Located on a plateau in the Kootenay Range of the Rocky Mountains, lies a historical hunting ground packed with diverse wildlife. Moose, mountain goats, elk, and grizzly bears are all a common sight on the ground, while in the air, you will come across Common loons, red-necked grebes, belted kingfishers, blue herons, and bald and golden eagles. Spread across 20 square kilometers, with views of the Rocky Mountains, two mountain lakes, a historic lakeside hiking trail, and natural hot springs, Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park truly displays nature’s beauty at its finest.
The park has gone through interesting and impactful changes through the course of history. Some 5000 years ago, the Park was an important seasonal hunting ground for the Ktunaxa people, where they would kill bison or other large game. Then, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Lussier Hot Springs became home to trappers and prospectors. Today, logging and mining play an important role in the area's economy and are the two highest employing industries.
With lakeside campgrounds, you can even holiday among the picturesque scenery and enjoy a variety of activities which include canoeing, hiking, and (of course) hunting. Fishing is also a major source of entertainment at the Park. In fact, with the Whiteswan and Alces Lakes being part of the Rocky Mountain Triangle, the plentiful fish populations are what led to the Park’s establishment.
Today, steps have been taken to make the lakes self-sufficient, which includes restricting angling to fly fishing. With so much to offer, Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park is surely not going to disappoint.
The park is located 22 km southeast of Canal Flats. If coming by car, to reach the park you must travel south from Canal Flats for 4.5 km on Highway 93/95 to Whiteswan Lake. After which, turn east onto Whiteswan Forest Road and drive for another 12.5 miles (20 km) east. Due to the heavy logging activity in the area, always drive carefully and yield the right of way to logging trucks. Extra caution should be taken when driving up the narrow roads leading to the Lussier gorge towards the end of the drive.
The only campground that has a campsite that is ADA accessible. This campground offers 37 campsites in total situated close to pit and flush toilets. A boat launch area is also provided as well as picnic tables and fire pits. Pets are allowed within campgrounds as long as they are leashed.
Features a total of 17 campsites and a designated day-use picnic area. Access to drinking water and pit toilets is available close by. Sites come equipped with a picnic table and firepit and are located alongside the White River offering a romantic camping experience.
Features a total of 16 campsites. Pit toilets are available close by as well as access to drinking water. This campground also offers winter camping facilities depending on the amount of snowfall.
Packrat Point offers 16 campsites in total that are hidden amidst the dense woods. Pit toilets, picnic tables, and BBQ grills are available on site and the campground also features a designated picnic area and concrete boat launch pad.
Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park park offers five campgrounds that can accommodate RV, trailer, motorhomes, and even big rigs. The five campgrounds combined offer a total of 114 campsites and six wilderness campsites accessible by hiking or canoeing.
Alces Lake campground has 28 campsites in total. A dump station is present at the entrance of the campground and a gravel boat launch area. Vault toilets, picnic tables, and BBQ grills are available on each campsite. The campsites offer lakefront sites with a picturesque view of snow-capped peaks and beautiful blue lake waters.
With two mountain lakes, Whiteswan and Alces, available in the Park, the crystal clear water is the perfect setting to set out on a kayak or canoe. Enjoy the scenic views of the Rocky Mountains from the middle of the lake while paddling along with swans, geese, ducks, and loons, with an occasional moose grazing or drinking water along the shore. Kayaks and canoes can be rented from proprietors on site. The park has four boat launch areas located close to campgrounds two of which are paved and two are gravel.
Whiteswan Lake Park is open to hunting but firearms and weapons are only allowed in the Park during the hunting season. Before you plan your trip, you should check the British Columbia Hunting and Trapping Regulations to confirm seasons, weapons and other restrictions which might apply when you go out on your hunt.
The fisheries established at Alces and Whiteswan Lakes contain some of the highest quality rainbow trout in the world. During May and June, trout can be seen swimming in the creeks which makes for happy hunting for anglers of all skill levels. However, there is no fishing from December 1 to January 2 and it should be noted that anyone fishing in British Columbia must hold a valid license. It is advised that you regularly check the regulations for any closures due to bad weather conditions.
Considering the wonderful setting of the Park, hiking is a must have experience. If you want to experience a walk through a Douglas Fir forest while looking at the Whiteswan Lake and surrounding mountains, then consider a trek on the North Shore Trail. The trail has a one-way distance of 8 km (5 miles) stretching from the Alces Lake campground to Home Basin campground. Another entrance to the trail is located on the east end of Alces Lake, 2km (1.24 miles) by trail from the Alces Lake campground.
Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park is home to the Lussier Hot Springs. Located on the west boundary of the Park, the spring flows out of the mountainside and into large undeveloped green pools on the edge of the Lussier River. It is said that in the early 19th and 20th century, prospectors and trappers would use these pools to soothe their aching bodies after a long day’s work. Enjoy soaking up all the warmth and feel yourself loosen up in the pure mountain water. The hottest pool, which will be farthest away from the Lussier River, reaches temperatures up to 43 degrees Celsius which is a toasty 110 Fahrenheit, and as the water flows closer to the Lussier River, it gets colder and colder.
The Park has a swimming beach located at Home Basin. However, there are no markers which designate the swimming area and swimming is only allowed during the day. You should check with Park management before going out for a swim, especially since there are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.