Featuring the warmest swimming in the Kootenays and surrounded by beautiful mixed forests, Wasa Lake Provincial Park has been a family vacation destination since the 1950’s. The modern history of Wasa Lake Provincial Park dates back to the early 1900s when the area was logged in order for a railway to be built. Following the clearing, irrigation occurred for many years and then cattle ranching became the agricultural mainstay. The park was officially established in 1955 and comprises of 355 acres (1.43kmsq). The park was built to provide residents and visitors access to the warmest swimming lake in the Kootenays, which is Wasa Lake.
Due to the warm waters of the lake, it is the main attraction to those seeking summer recreation. The lake offers abundant swimming, boating and fishing opportunities and is also a fantastic place to sit down and have a picnic. The park is also a major conservation area and protects one of the most threatened ecosystem types in the world; fire maintained temperate grasslands. Less than 5% of fire maintained temperate grasslands exist in Canada, with only a small fraction being protected.
A great feature in Wasa Lake Provincial Park is the five mile (8 km) wheelchair accessible trail that gives those with disabilities access to the lakeshore. The trail is also bike accessible and includes a guided interpretation trail. Wasa Lake campground is located on the east side of the lake and can accommodate long RVs along with tents. There are 104 primitive sites that include 66 of which are reservable while the remaining sites are on a first-come, first-served basis. Peak season at Wasa Lake Provincial Park runs from May until September.
Wasa Lake Provincial Park is located in south-eastern British Columbia and is situated around 24 miles north of Cranbrook. The park has two entry and exit points that is serviced by Wasa Lake Park Drive, which runs through the southern end of the park.
Since the park is in the small unincorporated community of Wasa there are a few services and amenities that you can use, however the area has no major shopping or health services. There are other towns located close by to the park, including Skookumchuck (around 10 miles or 16 kms away), Blarchmont (around 20 miles away or 33kms) and Canal Flats (around 28 miles or 45kms away).
Accessing the park should be very straightforward as the roads in and around the park are suburban roads that are flat, very well maintained and have no obstructions. The road into the campground (which is located south of the park on Wasa Lake Park Road) is also kept in very good condition. During the winter the campground is closed, however if you do plan on visiting the park during winter make sure you call the park in advance to confirm that you will have road access.
There is plenty of parking at Wasa Lake Provincial Park.
There are no public transport options that will take you to Wasa Lake Provincial Park.
Wasa Lake Campground is the only campground at the park and is located on the east side of the lake. The campground is very popular with visitors during the summer months and features campsites that can accommodate both long recreation vehicles and tents.
While there are no drive-through sites, the sites that exist are made of compacted gravel and have decent shading thanks to the tall trees that grow in the campground. In total there are 104 primitive sites with both a picnic table and fire ring accompanying each site. Other amenities within the campground include free hot showers, multiple flush toilets, water collection points, a playground, bike path and a dump station. The campground is also pet friendly and a telephone is available at the entrance to the campground.
While 66 of the sites are available to reserve the rest are available on a first come, first served basis. If the campground reservations are booked out online we recommend arriving early to the campground to guarantee that you will have a site. During the winter the campground gate will be closed.
The park also has some great hiking trails on offer that are well worth your time. We recommend checking out the Forest of the Rainshadow Self-guided interpretive trail. This is a mile and a half loop (2.7 km) that takes around one hour to complete. This walk is very easy and can be completed by the whole family and it begins at the amphitheater located in the campground. “Wasa Lions Way” is also available for those wanting to explore around the lake.
Wasa Lake Provincial Park has some great biking paths and trails available for visitors to explore. The most popular path is the five mile (eight km) “Wasa Lions Way” that will take you around the lake. There is also a children’s bike park within the campground for the use and enjoyment of families. For the mountain bikers there is a self-guided mountain bike loop that takes you from Wasa Lake to Lazy Lake. The “Lazy Lake Bike Loop” is a 20 mile (33km) ride which takes you up Wolf Creek Road to Lazy Lake and then back to Wasa Lake on Lazy Lake Road. Remember that all riders must wear helmets when riding within the park.
Wasa Lake also has something on offer for the fishing lovers all year round. The freshwater lake is abundant with big ones and you will find that perch and bass are the most commonly caught species. Fishing is allowed in the lake via watercraft or from the banks and thanks to the “Wasa Lions Way” Trail you will have no shortage of locations from the banks to choose from. Before you cast a line you need to have a fishing license. For more fishing rules and regulations visit the park website.
If you are looking to go for a relaxing picnic during your stay at Wasa Lake Provincial Park, you will be pleased to know that the park has four picnic areas for a total of 45 picnic sites. All four areas feature amenities that include toilets, picnic tables and a grassed area. All picnic areas are also located right near the beach so you can easily combine a picnicking and swimming trip into one. None of the picnic areas are reservable so make sure you get there early if you have a large group.
Along with having the best place to swim in the area, Wasa Lake is also a great boating destination. All boats are allowed on the lake (including power boats) with canoeing, waterskiing and windsurfing being some of the more popular choices for those seeking fun times. If you have a boat to launch you can do so via the east shore across from the campground at Camper’s Beach. The pad is concrete and will be suitable enough for a large boat.
Wasa Lake is famous for having the warmest waters in all of the Kootenays, so it should be no surprise that swimming is the most popular recreational activity at the park. There are four different swimming areas that are marked by buoys in the day use areas of the park. There is also over over a mile of beaches that provide excellent sunbathing and beach walking areas and amenities that include change rooms, picnic tables and washrooms. Please note there are no lifeguards at the park so swim to your ability.