Best Lakes in BC Canada

 Best Lakes in British Columbia, Canada

Garibaldi Lake

With turquoise blue water, Garibaldi Lake is surrounded by mountains, creating a dumbfounding view. Nestled in Garibaldi Provincial Park between Whistler and Squamish, it is one of the most spectacular lakes in British Columbia. You can simply sit here for hours and take in all the mesmerizing beauty.

However, one has to put a little bit of effort into getting to Garibaldi Lake. There is a hike of around 9 kilometers that needs to be done to reach the destination. Also, keep in mind that the Garibaldi Lake is glacier-fed, which makes it freezing cold. So, it is advised to not linger long in the water. 

Emerald Lake

Due to its vibrant green color, the Emerald Lake got its name. The lake gets its water from the glacial melt of the flanked mountains, and when it travels down, it takes the powdered rock flour that contributes to the lake’s striking emerald hue. With Rocky Mountain as a backdrop, Emerald Lake offers spectacular views.

Nestled in the Yoho National Park, the lake is encircled by a hiking trail that allows visitors to take in the beauty from all angles. One can even rent a rowboat or canoe to explore the lake from being out on the water. With some luck with rainbow trout and brook char, fishing is a popular activity here. 

Okanagan Lake

If you want to enjoy a day filled with fun water activities, then look no further than Okanagan Lake. With clean, warm water, Okanagan Lake draws thousands of visitors every year. From swimming, skiing, and snorkeling, to canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding, you can do everything on Okanagan Lake.

Situated in proximity to the town of Kelowna, people visiting Okanagan Lake can also explore nearby cities such as Vernon, Penticton, Peachland, and Summerland. With more than 30 beaches along the shores of the lake, there are plenty of options to make for a perfect summer day. 

Fun fact: There is a legend associated with Okanagan Lake. Many people believe that a giant sea monster called Ogopogo lives in the lake and has been spotted several times, over the years.

Berg Lake

Nestled in Mount Robson Provincial Park, the beauty of Berg Lake is mesmerizing. With Mt. Robson in the background of the blue-green glacial lake, Berg Lake is a must-visit lake in British Columbia. However, one has to put in a lot of legwork to get to this surreal location. The hike to reach the lake is a 21 km route (each side), which can be an issue for some. Considering the long stretch, beginners shouldn't hike to Berg Lake. 

Also, it is mandatory to possess a camping permit before heading on with a hike, and it must be arranged in advance. One can even witness Kinney Lake and magnificent Emperor Falls on their way to Berg Lake. 

Joffre Lake

Joffre Lake is a combination of three distinct lakes- Upper, Lower, and Middle Joffre Lakes. Located in Pemberton, BC, the lake requires some effort to access. One has to do a trek of around 5 kilometers (one side) to explore all three of them.

The Lower Joffre Lake is just a five-minute hike with a flat, gravel trail, easily accessible. The Middle Joffre is around three kilometers into the hiking trail, whereas to reach Upper Joffre, you have to do a hike of an additional two kilometers. Though all three lakes are ice cold and not swimmable, they still receive thousands of visitors every summer.

Eva Lake

Located in Mount Revelstoke National Park, Eva Lake is a delight to watch, especially in late summer when the colorful wildflowers are in full bloom. The radiant lake is encircled by trees, with magnificent mountains in the background. 

Accessing Eva Lake is quite easy. One can either hike (about 7km on one side) or take the shuttle from the parking lot. However, taking a hiking trail can be truly rewarding, as one can witness dense forest sections and plenty of meadows along with stunning views over the Columbia River.  

Lake O’Hara

Located in Yoho National Park, Lake O’Hara is considered a VIP spot, which makes it more alluring for tourists to experience this beauty in person. Only a limited number of visitors can access the lake on any given day via shuttle bus. And securing a seat on the bus is as uncertain as winning the lottery. Parks Canada has done this to preserve the wilderness and protect the ecology of the park, ensuring it remains in pristine condition for future generations.

Apart from the shuttle bus option, one can also choose to hike to get to Lake O’Hara. It is a long stretch of an 11 km hike (one side), but the rewards will be truly satisfying.

Cultus Lake

With just a 90-minute drive from Vancouver, Canada, you can reach Cultus Lake. It is one of the most kid-friendly lakes in BC. Some of the fun water activities that you can partake in on Cultus Lake include swimming, kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, water skiing, and fishing. You can also relax around the sandy beaches, explore local parks, go hiking, or enjoy golfing. All and all, there is so much to do.

Apart from its natural beauty, the pristine lake also features many popular attractions for people of all ages. The Cultus Lake Adventure Park, which is half theme park and half water park, offers a variety of rides.

Osoyoos Lake

Not only in British Columbia, but Osoyoos Lake is the warmest freshwater lake in all of Canada, making it perfect for swimming on a sunny day. In addition to swimming, one can also enjoy boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and many other water activities on Osoyoos Lake.

There are many beaches and parks along the shore worth exploring. One of the most popular beaches here is Gyro Beach. However, people who prefer a little isolated spot can head to Legion Beach.

Shuswap Lake

Located in the southern interior of BC, Shuswap Lake is just magnificent. Unlike most of the lakes mentioned in this blog, Shuswap Lake does not have ice-cold water, making it comfortable to swim throughout the summer months. The water here is much warmer than most of the lakes in British Columbia and Alberta.

Apart from swimming, Shuswap Lake is famous for house boating. One can rent a houseboat for a day or an extended duration to explore the lake and nearby beaches. One can also go fishing, water skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing in the lake.

Kootenay Lake

Located in the interiors of British Columbia, Kootenay Lake is one of the finest lakes in the province. This long and narrow lake offers a number of things to do both on and off the water.

On the water, one can swim, fish, sail, dive, water ski, kiteboard, or simply laze on a floating air mattress. Off the water, there are many provincial parks, hot springs, hiking trails, and beaches to explore. Adventure enthusiasts can also look for the treasures of the Selkirk and Monashee mountain peaks.

Harrison Lake

Encircled by towering mountains (Mt. Clarke, Mt. Breckenridge, and Grainger Peak) on three sides, Harrison Lake offers spectacular views with a hint of adventure. The 60 km long lake is perfect for a weekend getaway. 

The journey to Harrison Lake passes through the town of Harrison Hot Springs, which is famous for its sulfur-filled hot water and must visit. Here, one can also find one of the best sandy beaches in British Columbia.

Williston Lake

Being the largest lake in British Columbia, Williston Lake is also popular for being the best fishing lake in the province. A few of the fish that you might catch here include- lake trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, bull trout, northern pike, and kokanee. Many fishing camps around the lake also offer single-day fishing and longer excursions.

Visitors can even choose to stay here in either basic campsites, fully-furnished cottages, or rustic cabins. It is a perfect location for anyone who loves nature and wants to spend some time taking in all the scenery.