Wasa Lake Provincial Park and Wasa Lake Campground Review
I made the drive to Wasa Lake Provincial Park on the Labour Day Weekend in 2017. Unfortunately there were many active and large wildfires across southern BC and Alberta that summer. On the day I arrived another wildfire began just to the south – Wasa Lake was on the edge of the evacuation zone the entire weekend. That meant a smoky trip but overall Wasa Lake was still fantastic. It was hot but the lake was wonderful and the campsites are well shaded.
About Wasa Lake Provincial Park
Wasa Lake is a provincial park in British Columbia. It’s located just off of Highway 95 north of Cranbrook and south of Invermere. From Calgary it takes between 4 and 5 hours to drive there while it’s 3.5 hours from Lethbridge and just under 7 hours from Edmonton.
According to BC Parks this 154 hectare park was created in 1955 to preserve a grassland ecosystem and the “warmest swimming lake in the Kootenays.” The park offers a variety of activities including cycling and hiking on an 8km loop around the lake a 2.7 km interpretive trail and a bike park. Canoeing kayaking and paddle boarding are popular activities on the lake. There are four roped-off swimming areas all with beautiful sandy beaches. Power boats are also allowed on the lake with a concrete boat launch at Camper’s Beach. Fishing is also allowed as long as you have a license.
There are several day use areas with pit or flush toilets playgrounds picnic areas and drinking water available. It’s nice to not have to go back to the campground for everything. You can really spend all day by the lake.
Personally I thought the beach was fantastic. You should definitely bring something for shade or set up camp in the trees behind the beach (there are picnic tables and benches there too). The water was warm and the swimming area gently sloped.
The 8km trail around the lake is nice and quite easy. You can detour into the little village as well to cool off or restock on some groceries. They also carry anything you could need for the lake – I bought flip flops because the sand was too hot for my bare feet!
The interpretive trail was nice to hike as well. It was very hot even by mid-morning so I recommend getting out there early and bringing plenty of water. It is possible to bike but there are some steep hills. There were lots of mountain biking trails off of this path too. The view from the top was lovely and well worth the hot climb (even with all the smoke).
About Wasa Lake Campground
While the park is open year round the campground is open but with limited services. Reservations made through Discover Camping are accepted from May until September for 66 of the 104 sites. The campsites are gravel and decently shaded.
The trees are tall and the underbrush isn’t thick so there isn’t a ton of privacy. That wasn’t an issue when I was there as the campground was far from full but if you’re there on a busy weekend it might be a bigger deal.
Each site has a campfire ring and picnic table. Flush toilets are scattered throughout the campground so you’re never far from a bathroom. Hot showers (free!) and a washing basin are available near the camp entrance. For the RVers there is also a Sani-Station/Dump available for $5. (For some tips on waste disposal click here .)
Overall the facilities at this campground were quite nice. I had no complaints – they were clean there was hot water you never had to go far for the trash bin or drinking water. Booking was easy and I love being able to see a picture of each individual site.
Fort Steele – The nearby Fort Steele is a fantastic day trip from Wasa Lake. Only a 20 minute drive away this heritage town has tons of activities for everyone. Learn about the town’s history appreciate the architecture take a ride on a steam train explore the gardens see a show and visit the town’s animals including their black Clydesdale horses.
Kootenay Trout Hatchery – Just over half an hour’s drive from Wasa Lake stop by this trout hatchery to learn about local wildlife and fishing. You can even learn to fish and give it a try – for free!
Horseback Riding – GOT Adventure offers a variety of horseback riding excursions. The departure point is about 40 minutes from Wasa Lake by car.
Top of the World Provincial Park – This gorgeous but remote provincial park is definitely for the more adventurous. There are lots of hiking trails you can do as a day trip from Wasa Lake and the trip is well worth it.
Premier Lake Provincial Park – Just 40 minutes away Premier Lake is another popular Provincial Park to visit. There are a variety of hiking trails ranging from 40 minutes to 10 hours return trip. The lake is also enjoyable especially in hot weather.
If you want to adventure a little further away you can visit the Fairmont Hot Springs in under an hour. In the opposite direction the wonderful city of Fernie is just over an hour away. It’s a great place to find some delicious food and explore the downtown.
Wasa Lake is a great place to visit. The campground is well maintained and has everything you need. You can spend all day at the lake or explore the park by foot or bike. With lots of nearby attractions it’s hard to get bored.
The weather tends to be hot and dry and Wasa Lake’s shaded campsites and lake make keeping cool a bit easier. There are also amenities nearby if you forget or run out of anything. Overall I’d recommend it to adult or family campers!