Whether fishing, boating, swimming or rafting — if the plan is to get out on the water this summer there is no better place to play than Valemount, BC.
Water, water everywhere
When you traipse through Valemount’s backyard, every hike is rewarded by at least one creek or river, a lake and an unexpected waterfall. Look up to the mountain ranges that surround us — the Cariboo and Monashee ranges and the Canadian Rockies — and give thanks for the water that pours down off these slopes. This is what feeds our creeks and streams; these mountains bring life to the valley and we’re more than happy to drink it up. Lakes for swimming, paddle-boarding, private fishing holes, any number of meandering channels to explore — it’s all right here, but to see it all you’ll have to stay awhile. Heck, you might like it so much you just move right in.
A river runs through it
From its headwaters in Mount Robson Provincial Park, the mighty Fraser begins its epic 1,375 km (855 mi) Pacific journey near Valemount — it’s why we came to be here, and the river continues to shape our existence to this day. In late summer come cheer on our heroic Chinook salmon as they complete the unbelievable upstream journey back to their spawning grounds. There are only two true waterfalls on the Fraser and we’re home to them both. Bring your camera and watch in awe as torrents spill over Overlander and Rearguard Falls.
Scream, shout or just laugh hysterically — no one will hear you over the roar of the river, and even if they did, they’d be too busy doing the same to care. White-water rafting has been compared to riding a roller coaster, but that doesn’t do it justice. Out here, the track is the river, the turns and dips are not engineered, but laid down by Mother Nature who strategically placed these boulders in your path. High five strangers after completing a circuit of insane rapids — everything from easy Class I to wild Class III — then take a deep breath and get ready for more. Two hours will feel like 10 minutes out here. If you’re looking for even bigger thrills then give the Beaver River a go. The Beaver offers the only Class IV rapids in the region which means those rapids are big, they’re gnarly, they’re technical and they’re fast. With more than 15 named rapids on this run, it is considered a must-ride for adrenaline seekers who are forced to navigate Beaver Falls before coming to a rest.
Boat or float, fish or swim Kinbasket
In the Robson Valley, our blue skies stretch for miles, and so do our waterways. Push off, drift away, and let the warmth of the summer day on Kinbasket imprint itself into your memory. A geographical marvel created by the construction of the Mica Dam, the lake seems as endless as the mountain ranges on either side. Kinbasket stretches from Columbia Reach to the south near Revelstoke, and Canoe Reach in the north near Valemount; it’s so large you’ll want to set up camp here. Choose Horse Creek Recreation Site to be close to the Valemount Marina or Yellowjacket Creek. From there, adventure awaits. Launch a canoe and spend the day paddling along the shoreline, or walk along the rocky shore until you come across a nice sandy beach. Unpack a picnic, take a chilly plunge and marvel at the views of Canoe Mountain as you laze the day away. Fish on the mind? Kinbasket is full of them. Toss in a line and you’ll be rewarded when the rainbow and bull trout begin to bite.
So many choices
The trouble isn’t finding a spot by the water’s edge, the problem is deciding which one to explore today. For boating, choose the boat launches at Moose Lake or Yellowhead Lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park or head to the marina at Kinbasket Lake. All offer great opportunities for fishing. If you plan on taking a plunge, however, there is no sweeter spot than Cranberry Lake within Cedarside Lake Regional Park, known for its sandy beach and deep blue skies. Up for a hike? Pack your fishing rod and set out for Little Lost Lake, it will be well worth the effort. If river fishing is on the agenda, head to Canoe River, which hosts whitefish and rainbow trout, but check in at the Visitor Centre for up to date restrictions. Shere Lake is 33km northwest of Valemount on the Croydon Forest Service Road. If you’re looking for fishing, this lake has good access for canoes, small aluminium boats and belly boats, and in the winter is great for ice-fishing as long as you’re aware of ice conditions. (Road access in winter can be limited.)