Situated in the Okanagan Valley, Mabel Lake Provincial Park has become one of the best tourist destinations in Canada, not only because of the vast area available for camping but also because it offers the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.
If you plan to spend your next vacation camping in the park, read ahead to find out what you should keep in mind while planning your trip.
If you are planning on delving into the world of backcountry camping, then Mabel Lake and Waterton are the spots you must check out.
About the Park
April to October is regarded as the peak season in Provincial Park. If you intend to visit during this season, make sure to make reservations beforehand (you would want to avoid the peak tourist rush!).
Luckily, the park accepts reservations all year long. Further availability information can be checked on this website.
Make sure to check in between 1 PM and 11 PM and check out by 11 AM. The park gates are locked from 11 PM to 7 AM every day.
The park also has ample space to park, so you need not fret about your vehicle while holidaying here. Surrounded by a beautiful mountain setting, Mabel Lake Provincial Park offers a quiet retreat into the arms of nature.
The Shuswap River system is the primary source of Mabel Lake. Some signs in Lumby that turn north onto Mabel Lake road trailing the Shuswap River through a beautiful scenery of estates and farmlands, will guide you to Mabel Lake and the campsite.
Mabel lake provincial park was established way back on December 21, 1972. The lake gets its name from the daughter of a Hudson’s Bay Company manager, Mabel Charles, during the late nineteenth century. The park measures around 193 hectares.
Both campsites and group sites can be booked via reservations. In case campsites are not available for reservation, then they are issued on a first come first serve basis.
The entrance to the group camping area of Mabel lake provincial park is through the Monashee Campground. It offers great privacy because it is well separated by the forest, and Taylor Creek flows beside it.
1. Location Details of the Park
Mabel Lake Provincial Park is located in the southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada, to the west of the Monashee Mountains.
The main gate at the park entrance is closed during the operating system to make sure to check the accessibility status of the park before visiting.
There is an open gravel parking area right next to the 80-square-meter wooded picnic shelter for group camping.
The picnic shelter is complete with picnic tables and a large fire pit. Approximately ten tents can be put up in an open grassy plot of land nearby.
An adjacent gravel area can be made use of by putting up 10 more tents or parking recreational vehicles. Double quantity of both taps and flush toilets complete the setup of the group camping area.
The lake happens to be cold all year round since it is fed by glaciers. The warmest temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius is usually recorded around August.
The temperature can be warm but is never extreme, making it the ideal location for recharging.
3. Attractions of the Park
This park happens to be the perfect spot for water activities as well – such as fishing, swimming, boating and so many more.
You need not worry about rations since you will find a small but well-packed convenience store near the boating area to satisfy all your needs. Picnic tables will also be available for every group.
The park also has an adventure playground that can keep your kids occupied. An attraction of the picnic tables is that they offer a perfect view of the adventure playground so that you can keep an eye on your children while relaxing.
There are two flush toilets and a tap next to the playground. There are a combined nine cold water faucets in the park, each situated in the campground, group site as well as parking locations.
4. Water Activities at Mabel Lake Provincial Park
Can’t go to the seaside for vacation? No worries, Mabel Lake offers a similar pleasure. The park offers the perfect spot for swimming with its vast sandy beach.
Experience the comfort of sunbathing on the soft, warm sands of the beach in fine weather.
If you want to catch some marvellous trout, then make sure to go fishing in Mable Lake around the summer season.
Maple Lake includes a wide variety of trout and salmon, such as Rainbow Trout, Lake Trout, Chinook Salmon, and Kokanee.
The lake is known to be one of the best spots for some wonderful salmon during the late summer season.
Salmon fishing is an incredible prospect for fishing enthusiasts because only the salmon caught at Mabel Lake qualifies for local fishing derbies.
Mabel Lake is known as a “fisherman’s destination park” for these reasons.
Next to the Mabel Lake Marina, at the southern border, there is a gently sloping concrete boat launch into the lake.
You can enjoy your time in the boats by going paddling, kayaking, or canoeing. Pay attention to the weather report before you venture into the lake on your boat, and take necessary precautions if the weather turns bad.
Mabel Lake has a good area for swimming. You can warm up or dry off on the fine sandy beaches.
The beach next to the Monashee campground is smaller and the sand is coarser but it is still a good spot for swimming.
The two zones can be differentiated by the markers but the beach does not have any lifeguards.
5. Different Activities to Do in the Park
There is a 1 km gravel road for hiking through the shaded forest between the campsites and the main road which takes around 30 minutes.
The hike is not too steep, it is more of a relaxing walk amidst the rainforest of western red cedar, hemlock, and some Douglas fir.
Mabel lake provincial park offers a great spot for cycling along the roadways. Cyclists must wear helmets in British Columbia. E-bikes are not allowed on the trails of the park.
