Featuring incredible fresh water adventures, prehistoric petroglyphs and great camping facilities, Sproat Lake Provincial Park is a must-visit RV destination for those on Vancouver Island. The modern history of the park dates back to 1860 when Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, a native of Galloway, Scotland arrived on Vancouver Island with men and equipment to establish a sawmill. Before the park was given to the province in 1966 by MacMillan Bloedel Limited it was known as Smith’s Landing after local George Smith.
There is some very important cultural heritage at the park as it is home to one of the finest panels of prehistoric petroglyphs in all British Columbia. Known as K’ak’awin, there is very little known about it but tales have led to some to think that the rock carving depicts some mystical ancient monsters of the lake.
During the summertime Sproat Lake is the center of the recreational activities at the park with visitors having the chance to go swimming, boating, fishing, scuba diving and waterskiing. Off the lake there are also short trails to explore, places to picnic and birding opportunities.
If you choose to stay the night at Sproat Lake Provincial Park you have the option to choose between two campgrounds, located either close to the lake or away from it. The campgrounds are very well maintained and feature some great amenities, including hot showers. The upper campground is closed during the off season but like the rest of the park the lower campground is open all year round.
Sproat Lake Provincial Park is located in the southern region of Vancouver Island and is situated very close to the Pacific Rim Highway. The park has multiple entry and exit points and it can be accessed from areas north, east and west of the park.
While there are some small towns located near the park, most of the services and amenities that you may need to access are closer to the Strait of Georgia rather than Sproat Lake. Because of this we recommend stopping into a town on the way to the park rather than driving out to the lake and then trying to find stores. Some of the towns close to Sproat Lake Provincial Park include Port Alberni (around eight and a half miles or 14kms away), Qualicum Beach (around 32 miles or 52kms away) and Parksville (around 37 miles or 60kms). The closest city to the park is Nanaimo, which is around 59 miles (95km) to the east.
Accessing the park should be quite straightforward as the roads in and around the park are relatively flat, very well maintained and all of the trees are trimmed to prevent overhanging branches damaging your RV. The road into the campground is kept in very good condition and it is also very wide to allow for ease of turning. During the winter the park remains open, however due to the weather we recommend calling to make sure that you will have road access.
There is plenty of parking at Sproat Lake Provincial Park.
There are no public transport options that will take you to Sproat Lake Provincial Park.
The Upper Campground is the largest of the two campgrounds at Sproat Lake Provincial Park and is the furthest away from the lake. The campground consists of one large loop and has 44 sites that are known for being quite wide, flat and offering privacy from other neighboring campers.
All sites at the Upper Campground are primitive with no hookups available. Despite this there are other great amenities in the campground, including multiple water collection points, toilet blocks, ADA accessible sites and a playground. There is no dump station or hot showers at the Upper Campground. The campground is also pet friendly and you should be able to get cell phone service on all of the major providers within the campground.
Since the campground is a popular destination in the summer we recommend that you book a reservation in advance before you begin your journey to the park. Some sites will also be available on a first come, first served basis and the campground is open from May until October.
The Lower Campground is the smaller of the two campgrounds at Sproat Lake Provincial Park and is the closest to the lake. The campground consists of one small loop and has 14 sites that are known for being quite wide, flat and offering privacy from other neighboring campers.
All sites at the Lower Campground are primitive with no hookups available. Despite this there are other great amenities in the campground, including multiple water collection points, hot showers, toilet blocks, ADA accessible sites and easy access to the beach. There is no dump station at the Lower Campground. The campground is also pet friendly and you should be able to get cell phone service on all of the major providers within the campground.
Since the campground is a popular destination in the summer we recommend that you book a reservation in advance before you begin your journey to the park. Some sites will also be available on a first come, first served basis and the campground is open all year round.
There is no better way to spend a hot summer day than by taking a dip to cool off in the lovely waters of Sproat Lake. The lake is known for having very warm water so it is perfect for swimming. There are two main swimming areas on the lake that are located near the boat launch in the day-use area and at the lower campground. These are the best swimming locations and they also double as great places to soak up the summer rays. Be aware that if you are swimming in the lake that there are no lifeguards so swim to your ability.
During one weekend every July the Alberni Valley Regatta Association holds their annual “Lightning on the Lake” Race on Sproat Lake. The event is a massive deal within the local community and attracts boat racers from all over the country who are looking to win the trophy at the end of the race. Along with the race there are also events that happen over the weekend, including a car and boat show on the Friday before the race.
Sproat Lake Provincial Park has a large day-use/picnic area located next to the lower campground that is the perfect spot to have a lovely relaxing picnic. There are three separate picnic sites that are conveniently located throughout the day-use area that include some fantastic facilities, such as shaded picnic tables, toilets, campfire rings and water collection points. If you want to have a beachside picnic you can also do this at the grassy area near the beach.
Fishing lovers rejoice! There are some great opportunities for you to enjoy some fresh water fishing in Sproat Lake during your stay at the park. The lake is very large, deep and full of great fish, including rainbow trout and steelhead. If you do decide to cast out a line please note that it is only catch and release so you need to let the fish go back home after you catch them. You will also need a British Columbia fishing license and check the current regulations issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
For those looking to hike during their stay at Sproat Lake Provincial Park there are only short access trails but they will still give you the chance to see the park. The upper campground is connected to the lower campground and the beach by a trail that leads through a highway underpass. There is also a short trail that leads from the main parking lot at the day-use area and along the lake to a small pier at the east end of the park.
The prehistoric petroglyphs that are located at the pier within Sproat Lake Provincial Park represent extremely important cultural heritage. The panels, known as K’ak’awin, are very mysterious and very little is known about them. Some believe that the rock carving depicts some mystical ancient monsters of the lake but nobody knows for sure. Due to the age of the petroglyphs, which may be as much as 3,000 years old, please be aware of your surroundings and do not touch them as they can be easily damaged.