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Champion Lakes Provincial Park
Attention Visitors – Important Notice!
Volunteer Host OpportunityVolunteer Host opportunities are available at Champion Lakes Provincial Park.
About This Park
Known as an ideal destination for family fun, Champion Lakes Provincial Park with its three lakes offers an all-inclusive recreational package to visitors including fishing, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and swimming. There are 6.5 km of multi-use trails linking the lakes together. 3rd Lake, with its two day-use areas, is known for warm water and is popular with the local communities. Champion Lakes Golf and Country Club is a quick, 20 minute drive from the park.
Champion Lakes Provincial Park takes its name from the lakes and creek by that name and is located in the Selkirk Mountains, 18 km north west of Fruitvale. The special features of this park include the chain of picturesque small lakes, old growth forest and an example of forest succession.
Established Date: March 12, 1955
Park Size: 1,452 hectares
- Unusual diversity of vegetation from cedar/hemlock forest to Alpine spruce.
- Champion 3rd Lake is stocked with rainbow trout and is a host for Family Fishing Day in June.
Know Before You Go
- There is a sharp drop-off along the swimming area at the main day use beach. As the park is at the 1,067 metre elevation level, cooler temperatures and snowfalls can occur in May and September. Be prepared.
- Powered boats are not allowed on all three lakes.
- During the main camping season, there is a charge for second vehicles parked on campsites overnight. For more information, please see BC Parks’ camping party definition.
Location and Maps
Maps and Brochures
Nature and Culture
- History: In the early 1900s, the area belonged to The Columbia and Western Railway but reverted to the crown in 1919. During the 30s and 40s the local rod and gun club stocked the lakes and improved trails to allow access for recreational purposes. The park was established in 1955 and the lakes and creek are named for James W. Champion, an early settler and orchardist of the area. Champion Lakes Park lies in the Ktunaxa/Kinbasket, Okanagan and Sinixt first nation traditional territories.
- Conservation: Champion Lakes Park is located adjacent to the Bonnington Range of the Selkirk Mountains. This 1426 hectare park lies in the moist Interior cedar-hemlock biogeoclimatic zone, which accounts for the varied plant species that grow in some profusion in its well-developed lake-marsh-dry land successional sites. Conifers such as alpine fir and yellow pine, which do not normally grow in the same vicinity, may be seen in the park close together. The park also protects old growth forest. Flowers, trees and shrubs are part of the park’s natural heritage, please do not damage or remove them.
- Wildlife: This park supports a diverse population of small mammals such as squirrels, chipmunks and porcupines. Moose, deer and bears are occasionally observed. Birds are quite prevalent with nighthawks, woodpeckers, Canada jays, belted kingfishers, western tanagers and oregon junkos being the most common. Loons, mallards, widgeons and the great blue heron are more likely to be seen early in the season. In spring and fall, migrating waterfowl specifically Canada geese rest on the lakes during their journeys north and south. The park does support sites suitable for painted turtles.
Park users should always be aware of bears and other wildlife in our park environment. Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife. Please view all wildlife from a distance.
Activities Available at this Park
Rainbow trout have been stocked in the lakes. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence. Check the BC Fishing Regulations Synopsis for quotas and restrictions. Ice-fishing is allowed during the winter season.
Powered boats are not allowed on all three lakes.
A total of 6.5 km of gentle trails connects the lakes and encompass the second and third lakes. Facility development is concentrated around 3rd Lake. 2nd and 1st lakes remain in their natural states. There is also a trail that leads to a lookout. For your own safety and preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroy plant life and soil structure.
3rd Lake Loop trail follows the shoreline, is 1.5 km long, takes approximately 40 min to hike and is popular for travelling from Main beach to Campers beach.
2nd Lake Loop trail is the most popular trail and can be accessed from three locations. The parking lot of Campers beach day-use/picnic area, beside campsite #82 and from 2nd lake boat launch. The trail is approximately 2.5 km with a 45 min hiking time. This trail has several boardwalks, passes through old growth forest and offers scenic views of march grasslands. 2nd lake itself has shallow places covered in pond lilies with reed flats found in the marshy areas. For your relaxation a viewing area with bench can be found at the north end of the lake.
