5 ways to enjoy the water in BC’s best-kept freshwater secrets

For many Canadians, summer is synonymous with freshwater lake time and fun in the sun! So if you’re looking for freshwater gems to cool down in, you’ve come to the right place. 

While British Columbia is scattered with crystal clear lakes and swimming holes, nowhere does freshwater like BC’s Land of Hidden Waters. 

Whether you want a chilled out day relaxing lakeside or an adrenaline-pumping water sport adventure, there’s no shortage of lakes to wade here. After all, there’s an old saying in this region – “fish [or paddle] a lake a day for every day you stay!”  

From swimming and paddling to rafting, boating, fishing, and waterfall chasing, here’s where you can get your feet wet within BC’s Land of Hidden Waters.

Lac Des Roches │ Holly Louwerse Photography

1. Sand + Swim + Paddle

The Lower North Thompson and Barriere 

What makes this area so enjoyable to visit is that it not only has an abundance of lakes to choose from but it’s typically far less busy than other BC regions! With crystal clear water that will make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean, visit Johnson Lake. Another one of our favourites is Adams Lake with its well-developed recreational sites and strong winds that are perfect for windsurfing. 

Johnson Lake │ Kelly Funk
Adams Lake Camping │ @ecoescape.travel

Wells Gray Provincial Park + Clearwater

If you’re an experienced paddler and looking for an off-the-beaten-path, multi-day adventure in Wells Gray, head to Murtle Lake, otherwise known as the largest “paddle only”, non-motorized lake in North America. Extremely remote, Murtle Lake is ringed with beautiful backcountry campsites that are well worth the effort to get to (visit Murtle Canoes for more information or to rent canoes). Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more chill-paced lakefront place to stay while adventuring in Wells Gray, book a night or two at Dutch Lake Resort and RV park where you can spend your days swimming, paddling and relaxing.

Dutch Lake Resort & RV Park │ @ecoescape.travel


The city and surrounding areas of Kamloops are a beach-goers and paddler’s paradise with over 100 lakes and rivers all within a one-hour drive. Looking for a full blown sandy beach day? Head to Pioneer Park, Overlander Beach Park, or Riverside Park. Or if you’re looking to paddle, Kamloops Lake, Paul Lake, Heffley Lake, McConnell Lake and Lac le Jeune are all noteworthy options. If you’re needing rentals, check out Paddle SurfitKamloops Water Sport Rentals or True Outdoors Kamloops

Paul Lake Provincial Park │ Justin Moore/Tourism Kamloops

2. Whitewater Rafting + Kayaking

Wells Gray Provincial Park + Clearwater 

The Clearwater River runs almost its entire course within Wells Gray Park and is the largest tributary of the North Thompson River. This incredible body of water is one of the best rivers to white water raft or kayak on in the province. Book your adrenaline-pumping experience with either Riverside Adventures, Liquid Lifestyles or Interior Whitewater Expeditions, you won’t regret it!

Clearwater River Rafting │ @ecoescape.travel

3. Boating + Watersports

The Lower North Thompson Valley & Barriere

As one of the largest lakes in the area, Adams Lake has no restrictions on motor size making it the perfect destination for boating and windsurfing. You can even scuba dive here, along with nearby Johnson Lake! North and East Barriere Lake, Heffley Lake, Bonaparte Lakes and Lac des Roches, are other places to live out your dream summer boat days! And as one day on the lake is never enough, we suggest booking a stay at Pinantan Lake Resort or Loon Bay Resort.

North and East Barriere Lake │ Holly Louwerse Photography


The Cariboo is home to some of the most lakes in the entire Land of Hidden Waters region – thousands in fact! Take Canim for example, a 37 km long lake that oozes a fun lake life atmosphere while still having plenty of space for peace and quiet. Choose from 3 lakeside accommodations, Rainbow Resort, Reynolds Resort and South Point Resort, all complete with boat rentals. Other options out here include Bridge Lake with Eagle Island Resort, Sheridan Lake with Sheridan Lake Resort and Loon Lake with Cabins on the Lake Resort, Evergreen Fishing Resort and Marigold Fishing Resort.

