Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Activites and Facilities Available in this Park - Click icon to view
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park
Park Contact VaMi Services Ltd
Park Phone: 778 373-6107
Email: bowronlakepfo@xplornet.com
Web: www.bowronlakeinfo.com

Bowron Lake Provincial Park

Safety Advisory:
Navigating the Cariboo River section of the circuit requires extra care and attention. Paddlers must remain alert for sweepers, deadheads and other natural hazards at all times.

Click here for Current Park Conditions. [PDF]

Know Before You Go

Please read the Pre-trip Information Booklet [PDF 601KB] before reserving or visiting the park.

Special Regulations

Bowron Lake Park’s rules and regulations have been put in place to ensure the comfort and safety of park visitors and to reduce impacts on the park facilities and natural values from visitor use. The regulations are not optional and will be enforced.
  • Canoe Carts are permitted on the circuit, but to reduce damage to trails, the following restrictions apply:
    • Maximum axle width of canoe carts is 75 cm (30 inches). Wide track tires are recommended.
    • If using a cart, the weight of cargo in canoe must not exceed 28 kg (60 lbs.)  You must backpack all gear in excess of the 28 kg limit.
  • The number of people permitted to camp together in group sites is a maximum of 14 people. Anyone in excess of this allowable limit will be required to camp in available individual campsites separate from the group sites.
  • Both black and grizzly bears are found in Bowron Lake Provincial Park. Bear-proof caches are provided at designated campsites and must be used at all times. Read the Bear Safety Information.
  • Firearms, crossbows and bear bangers are prohibited in Bowron Lake Provincial Park. Pepper spray is permitted only if it is clearly labelled by the manufacturer “for bear use only.”
  • Portable stereos with external speakers are prohibited on the Bowron Lake canoe circuit.
  • Any person acting as a guide or offering guiding services in Bowron Lake Park must hold a valid Park Use Permit (Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation, Section 4).
Repeated violations or serious infractions may result in charges under the Park Act and/or eviction from the park. With up to 4,500 people travelling the canoe circuit each season, impacts on the park are considerable. Although you may not immediately see the effects of your actions, please keep in mind the cumulative effect of all the people who will visit the park this year.

Safety

  • The Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit is a wilderness area. Anyone planning to paddle the circuit should come to the park well prepared and with some canoeing experience. Read more about being prepared.
  • Bowron Lake is a multi-use recreational lake used by both motorized and non-motorized watercraft read and understand the Boating Code of Ethics for Bowron Lake. [PDF 15KB]
  • There are no cellular phone capabilities on the circuit. Six public two-way radios have been placed around the circuit for use in the event of an emergency only (see map). These radios are not for personal calls or requests for forgotten or broken equipment. Abuse of this equipment will result in prosecution. Visitors may bring their own registered communication system, but are not permitted to access the radio frequencies used by BC Parks. Telus radio phone transmissions can be received on the north and west sides of the park.

About This Park

Bowron Lake Provincial Park Bowron Lake Park is a large wilderness area situated on the western slopes of the Cariboo Mountain Range. The world-renowned Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit encompasses a 116 km chain of lakes, waterways and connecting portages. This wilderness canoe trip takes from 6 to 10 days to complete, depending on your time frame and skill level. For those looking for a shorter trip, the west side of the circuit can be paddled in 2 to 4 days. It is recommended that those who attempt the circuit have some wilderness canoeing experience.

The park has tremendous diversity in topography and vegetation. The rounded hilltops of the Quesnel Highlands on the west side of the circuit have a unique character quite different from the imposing Cariboo Mountains on the eastern and southern sections of the circuit. The park is a place of many moods, from bright sunshine and placid blue lakes to angry gray waters and torrential rains.

Bowron Lake Park also has a very pleasant 25 unit drive-in campground. The campground is located near the Registration Centre a short distance from Bowron Lake itself. There are also a few short walking trails nearby.

Increased park visitation during recent years has placed a great deal of pressure on the park’s resources. If we are to preserve the wilderness experience, it is up to each visitor to treat this special area with the respect it deserves.

Get information on the nearby community of Wells and local services.

Park Size: 149,207 hectares.

Bowron Lake Campground
All dates are subject to change without notice
Campground Opening and Closing Dates:
(campground is accessible but may not offer full services such as water, security, etc.)
May 15 – September 30
Campground Dates with Full Services and Fees: May 15 – September 30
Bowron Lake Campground Vehicle Accessible Campsites: 25
Campground Reservable Dates: May 15 – September 29
Number of Reservable Campsites, if applicable:
(all remaining sites are first-come, first-served)
9
Note: The above information is for the campground only. Park users can still walk into the park if conditions permit. Check the "Attention Visitor Notice" above for park alerts.
Canoe Circuit – Reservations Required
All dates are subject to change without notice
Canoe Circuit open: May 15 – September 30
Canoe Circuit Reservable Dates: May 15 – September 21
Number of Wilderness Campsites (canoe circuit only): 54

Reservations

All reservable, vehicle accessible campsites and the backcountry canoe circuit must be reserved through Discover Camping. Read about making reservations here. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.

Frontcountry Campsite Reservations:
Campsite reservations are accepted at this park and first-come, first-served sites are also available.

Reserve a site

Backcounty Canoe Circuit Reservations:
Reservations for the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit are accepted at this park. Click the link, below and in step 1. please select “Backcountry Bowron Lake” under Reservation Type.