1st Lake Loop trail starts from the 2nd lake boat launch parking lot. It starts on 2nd lake trail then branches off and follows the creek between 2nd and 1st lake. It continues along the east shore of 1st lake and returns through the forest to your original starting point from the boat launch. Allow yourself 1 hour for the 2.5 km hike. This trail is the most serene of the three loops and in the fall offers spectacular fall colour when the larch turn yellow and begin to lose their needles.
Lookout Trail is approximately 750 metres with a moderate to steep grade. Depending how long you spend at the top it is a 40 – 60 minute round trip and offers picturesque views of the lakes below.
Western Painted Turtles of Champion Lakes. Be sure to take time to check out the new interpretive panels along the 3rd Champion Lake Road on the importance of conserving the Western Painted Turtles population at Champion Lakes. The panels were the result of a working partnership between Columbia Basin Trust, Wildsight, RAP Park Contracting, Pink Dog Designs and most importantly, the Salmo Elementary School. The goal of the program is to encourage better stewardship practices to follow while enjoying the local park.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has a fun, hands on, Learn to Fish Program that teaches basic angling skills to youth under 16 years old. Check back to this page or ask the Park Operator for information.
Pets on Leash
There are two beaches on 3rd Lake: Campers’ beach on the west end and the Main day-use beach on the east end. Main beach has the only buoyed wading area and swim float/wharf. Warm water and a combined 300 metres of compacted sand beaches provide excellent sunbathing and swimming opportunities.
Caution: There is a sharp drop-off at the Main beach. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
The Beaver Valley XC Ski Club maintains approximately 5km of set trails within the park throughout the winter months. These trails connect with a further 10 km of trails outside of the park.
Ice-fishing is allowed during the winter season.
Facilities Available at this Park
Launching sites for canoes, kayaks and cartop boats are located across from the picnic areas on the 3rd lake and near the westerly end of the 2nd lake. 3rd lake boat launch is a single launch site with a concrete plank ramp. It has a 15-vehicle boat/trailer parking area and vehicles/trailers can be left over night. 2nd Lake boat launch is a rustic, gravel single launch site with parking available above the site. The site can accommodate 15 vehicles/boat trailers. Due to its remoteness it is not recommended to leave vehicles/trailers overnight.
Powered boats are not allowed on all three lakes.
The shoreline along both boat launches is in its natural state and is therefore not developed for canoes, kayaks or boats to be beached overnight.
This park has two day-use/picnic areas on 3rd Lake called Main beach and Campers Beach. Fire pits and BBQ stands are not available.
Main Beach located on the south-west side of the lake near the park entrance is approximately 200 m long with compact sand, grassy areas and a small buoyed wading area. There are 30 picnic tables 25 m back from the water’s edge. A toilet /change house, enclosed shelter with heater, 2 pit toilets, water tap and group picnic area are located nearby. Parking for 180 vehicles is available.
Campers Beach is located on the south-east end of the lake. The turn-off for the access road is located in the campground beside campsite 91. A small parking lot can accommodate 20 vehicles. The beach is approximately 100 m long with compact sand. A large unmaintained grassy area makes up the majority of the day-use area. An adventure playground, set in sand with swing set, slide and monkey bars is nearby. Other facilities on site include 6 picnic tables, 2 pit toilets and a water tap.
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
The park has one campground situated between 3rd and 2nd lake. None of the sites are on the lakeshore but some have lake views with short access trails to the 3rd or 2nd lake loop trails. Champion Rd and Lake Rd form the outside loop with 2 inner Roads know as Centre and Theatre Road. The campground has 95 vehicle accessible sites, 13 of those are doubles. There are no pull through sites however the campground has an even mix of small to large sites and can accommodate large recreational vehicles. Approximately 10 of the vehicle accessible sites have tent pads with 8 sites designed for tenters only. All the sites are evenly spaced considered shaded and found amongst a predominantly mixed forest of fir, larch and pine.
There is limited parking available for extra vehicles in the larger sites. This park offers services during the peak season of May to October. Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available. Visitors can select any non-reserved site and staff will come to collect fees. Fees, hours of operations, and number of campsites.
A park gate is located at the park entrance and is closed between the hours of 11:00pm and 7:00am. There
are no pay phones in the park. The closest store is in Fruitvale 18 km west
on highway 3B.