to get there early in the day to get a site.
Like Lakeview Trailhead Campground, Buckhorn Campground offers rustic RV sites with no hookups. The sites do have fire pits and picnic tables, and the campground has multiple pit toilets as well. The campground is located two kilometers from the Lakeview Trail, which takes you to the park’s core areas.
None of the sites can be reserved in advance, so you should get there early to save your spot.
The jagged mountains, clear blue lakes, and dense hardwood forests of the park are home to miles of hiking trails. There are three main trails that lead to the core area of the park, each more than 15 kilometers long. Once you reach the core, there are miles of additional trails that can be hiked in just a few hours. It takes at least a full day to reach the heart of the park by foot, so be prepared for a long hike.
The vast expanses of turquoise waters make Cathedral Provincial Park one of the best areas in British Columbia for boating. There are six groups of lakes found throughout the park, secluded amid the jagged peaks and evergreen forests, all of which can be explored via canoe or kayak. Motorized boats are not allowed on any of the lakes. Do take caution if you plan on swimming as you kayak, as the water is glacier fed, and is quite cold.
There are six groups of lakes located in Cathedral Provincial Park, making the area a popular destination for local anglers. The calm and clear waters, framed by the jagged peaks of the Cascades, are populated with large numbers of brook, rainbow, and cutthroat trout.
Fishing tends to be best running from late spring through early fall. You’ll need a British Columbia fishing license if you plan on fishing anywhere within the park.
With hundreds of rocky outcroppings and sheer cliffs, Cathedral Provincial Park is a popular destination for climbers. There are several established routes in the area, including at Macabre Tower, Grimface, and the Matriarch, and you can find additional smaller faces throughout much of the park. As you may guess from the names, these routes are for experienced climbers, so make sure you have all of the equipment and skills needed.
Big areas of the park are available for hunting running from August through April. You’ll find a variety of large and small game in the forest, including elk and deer. The dense evergreen forests provide plenty of cover, and rocky outlooks give hunters great vantage points.
Hunting is not allowed in any of the core areas of the park. You can carry firearms in the core areas only if they are unloaded and you are heading to one of the sections of the park where hunting is allowed.
Cathedral Provincial Park is home to a staggering diversity of wildlife species. Visitors commonly see mule deer, mountain goat, California bighorn sheep, and red-listed badger. You may also be able to spot black and grizzly bears, although they are rarely seen, as they tend to avoid humans. You’ll also have panoramic views of the Cascades and can climb up to a number of unique rock formations that serve as some of the best scenic outlooks in the park.