Reserve a site

Parking for Circuit Users

Overnight parking for registered circuit travellers is provided near the Registration Centre free of charge.
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Location and Maps

Please note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation. Bowron Lake Park is located about 120 kilometres east of Quesnel. Drive north on Highway 97 through Quesnel, then follow signs onto Highway 26, which leads through Wells. Approximately 1km before the historic townsite of Barkerville, turn left onto the Bowron Lake Road. From there it’s another 27 km to the park entrance on a wide, well-graded dirt road where a 25 unit frontcountry campground and the 116 km wilderness canoe circuit are located.

National Topographic Series 1:50,000 maps of the park are available at most BC map retailers. While they may be of interest, they are not necessary for people attempting the Canoe Circuit, as the park map and brochure are sufficient for navigation. Relevant maps are 93H2, 93H3, and 93H6.

Maps and Brochures

Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
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Management Planning

Management Planning Information
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Activities Available at this Park

Canoeing

Canoeing

Canoeing and kayaking are by far the most popular activities in Bowron Lake Park. The Canoe Circuit is renowned world-wide, attracting many visitors from Europe, the United States and across Canada. Reserving a departure time for the Canoe Circuit is highly recommended since the number of canoes per day is restricted.

Please read the reservations information on this page.

To help plan your trip around the Circuit, here are more useful web pages:
Cycling

Cycling

Bicycles must keep to roadways. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Fishing

Fishing

The sport fish in the lakes and rivers on the circuit are bull trout, kokanee, rainbow trout and lake trout. Bring a variety of flies and lures. June and September have proven to be the best months for fishing. People can ice fish on Bowron Lake during the winter. Local lodges and stores at Bowron sell licences. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Hiking

Hiking

Portage trails link all the lakes and waterways of the Circuit, and provide safe routes around rapids and waterfalls. There are 10.8 km of portages in total. All the portages are built to a high standard and are smooth enough for canoe carts, provided weight and width limits are complied with (see additional information section below). During the rainy season, portage trails may become rugged and muddy making passage challenging in places.

Other than portages, there are only two developed trails in the park, which are all accessed from the Canoe Circuit. These are short trails to viewpoints of Cariboo River Falls and Hunter Lake.

Refer to the map in the brochure for exact distance and location of trails.

For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
Pets on Leash

Pets on Leash

Dogs and other domestic animals are not permitted on the Canoe Circuit.
Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.

Only in the vehicle accessible campground are pets permitted, but they must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement.
Swimming

Swimming

There are beautiful sandy beaches on many of the lakes on the Circuit. Swimming is a great way to ease tired paddling muscles. Although all the lakes are warm enough for bathing in the summer, you will find the lakes on the West Side warmer. These lakes are stream-fed, whereas the glaciers and snowfields of the Cariboo Mountains feed the east side lakes.

Please do not use soap (even biodegradable) for washing in the lakes. If you must wash with soap, do it at least 50 m (150 ft) inland from the lakeshore, and then deposit soapy water in the outhouse.

There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
Winter Recreation

Winter Recreation

The canoe portage trails can be used as crosscountry ski trails; however, there are no set tracks.
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Facilities Available at this Park

Boat Launch

Boat Launch

A gravel single-wide boat launch is located at the north end of Bowron Lake near the private lodges. Power boats are only permitted on Bowron Lake and are not allowed on the Bowron slough or other lakes in the park. However, Park Rangers do use power boats to travel throughout the canoe circuit.

There is a canoe landing dock at the main campground.
Cabins / Huts / Yurts

Cabins / Huts / Yurts

There are 6 cabins located throughout the circuit, that hold from 4 to 6 people. They are available throughout the summer and winter, there is no charge to stay in them and they must be shared. The cabins are for emergency use only and for drying out of equipment. They are not intended for camping. Refer to the map in the brochure for locations of the cabins. There are no lodges in the park for public use; however, there are two located near the park boundary on Bowron Lake.
Campfires

Campfires

Campfires are permitted. Paddlers of the Circuit must bring a portable stove for cooking. Some firewood is available at woodlots located around the Circuit; the Park Operator will inform paddlers of woodlot locations upon registration.
Drinking Water

Drinking Water

Cold water taps are located throughout the drive-in campground. Taps are shut off during the off-season. Out on the Canoe Circuit, you must use a reliable method of water purifaction, as no potable water is provided. Either boil drinking water for at least two minutes or use a commercial water filter effective against Giardia (beaver fever).
Group Camping

Group Camping

Group camping along the backcountry canoe circuit is available at this park. Only one group departure consisting of 7 to 14 people is permitted each day. Reservations are mandatory for groups. Get more information.
Pit or Flush Toilets

Pit or Flush Toilets

This park has only pit toilets – no flush toilets.
Vehicle Accessible Camping

Vehicle Accessible Camping

This park offers vehicle accessible campsites at the Bowron Lake Campground on a first-come, first-served basis - campsite reservations are also accepted. There are 25 sites at the campground consisting of 3 doubles sites and the rest being single sites of medium size. The sites are shaded and parking is available for extra vehicles. The closest store is Bear River Mercantile, located about 1 km away towards Bowron Lake. There is no payphone in the park.

If staff are not available when you arrive at the campground, choose your site and pay later. Staff will be at the campground at least once a day during the camping season.
Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $16.00 per party / night
BC Senior’s Rate (day after Labour Day to June 14 only): $8.00 per senior party/night. Read the User Fees Policy for information on Senior Camping Discounts.
Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Wilderness camping is allowed at camping areas spaced out around the Circuit. The size of the sites varies from two to eight tent pads. All sites provide bear food caches, outhouses and fire rings. Some feature picnic shelters or rustic cabins. Refer to the map in the brochure for exact locations. Get more information.