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

Blackwell Park Operations Ltd
E-mail: info@explorewellsgray.com
Phone: 250 674-2194
Click here to view a non-government website for additional information.

Murtle Lake

As of August 30, 2010:

Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation:

    As a result of the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation there are numerous dead trees in the Marine camping areas of Murtle Lake. While efforts are ongoing to remove many of the tree hazards at these campsites, we still require you to do your part. When choosing a site please take time to look at the trees and their condition.

    Campsite locations should be chosen with care. Tents and Canoes should be placed a safe distance from potential deadfall. Use extra caution choosing campsites in windy conditions.
Overnight visitors can pay at the lagoon with a self-registration system. Cash is the preferred method of payment. Deposit cash in the envelope, fill out the information and place in vault located at the lagoon. Please detach receipt and retain for presentation to Park Operator or Ranger to confirm payment.

Click here for the latest Trail Report.

About This Park

Murtle Lake is world-famous as the largest canoe-only lake in North America. Set in a pristine mountain valley, the north and west arms are approximately 20 km long, and the lake averages three kilometres wide.

Return to the Wells Gray Provincial Park web page.

Park Size: 6,900 hectare mid-section of Wells Gray Park's 540,000 ha total

Special Notes:
  • The Park Operator has emergency communication and a satellite phone link located in the Ranger Cabin on the south shore of Murtle Lake. The nearest public telephone is located at Blue River Campground and RV Park, 27 km from the Murtle Lake parking area.
  • No internal combustion engines or electric motors, no pets, and no firearms are allowed.
  • No overnight use and no campfires are allowed on Fairyslipper Island.
  • No dogs or pets are allowed at Murtle Lake.
  • The use of bear proof food caches is mandatory.

Stay Safe:

  • Boil or otherwise purify lake or creek water to reduce risk of Giardia lamblia (beaver fever).
  • The outlet of Murtle Lake is the swift-flowing and dangerous Murtle River, noted for its many waterfalls. Visitors wishing to hike to McDougall Falls must use caution in Diamond Lagoon.
  • Murtle Lake is a large lake and subject to gusts of strong wind. The lake often becomes choppy in the afternoon. If moving camp it is best to do so in the forenoon. Never try to out-run a storm; beach at the first available opportunity and wait out bad weather.
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Location and Maps

Murtle Lake is accessed off highway #5 at Blue River. Drive 27 km west on a winding, narrow, gravel road to the parking lot. From there, a 2.5 km level trail (canoe-cart accessible) leads to the canoe launch.

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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Nature and Culture

  • History - Established November 28, 1939, the Park was named for the Honourable Arthur Wellsley Gray, Minister of Lands for British Columbia from 1933 to 1941. Murtle Lake was named by Joseph Hunter of the Canadian Pacific Railway survey crew in 1874, for his hometown in Scotland.
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Management Planning

Management Planning Information
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Activities Available at this Park

Canoeing

Canoeing

Only canoes and kayaks are allowed at Murtle Lake. A canoe launch is provided at the lagoon, 2.5 km from the parking lot.
Fishing

Fishing

Murtle is noted for rainbow and kokanee trout. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Hiking

Hiking

Trailheads are water-accessible only, and are marked by signs. Trails lead to small lakes, alpine wilderness, and McDougall Falls on the Murtle River. 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. Click here for more trail information and trail conditions and updates will be posted on the main page under the Attention Visitor Notice.
Swimming

Swimming

There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks. Murtle Lake is glacier-fed, and the water is icy cold.
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Facilities Available at this Park

Campfires

Campfires

While campfires are allowed and campfire rings are provided at each campsite, we encourage visitors to conserve wood and protect the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using campstoves instead. Firewood can be purchased in the park or you may bring your own wood.
Fees for firewood are set locally and may vary from park to park. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don't gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil.
Picnic Areas

Picnic Areas

No day-use or picnic facilities; although some day-use visitors walk the additional 1.5 km past the canoe launch to a sandy beach on the lakeshore.
Pit or Flush Toilets

Pit or Flush Toilets

This park only has pit toilets - no flush toilets.
Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

There are 69 wilderness/canoe-in tenting sites at 20 locations along the lakeshore. (No vehicle access to lakeshore.) Camping is in designated sites only. No overnight camping on Fairyslipper Island. New permit system for Murtle Lake: Overnight visitors can now pay at the lagoon with a self-registration system. Cash is the preferred method of payment. Deposit cash in the envelope, fill out the information and place in vault located at the lagoon. Please detach receipt and retain for presentation to Park Operator or Ranger to confirm payment.
Backcountry Camping Fee: $5.00 per person / night for all persons 6 years of age or older.
Wheelchair Access

Wheelchair Access

Some facilities in the park are wheelchair accessible.