We spent a week here at the beginning of July and managed to survive one of the hottest camping trips we've ever taken with 35+ degree weather the whole time. Fortunately we were camped at Surveyors Lake Campground which has a beautiful lake with two beaches for cooling off in.
|Surveyors Lake, Kikomun Creek Provincial Park|
Top 5 Things We LOVE about Surveyors Lake
We Love Swimming and Paddling with Turtles
We love taking our kayaks and my stand up paddleboard out on the water at Surveyors Lake in search of painted turtles. The water is full of them and they are fun to spot swimming alongside your boat. And if you don't see any turtles in Surveyors Lake, you're guaranteed to see them in Engineers Lake which is connected to Surveyors by a small channel.
|Paddling on Engineers Lake|
|Turtle swimming beside my board|
|Peaceful paddling on Engineers Lake|
It's a fun little paddle over to Engineers Lake in search of turtles as you navigate logs and the pedestrian bridge that you must duck under to get between the two lakes. It's especially tricky on a SUP board but manageable most of the time.
|Paddling under the bridge between Surveyors and Engineers Lakes|
|Not a lot of room to get under this cute little bridge|
|Somehow I can get my board under the bridge to reach Engineers Lake|
|How low will I have to go to get under this thing??|
|Here's where you don't want a very wide boat!|
And if you still haven't seen enough turtles, you can take a walk around Hidden Lake in the morning to see dozens of turtles sunning themselves on logs surrounding the lake shore.
|Turtles sunning themselves at Hidden Lake|
The kids in our group also had a lot of fun fishing for crayfish in the shallow water of Surveyors Lake using a net and a couple of sand buckets. I'm sure they could have done this for hours!!
|Searching for crayfish in Surveyors Lake|
|Cute little critters aren't they? (blah!)|
Don't have space to bring boats with you? You can rent them right on the Campers Beach at Surveyors Lake.
We love that there are No Motor Boats on Surveyors Lake
This is the second reason we love Surveyors Lake. The lack of motor boats on both Surveyors and Engineers Lakes means that children can learn to paddle and swim without fear of them getting hit by some out of control speed boat. It's also peaceful and serene at the lake, and you can float out into the middle of the lake on an air mattress or tube if you want. This is the perfect place for families to play! Meanwhile, those who want to go water skiing or wake-boarding can go to nearby Lake Koocanusa which definitely allows motor boats.
|Safe paddling on Surveyors Lake|
|Nearby Lake Koocanusa is great for families with motor boats|
We love the Dock for Jumping at the Day Use Beach!
My child loves swimming but if there's no dock, it's just not as much fun! Jumping off of docks and wooden platforms in lakes is a classic experience all kids should have while growing up. Fortunately, at Surveyors Lake, you can do it for hours every day! We especially loved going down to the lake in the evening to play on the dock before bed. The beach was quieter and the sun not as strong.
|Hours of fun jumping off the dock at the day use beach|
There are Awesome Bike Trails around Camp
We love biking on the Great Northern Rail Trail in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park and this year we discovered how fun it was biking around the lake on the Surveyors Lake hiking trail. While not an official biking trail, it definitely had a few exciting moments and one of us came close to falling in the lake. (yeah, me.)
|Biking on the Great Northern Rail Trail in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park|
|The beautiful trail between junctions 1 and 3 on the map below|
|The Kikomun Creek Biking/Hiking Map|
If you follow the map above, the loop from #1 to #7 is about 7km in length and is great for introductory mountain biking. Our personal direction of choice is to go backwards from 1 to 7, down to 6, etc. And when you get to the country gravel road, that is what you will follow to connect #6 to #5. The biking along the road is actually quite pleasant.
There's a short steep hill that you'll probably have to walk up at junction #5 (unless you are coming down this part) and then it's flat easy riding along the old rail bed to junctions #3 and 4. At junction #3, we go left rather than take the trail between Stink and Fisher Lakes. It avoids a big hill climb and is very pretty through what resembles an old growth forest. (see photo above with the bridge.)
|Biking around Surveyors Lake (this is the bridge we were paddling under)|
|Single track mountain biking around Surveyors Lake|
We like the Proximity of Surveyors Lake to Fernie for biking, hiking and paddling
While you could stay at Surveyors Lake for a week without running out of activities to do, we like to explore the area around Fernie so chose to leave camp three times for biking, hiking at Fernie Alpine Resort, and for paddling on the Elk River between the two bridges in town.
|Paddling the Elk River in Fernie|
Regardless of what you choose to do, there is no shortage of activities near camp.
|Hiking at Fernie Alpine Resort|
|Mountain biking in Fernie|
For more information on biking in Fernie, follow this link to the Best Family Bike Trails in Fernie.
To read about our big hike at Fernie Alpine Resort, follow this link to First Summits - Polar Peak, Fernie Alpine Resort.
To read about our previous trip to Surveyors Lake, check out this story: Camping in British Columbia: Kikomun Creek Provincial Park.
|Playing at the Fernie Bike Park beside the town aquatic centre|
The few "constructive" pieces of criticism we have about Surveyors Lake
I'd love to see BC Parks invest in creating some power loops in their campgrounds like we have in many Alberta provincial park campgrounds. Then, those who want air conditioning can have it, and those of us who want peace and quiet will not have to listen to generators running for two solid hours every evening while cooking and hanging out at our site.
No "attack" specifically against generators, but have you noticed how they are always set up on the opposite side of a trailer (away from the occupants of the trailer, but right up against the neighboring site?) - I've noticed this too. And unfortunately, the hours that generators are allowed to run coincide with the same hours that most people are at their sites in the morning and evening (meaning, if I want to cook breakfast or dinner at a normal time, I have no choice but to listen to your loud generator.)
|Camping should be peaceful|
Second, The campground needs more patrolling by the park staff. On our recent visit, generators were running well past the cut off hours, music was blasting past quiet time hours, and there were sites that had two trailers, a tent (or two), a boat, and 20 people on them. Try driving past one of these sites and you can't even get your vehicle through! Not to mention the noise generated by such large groups sharing one site.
In our week camping here, we never once saw a parks vehicle drive past our site. And when I went to the front gate one night to seek out help, I was told I would have to flag down the official parks truck driving around. Good luck on that!!
|Big plus for the campground - everybody drove very slowly and kids could play anywhere|
Surveyors Lake in a Nut Shell
This is a great adventure base camp for active families who want to spend a week camping, biking, hiking, paddling and swimming. Just don't expect the campground to be quiet. Surveyors Lake has a "lively atmosphere" to it and you just have to accept this when you make your reservation.
To make reservations, visit the BC Parks Reservation Service.