A bit off the beaten path, but easily accessible nonetheless, Jewel Lake offers a quiet, sylvan retreat for anglers, paddlers and more. Sitting only about 10 miles from the US/Canada border, Jewel Lake is found in the foothills of the Selkirk Mountains, a gorgeous corner of British Columbia that is not subject to the throngs of summer visitors which flock to other parts of the province. Indeed, the lake's name is quite apt; it is an (almost) hidden gem.
The Provincial Park itself is quite small and hugs just a portion of the lake's northern shoreline. Anglers can cast from the shore or take a boat onto the water, where they may find rainbow and brook trout. Canoers and kayakers can enjoy a tranquil paddle across the 3 km lake (conditions are always quiet, as there's a 10 horsepower limit to motorized boats).
Adventurers looking to hike or bike can head towards nearby Gladstone Provincial Park to the west or Colville National Forest to the south; both are far larger than Jewel and offer many miles of trails through thick forests and mountainous country.
Jewel Lake features a small but beautiful campground set among conifers and aspens. There are 26 sites in total, about half of which can accommodate small to moderate-sized RVs or trailers. All sites are first-come first served.
Most visitors to Jewel Lake find themselves taking BC Highway 3, also known as the Crowsnest Highway (Gladstone Provincial Park is also reachable directly via the Crowsnest). Travelers will turn off of BC-3 at Boundary Creek Road, just north of the small town of Greenfield. Boundary Creek, in turn, promptly leads to the turn-off for Jewel Lake Road, which offers access to the park and its campground. In all, there are about 7.5 miles (12 km) of driving once you turn off of BC-3. The roads to the park are paved (except for the very last mile) and well-maintained, though they are fairly narrow in sections - larger rigs, especially, should keep a cautious eye out for oncoming traffic, particularly on low-visibility days. Jewel Lake Road also sports a couple of sharp turns.
The campground takes up much of Jewel Lake Provincial Park, and so just about everything should be within easy walking distance of your campsite. Spots are all back-in, and though there's plenty of space between them, not all very large rigs and trailers can be accommodated (indeed, only about half of the total spots can accommodate RVs or trailers at all). That being said, as long as you fit the prescribed length requirements, parking should be a snap. Once you're settled, the beach, boat launch and day-use area are all just a quick stroll away.
Jewel Lake's humble campground sports 26 sites, about thirteen of which can accommodate RVs or trailers (you can call the park to figure out if your specific setup will fit in a spot). Spots are set in a quiet, well-wooded area; towering spruce, fir and aspen make for a marvelously tranquil setting, and there's ample space in between campsites, so you'll enjoy plenty of privacy.
The amenities at Jewel Lake are rustic. No camper hookups - water, electric or sewage - are available, and there is no dump-station either. Restrooms are simple vault toilets. There is a water spigot, however, visitors should note that there is a "boil water" advisory in effect indefinitely for the campground (if you need bottled water, there are a few stores on the lake, and many in nearby Greenwood, where you can purchase it). All sites do come with picnic tables and fire rings.
Jewel Lake's campground is open from early May through mid-September. All sites are first-come first-served.
At Jewel, anglers will find a lake bustling with fish but not crowded with people. The quiet lake is stocked with rainbow trout and rainbow trout, both of which can reach considerable sizes in the park's rich but placid waters. Fly fishing is most angler's method of choice at Jewel.
If you'd like to head out onto the water but didn't bring a boat along, rentals are available at the nearby Jewel Lake Resort. Sitting at the lake's center, you can take in the gentle, tree-clad mountains that surround you as you wait for your first bite.
Jewel's pristine waters become surprisingly warm during the summer months, offering visitors the chance to take a relaxing swim. If you're coming through during July or August, a lake-dip will probably be a particularly attractive proposition; high temperatures average about 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius) during those months, and they regularly climb higher than that. A fine, sandy stretch of shore just near the campground makes for an excellent swim beach. Visitors should note, however, there is no specifically marked swim area, and that lifeguards are never present.
The serene, crystalline waters of Jewel Lake offer a beautiful spot for paddlers looking to escape busier boating areas. Paddle along the long, conifer-lined shore or cast a line in the middle of the lake, surrounded by lovely sylvan views on all sides. There is a boat launch located conveniently by the park's campground (though it is suitable only for car-top boat launching - trailers are not advised). There's also a 10-horsepower cap on motorized boats on the lake, which helps paddlers enjoy Jewel's peace and quiet.
Though Jewel itself does not have any maintained hiking trails, visitors can use the park as a launching park to explore and hike at other nearby parks. One such park is the large and spectacularly scenic Gladstone Provincial Park; encompassing a part of the rugged Selkirk Foothills, the park sports 30 miles (48 km) of hiking trails, which traverse dense forests and pass alongside gorgeous wilderness lakes. The park is a bit over an hour's drive from Jewel Lake. There are also several great hiking trails available within the Republic and Three Rivers Ranger Districts on the Colville National Forest in Washington, which sits just below the US/Canadian border.
Whether you stay at Jewel or venture out to some of the nearby parks (such as Gladstone Provincial Park or Colville National Forest), you'll be greeted with spectacular scenery and many great photographic opportunities. Capture the dazzling array of colors present at sunrise or sunset over Jewel lake, delve into the deep green of the park's coniferous forests or point your camera towards the snow-capped tips of the nearby Selkirk Mountains. Each season brings new character and a new reason to visit.
There's plenty of fascinating fauna that inhabits the areas in and around Jewel Lake Provincial Park. Bears, both black and grizzly, are common in the region, as are moose, bighorn sheep, mule deer and white-tailed deer. Smaller critters including marmots, beavers, porcupines, and several squirrel species, are frequently seen as well. Less often seen, though still present, are mountain lions and the elusive, almost spectral, Canadian Lynx. Birders can look out for eagles and ospreys as well as loons and a host of other waterfowl species which frequent the lake.