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Carp Lake Provincial Park
About This Park
Long famous for its rainbow trout, Carp Lake Provincial Park, just two hours north of Prince George and nearly in the exact centre of the province, offers some of the best fishing in the Central Interior. The park includes Carp Lake, nearby War Lake, numerous smaller lakes and streams, and the 8-kilometre waterway that connects Carp and War Lakes and forms the beginning of the McLeod River. The northern shoreline of Carp Lake has extensive sandy beaches with broad belts of sand extending up to 300 metres offshore. The sandy character of the north shore contrasts with the smooth-bouldered beaches broken by sand deltas on the spruce-forested south shore.
Two popular campgrounds offer a total of 102 fully maintained campsites. The main Carp Lake campground has a picnic shelter, horseshoe pits and an adventure playground to keep the kids busy. Carp Lake Park is rarely full, except on long weekends. Boaters and canoeists can choose among three island campsites that offer secluded camping after a day spent exploring and fishing the lake’s many bays and isolated stretches of shoreline. A short walk from the park’s second primary campground at War Lake brings visitors to War Falls, a spectacular cascade of water that comprises two distinct waterfalls separated by about 100 metres of rushing, white water.
Portions of the original aboriginal route to Fort McLeod have been developed into an exciting interpretive loop trail that departs from the main campground; this 3-km hike also provides access to Rainbow Lake and fine fly fishing on the McLeod River. Interpretive trail signs are located along the trail to first beach, McLeod River Trail and the War Falls Trail. These signs provide interesting information about the plants, animals and history of Carp Lake Provincial Park.
Established Date: May 18, 1973
Park Size: 38,149 ha
Know Before You Go
Power boating and canoeing are enjoyable and popular pastimes at Carp Lake, provided
reasonable care is practiced. The lake is subject to high winds
and consequent rough waters that can be responsible for swamping
the unwary. Watch the weather and always wear your lifejacket.
Powerboat operators are requested to please reduce speed in
Kettle Bay to prevent damage to boats and equipment and to
reduce erosion of the lakeshore.
Travelling on forest roads is somewhat different from travelling
on public highways. For your own safety, drive with extreme caution at
- Obey all road signs.
- Give logging and industrial traffic the right-of-way by moving to the nearest turnout or pulling off the travelled right-of-way as far as possible.
- Allow overtaking traffic to pass.
- Drive with lights on – especially under dusty conditions – to make yourself more visible.
- Park well off the travelled portion of the road if you must stop along the way.
- The weather pattern at Carp Lake is fairly typical of the north central region of the province. Summers are short and relatively cool, with July temperatures averaging 12-18°C. Evenings may see dramatic temperature drops. Winter comes early and blankets the area with snow. January temperatures usually hover between -12°C and -18°C. Annual precipitation is about 50 cm, of which about 40% is in the form of snow.
- Carp Lake Provincial Park is relatively isolated and supplies nothing but water and firewood. The nearest supplies are 32 kilometres away in the community of McLeod Lake.
- National Topographic Series Map 93J/14 (Carp Lake) at a scale of 1:50,000 covers the park area. This map is available from most map retailers in British Columbia.
Reservations are accepted at this park for the islands and Bert's Cabin only. All other sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Outside of reservable dates, all campsites are first-come first-served.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Maps and BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Activities Available at this Park
Pets on Leash
There are no viewing platforms in this park but there are bridges over wet areas with interpretive signs highlighting special features and items of interest, particular to the park. Abundant wildlife inhabits the park. Larger mammals such as black bears and deer are often seen. Moose frequently forage in the marshy areas about the lake and from time to time may be seen swimming to or from the islands. Waterfowl are prevalent during migratory and nesting periods. The haunting cry of the loon often echoes over the lake.
War Falls on the McLeod River, just downstream from the outlet of War Lake, are a scenic attraction easily accessible from the access road. The falls are comprised of two cascades separated by about 100 metres of rushing, white water. The upper falls are close to six metres in height and the lower falls are approximately 12 metres high.
There is the possibility of back-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter camping in the park. There are no services but camping is possible under the picnic shelter which has a large wood stove. In Prince George and Mackenzie, organized clubs have groomed a network of trails. Snowmobiling is allowed in the park and most visitors come to ice fish or sight see; remain on roads that are not plowed and snowmobile on the lakes. There are organized snowmobile clubs in Prince George and Mackenzie.
Carp Lake is popular for ice fishing as long as you have a snowmobile to travel to this lake; the main gate is left open during the winter months.
Facilities Available at this Park
There is a double concrete boat launch at the Carp Lake Campground that is capable of handling standard boat trailers, but caution should be exercised. After launching, trailers and towing vehicles must be returned to the campground or parking lot before going boating. There is a gravel car-top boat launch at War Lake. Power boating is an enjoyable and popular pastime at Carp Lake, provided reasonable care is practiced.
The lake is subject to high winds and consequent rough waters which can be responsible for swamping the unwary. Watch the weather and always wear your lifejacket. Powerboat operators are requested to please reduce speed in Kettle Bay to prevent damage to boats and equipment and to reduce erosion of the lakeshore.
Cabins / Huts
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
There are 102 campsites at this park available on a first-come, first-served basis. During the winter months, the main gate is left open. There are no services but camping is possible at the picnic shelter as it has a large wood stove.
War Lake – There are 12 campsites near the east end of War Lake. Not suited for long units. Water pumps, pit toilets, firewood and a car-top boat launch are provided.
Carp Lake – There are 90 sites at Kettle Bay. Will accommodate tents and most recreational vehicles. A playground, horseshoe pitches and picnic shelter are located within the campground. Running water, pit toilets and firewood are provided. Boaters and canoeists can choose among three island campsites that offer secluded camping.
Long stay campingFull Season. Please contact the Park Operator for information and to book one of these sites.
Boat-accessible camping is available with rudimentary facilities on Balsalm, Spirea, and White Spruce Islands, as well as at Bert's Cabin. No garbage facilities are available. Please bring your garbage back to the boat launch for disposal. These sites are user-maintained outside of the main camping season. Please leave your site as clean as you found it or cleaner. These sites are only accessible by boat and are available by reservation only through Discover Camping.
Bert's Cabin camping: Site includes one cabin and three tent pads.