Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park
Whiteswan provides a camping experience that is closer to a back-country camping style while still being accessible for vehicles and RV’s. One of our two most popular fishing lakes within the parks in the East Kootenays, Whiteswan is also famous for its small natural hotsprings. Without cell service, this park is the ideal location to actually get away from it all.
Whiteswan Lake also encompasses the Cave Creek Backcountry area. The site can be accessed by boat or canoe from boat launches provided at Packrat Point or Home Basin, or backpackers can hike in on the North Shore trail from the trailhead at the east end of Alces Lake (3.5 km) or from the Home Basin Campground (2.5km). Facilities include 6 graveled tent pads, 5 picnic tables, 2 pit toilets, several fire rings, and food storage lockers.
Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park is entirely first-come-first-serve, and does not offer reservations for camping. To occupy a campsite, it must be paid for with a living unit on site (tent/trailer/rv).
Due to its large size and remote location, this park often has first come first serve availability longer than most Provincial Parks in the East Kootenays, making it a safer option for camping without a reservation on long weekends.
Cave Creek Backcountry fees may be paid in advance, however this does not function as a reservation. These pre-payments can be made here:
Vehicle Accessible Campsites: Whiteswan has 104 first-come-first-serve campsites spread out between five campgrounds: Alces Lake, Packrat Point, Inlet Creek, Home Basin and White River Campgrounds. These campsites are good for tents, RVs or trailers.
Toilets: This park has several outhouses. There are no flush toilets.
Picnic Area: There are several picnic areas along each lake. Please be advised there are no pets, campfires or alcohol in the picnic areas.
Drinking Water: A water tap and/or hand-pumps are available providing potable drinking water. Water quality is tested every two weeks.
Campfires: Each campsite is equipped with a fire pit. Firewood can be purchased on site from the Park Operator.
Boat Launch: The park provides boat launches onto Alces and Whiteswan Lakes. As these are popular fishing lakes with the locals, we ask power boaters for consideration towards the smaller fishing vessels.
Sani-Station/Dump: A system for dumping, flushing and filling water tanks is available for RV’s. Although clearly signed, the second hose is for potable water. There is a fee for dumping and must be paid in exact coin.
Photo Courtesy of A Grzybowskii
Lussier Hot Springs
Things to Do
Hiking: The North Shore Trail is an 8 km stretch between Alces Lake campground to Home Basin campground. The trail can also be accessed from a trailhead at the east end of Alces Lake, approximately 2km by trail from the Alces Lake campground. Where the trail crosses Cave Creek, a short branch trail leads to the Cave Creek campground.
Biking: The campgrounds in Whiteswan are a series of un-paved loops (be cautious of vehicles) and the trails offer easy access for bicycles. Helmets are mandatory in BC!
Boating: There are boat launches onto both Alces and Whiteswan Lakes. Alces Lake is a regulated non-motorized boat lake. Because Whiteswan is very a very popular lake for fishing, we request that all powerboats show consideration for the smaller fishing vessels.
Fishing: Whiteswan is one of our two most popular fishing lakes in the Provincial Parks of the East Kootenays. A variety of trout species can be found here. This is also a very popular spot for ice fishing in winter.
Hotsprings: The Lussier Hot Springs are a popular, natural hot springs located near the entrance to the park. The pools are open year round, however in the winter the trail can be very icy. Please use extreme caution. There is no alcohol, pets or nudity permitted at the hot springs. Sometimes during May and June, if the river is running high, the springs are cool due to an influx of cold water.
Interpretive Programs: This park occasionally hosts interpretive programs. Information on upcoming programs is posted around the campgrounds.
Photo Courtesy of Alycia Grzybowskii
Photo Courtesy of Kelly Beresford
Key Rules to Know Before You Go
Camping Party Size: A camping party is 1-4 persons 16 years of age or older. Maximum party size is 8 persons (when including children under the age of 16). A camping party can have one vehicle and trailer, either one (but not both) may be an RV.
Extra Vehicles: A camping party may have a second vehicle (non-RV) on site for an additional nightly charge of half its camping fee. A towed vehicle and/or boat are not considered a second vehicle.
Check In/Check Out: Check in time is 1:00pm on scheduled date of arrival. Check out time is 11:00am. Late check outs may be permitted with prior approval from the Park Operator.
Pets: Pets are permitted on leash within the camping area. They are not permitted in the day use or picnic areas. Waste must be cleaned up and properly disposed of. Noise must be controlled.
Equipment: All tents, RVs, vehicles and equipment must remain on the gravel portion of the campsite to protect the ecological values of the park and preserve it for future users.
Quiet Time and Generators: Quiet time hours are 10:00pm-7:00am. Excessive noise is not permitted to enhance the enjoyment of all guests. Generator hours are 9am-11am and 6:00pm-8:00pm.
For more information on park rules and regulations, you may check out the BC Parks Website here: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/campingEthics.html
Campground Opening and Closing Dates
All campground opening, closing and charging dates are dependent on many factors (weather, water systems, etc.), as such they are approximate and may change without notice.
Things to do in the Area
Fort Steele Heritage Town: Hands down one of the coolest attractions in the East Kootenays, Fort Steele Heritage town is a destination for tourists from all over the world. Live theatre, old timey demonstrations and hands on activities are only a few of the reasons to visit this local gem. http://www.fortsteele.ca/
Kootenay Trout Hatchery: A great way to spend a sunny day, the trout hatchery offers live demonstrations, learn to fish programs, and live fish/turtle viewing. Feeding the fish is a popular activity. http://www.gofishbc.com/about-us/what-we-do/fish-hatcheries/kootenay-hatchery.aspx
City of Kimberley: Kimberley is an awesome little town with some wonderfully unique shops, restaurants and tons of activities. Well worth a day trip into town. http://www.kimberley.ca/community/things-do
Spirit Rock Climbing Center: Kimberley’s local indoor/outdoor climbing facility. Highly recommended by all who try it! http://www.spiritrockclimbing.com/
Golfing: Within an hours drive are a huge variety of top notch courses. Check out any of the links below for more information on only a few of the nearby courses:
Bootleg Gap Golf, Marysville: http://www.bootleggapgolf.com/
Trickle Creek, Kimberley: http://tricklecreek.com/
St. Eugenes, Cranbrook: http://steugene.ca/en/golf/#/gallery/popular
Fernie Golf and Country Club, Fernie: http://www.golffernie.com/
Farmers Markets: In Kimberley, Cranbrook and Baynes Lake there are three regularly scheduled Farmers Markets. Information on the Cranbrook Market can be found here: http://www.cranbrookfarmersmarket.com/