(c) Picnic Shelters
Areas for picnicking in the mark range from Trinity Campground to the boat launch. The wide and spacious lawns in the picnic area provide the chance to carry out various fun activities and games.
A row of cottonwood trees separates the lawn from the beach and 10 picnic tables are placed under the shade of those trees.
There are 5 more tables with 3 fire rings near the boat launch equally surrounded by lush greenery. The pebbled parking area has 45 spaces.
There are also two washrooms and a faucet placed close to the parking area. The water for the taps is collected from a well. Taps remain shut off during the off-season.
The fauna of the park consists of squirrels, which will visit campsites occasionally.
You can also spot painted turtles at Taylor Creek. Mable Lake is also home to a large variety of birds as well as waterfowl. And if your luck is at play, then you might spot a moose, deer, or a even black bear.
7. Facilities at Hand
Group sites include perks such as picnic shelters with several tables, a water tap, fire rings, an open grassy lawn for pitching tents and other activities, two flush toilets, and even beach access.
Cold water for cooking and drinking can be easily availed from taps throughout the park. Firewood for the campfire can be easily purchased from the park host.
The campers are requested to not leave their waste behind. There are dustbins and garbage dumps located evenly around the campsite to make it convenient for the campers to get rid of their debris properly and not leave it lying around.
The park has two types of toilets, flush ones – of which there are 16 and pit ones of which there are 2.
The three available campgrounds are Trinity, Monashee, and Taylor Creek. The paths in Trinity Campground are single-lane and pebbled.
If you are driving into the Mabel lake provincial park, then this is the first campground you will come across.
Even though fires are permitted, and fire rings are there at each site, Mabel lake provincial park requests tourists to preserve wood as much as possible and utilize stoves instead to save the surroundings by limiting exposure to fire.
Trinity Campground is located amidst a thick forest of cedar and hemlock, providing ample shade and privacy, and the forest floor is covered in moss.
The campgrounds are separated by open grassy areas, and a trail runs through them. The sites consist of gravel spurs of all sizes that have been levelled.
It might pose a difficulty to park large RVs because of the abundance of trees.
Eight double sites are present in the Monashee campground. These sites are slightly smaller in size compared to the ones in the other campgrounds. But the woodlands in this area are much deeper.
There are also more double sites, but these are smaller too but perfect for camping trucks. The roads are gravelled as well.
The Taylor Creek campground is the furthest from the lake and is also the smallest of the three campgrounds.
It is well-shaded under the canopy of the forest. Campsite rates are 65 dollars per night and 455 dollars per week. It is 575 dollars for a basic RV site and 625 dollars for a standard RV site.
Important Things to Know
There is no cell service in Mabel Lake provincial park, but if you own a cell booster then you can get a network near Lumby.
You can buy firewood in the park itself or you may even carry firewood with you. The price of the firewood is determined by the area, thus it can differ from one park to another. Take Highway 6 east from Vernon to Lumby to reach the park.
Another drawback of the park is that it is non-wheelchair accessible. Since the roadways are not paved, the rough terrain is unfortunately not wheelchair friendly.
Wheelchair-bound people can’t access the beach either, because of its sloping nature. Finally, there are no showers available at this park either.
Since the availability of the park is decided by the melting of the glaciers, the timings always remain subject to change.
The park might also have to limit campfire burning hours or ban campfires altogether depending on circumstances.
The park only accepts payments in cash. It is an offense to collect firewood from around the park, if you are caught doing that you will have to pay a fine.
The park aims at preserving the vegetation of the area, thus, it is very strict when it comes to taking action against the defaulters.
There are a total of 114 campsites that can be reserved, and all of them are accessible by car. A part of the beach has been assigned for the pet dogs of the campers, it is situated in the middle of the boat launch area and the swimming area.
Pets are permitted everywhere in the park but they must be on a leash constantly. Please note that you must be responsible for your pet’s behavior if you are taking them along. There is a chance of dogs getting excited by the wildlife.
If you wish to take a stroll along the beach, then you need to follow the route from the boat launch to Taylor Creek. Since 3rd January 2023, BC Parks Reservation Service started a 4-month prolonged reservation portal for front-country and backcountry booking.
You can book for up to May 2023. If you want to book picnic shelters or group sites, you cannot do that through the reservation portal. If you want to attend the Mabel Lake Fishing Derby, then this would be the perfect opportunity.
Mabel Lake is prone to sudden changes in weather, so boaters are cautioned to take shelter in the bays along the shore in case of gusty winds.
There is a steep drop in the bottom of the lake, the tourists are requested to be careful. It is advised to not disturb any of the flora or fauna of the park.
Are you planning to enjoy the beauty of Mabel Lake provincial park? Hope this article was able to acknowledge any query you might have had in your mind.