South Point Resort on Canim Lake │ @ecoescape.travel

Wells Gray Provincial Park + Clearwater 

Despite Wells Gray being more known for its paddling and whitewater experiences, Clearwater Lake Tours has been offering motorized boat tours, water taxis, and interpretive guided trips within the park for over 30 years. Due to the remoteness and size of the park, booking an excursion with them will add significant value to your trip, however, if you’re seeking a self-guided adventure, they also offer canoe, kayak, fishing, and camping gear rentals. 

Clearwater Lake Tours │ Holly Louwerse Photography


The city of Kamloops has multiple spots for boating and watersports, without the crowds of nearby well-known lake destinations. As the largest body of water in the area, Kamloops Lake is a must! Bruker Marina offers a large array of rentals including see-doos, pontoons, jet boats, fishing boats, paddleboards, kayaks, peddle boats and even a double-decker funship! And if you have your own toys, there’s also a launch available here as well as at the far west end of the lake in Savona. Along with Kamloops Lake, you can also go boating down the South Thompson River which runs right alongside downtown Kamloops. Use the boat launch at Pioneer Park (dog-friendly), McArthur Park or at a cement launch just off River Road in Valleyview. 

Bruker Marina on Kamloops Lake │ Mary Putnam/Tourism Kamloops

4. Fishing


This area is home to the world-famous ‘Fishing Highway’ (Highway 24). With hundreds of lakes plus cozy fishing lodges and guest ranches, this place is a fisher’s dream. Stop by the Little Fort Tackle Shop for local fishing insights and top-quality fly fishing tackle before heading out to Bridge Lake, Sheridan Lake, Watch Lake or Green Lake. Consider a stay at Caverhill Fly Fishing Lodge, Meadow Lake Fishing Camp, Rock Island Lake Fishing Camp or Birch Lake Fish Camp to get a head start on those early morning catches.

Fishing and tackle shop.
Little Fort Fly & Tackle │ Holly Louwerse Photography


With over 100 year-round stocked lakes that are all within a one-hour drive of the city, Kamloops is a fishing destination not to be slept on! Famous for its Rainbow Trout, Kamloops has something for everyone no matter if you’re new to the sport or a seasoned vet. Some of our favourite fishing lakes close by are Edith Lake, Monte Lake, Tunkwa Lake, Roche Lake and Jacko Lake. Visit Tourism Kamloops’ fishing page for more information.

McConnell Lake │ Peter Olsen/Tourism Kamloops

Insider tip: Whether it’s your first time or you’re an experienced angler, booking with a fishing guide or outfitter can add immense value to your experience as you’ll learn of (even more) hidden spots and local tips. Visit our Fishing page to learn more.

5. Waterfall Chasing

Wells Gray Provincial Park + Clearwater

With 41+ named and unnamed waterfalls, it would be impossible for us to mention all of the waterfalls you should visit within Wells Gray. That being said, 3 of our favourites that allow you to get close enough to swim or stand behind are Moul Falls, Silvertip Falls and Rainbow Falls. While those first two are accessible by foot on a self-guided waterfall tour, access to Rainbow Falls is best achieved with the help of Clearwater Lake Tours. Join them on their Rainbow Falls Full Day Trip and enjoy an intimate tour of the park’s wildest waterfalls, rainforest, and wildlife. For an aerial view, join Wells Gray Air on their incredible Wings & Waterfalls tour. For further waterfall information visit our recent The 10+ Best Waterfalls in Wells Gray and on the way! article.

Moul Falls │ Holly Louwerse Photography


Despite not being as highly concentrated as within Wells Gray, Kamloops has many waterfalls within close proximity. Just minutes from downtown, you can be at the Peterson Creek Nature Park Falls or a short drive north will bring you to Jamieson Creek Falls and Whitecroft Falls hikes. 

There you have it, 5 ways to enjoy the freshwater secrets of BC’s Land of Hidden Waters! Explore more of what this region has to offer in our Things to Do and Places to Stay pages. As always, please be sure to practice safe, respectful, and responsible travel while visiting. 


© 2024 Land of Hidden Waters. All Rights Reserved.

Handcrafted by Eco Escape Travel & BLKWTR.

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