Known for being an ideal RV holiday destination for those seeking family fun, Champion Lakes Provincial Park is simply stunning and well worth the trip. Located in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, Champion Lakes Provincial Park was first established via Order-in-Council back in 1955. Since opening the park has had its boundaries adjusted twice and now includes 3587 acres (14sqkm) for visitors to explore and enjoy.
The park takes its name from the three lakes that are found within the park. These lakes form the headwaters of Landis Creek, which eventually flows northward to join Champion Creek, a tributary of the Columbia River. The vegetation is standard for the area besides the stands of alpine fir and yellow pine growing near each other, which does not usually happen. Wildlife is in abundance with deer, coyotes, black bears, porcupines, snowshoe hares, pikas and beavers all being regulars.
The three lakes are very popular during the summer time and are the site of many recreational activities, including swimming, boating and fishing. There are also some hiking trails that connect the lakes and lead up to the park lookout. We highly recommend checking it out as it offers amazing views of the park and surrounding natural scenery.
Camping is available in one campground and there are 95 vehicle accessible sites, 13 of which are double sites. All sites at Champion Lakes Provincial Park are primitive but the amenities that are available should be well maintained. Peak season at Champion Lakes Provincial Park runs from mid-May until mid-September.
Champion Lakes Provincial Park is located in far south-west British Columbia in the Kootenays region. There is one entrance and exit road that makes its way up the mountain and into the park and you should be able to access it with no trouble at all. This access road is located just off Highway 3B and just west of the junction with the Crowsnest Highway 3. From the highway the road into the park is around six miles (10km) in length.
The Kootenays region of British Columbia has many small towns, many of which are in close vicinity to Champion Lakes Provincial Park. These towns include Fruitvale (around 10 miles or 17km), Montrose (around 18 miles or 29km) and Salmo (around 18 miles or 29km). There are a few small cities that are close to Champion Lakes Provincial Park, with Trail being the closest at 20 miles (33km) away.
The road into the camping area (which is located off the park access road) is kept in very good condition and there should be no issues accessing the campground. During the winter there is heavy snowfall in and around the park so you may have trouble with access if you plan to visit during this time. If you do plan on visiting the park during winter make sure you call the park in advance to confirm that the park will be suitable to driving your RV to.
There is plenty of parking available at Champion Lakes Provincial Park.
There are no public transport options to Champion Lakes Provincial Park.
The campground at Champion Lakes is quite impressive and is situated between the third and second lake. While there are no sites that are lakeside, all of the sites are evenly spaced and feature a good amount of shad thanks to a mixed forest. There are a total of 95 vehicle accessible sites available for visitors to call home and all of them are non-powered. 13 of the 95 sites are also doubles so they will be great for those with larger rigs.
There are some great amenities at the campground, including WiFi! Other amenities include six different toilet blocks, multiple water collection points, easy access to 2nd and 3rd Lakes along with a dump station. Some of the facilities are wheelchair accessible and there are accessible camping sites available.
Campsite reservations are accepted and the sites can also be booked on a first-come, first-served basis too. If you need some supplies the closest town to the park is Fruitvale. The campground closes from mid-September until mid-May for the winter months.
Visitors to Champion Lakes Provincial Park are spoiled with the choice of two beaches to choose from. Both of the beaches are located at 3rd Lake and can be found on the west end and the east end. The east end is where the main beach is located and it has the only buoyed wading area and swim float. There is a big drop-off at the main beach so take caution when you are wading out into the water. There are no lifeguards on duty so make sure that you swim to your abilities.
Champion Lakes Provincial Park has some great interpretive programs, including one on the great Western Painted Turtles of Champion Lakes. The information about the animal is presented on interpretive panels along the 3rd Champion Lake Road and they detail the importance of conserving the Western Painted Turtles population at Champion Lakes. The goal of the program is to encourage visitors to the park for better stewardship practices to follow while enjoying the park. For more information on other interpretive programs you can contact the park office.
While the lakes at Champion Lakes Provincial Park aren't great for motor boating they are great for those looking for a paddle. Canoes, kayaks and rowboats are welcome on the lakes and we recommend exploring both the third and second lakes due to the easy access that they have via the boat launches. The first lake is still accessible but there is a small portage from the second lake boat launch that is required in order to reach first lake.
Once the weather starts to turn the park transforms into a winter friendly recreational hub. There are opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing in the winter for visitors who are looking to have some fun. The most popular out of the three is cross-country skiing. A local Ski Club maintains around three miles (6km) of tracks in the Park throughout the winter months. These trails also connect with a further six miles (10km) of trails outside of the park.
Hiking lovers rejoice! There are a total of four miles (6.5 km) of gentle trails that connects the lakes and will take you around the second and third lakes. Along with the trails near the lakes there is also a trail that leads up to a beautiful lookout. Remember for your own safety and preservation of the park to obey the posted signs and only walk on the designated trails. If you are limited on time we recommend the Lookout Trail. The trail contains a moderate to steep grade and it is around a 40 – 60 minute round trip depending on how long you stay at look at the picturesque views of the lakes below.
If you love to fish you will love your stay at Champion Lakes Provincial Park. All three small lakes that make up the Champion Lakes have regularly been stocked with rainbow trout since the 1930s so there are some awesome fishing opportunities. The pick of the bunch is the third lake as there has been some development on it so the water is deep, clear water and has a regular shoreline. If you want to try catching rainbow trout you can catch them via fly fishing or trolling spoon. Ice fishing is also allowed during the colder months. If you do decide to fish you will need to have a license and follow the state rules and regulations.