Wells Gray Provincial Park: Murtle Lake
Attention Visitors – Important Notice!
- 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.
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.
Park Size: 6,900 hectare mid-section of Wells Gray Provincial Park’s 540,000 ha total
Know Before You Go
- Campsite locations should be chosen with care. Tents and canoes should be placed a safe distance from potential deadfall. Use extra caution when choosing campsites in windy conditions.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wells Gray Trail Report [PDF] (January 7, 2019)
- 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 the receipt and retain for presentation to Park Operator or Ranger to confirm payment.
- 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.
Location and MapsMurtle 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 BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
- Murtle Lake Brochure and Map [PDF] (Updated August 2008)
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.
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park
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.
Pit or Flush Toilets
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.