Whitetail Lake east of Canal Flats, B.C. in the Rockies

by Kathy
(Castlegar, B.C. Canada)

Viewing Whitetail Lk from incoming dirt road

Viewing Whitetail Lk from incoming dirt road

If you are heading to the Rockies in the east Kootenays check out Whitetail Lake. 22 miles/35 km west of Canal Flats, B.C. via the Findlay Creek Road. As you approach the lake you'll notice spectacular shades of green waters the first time it can be spotted from the dirt road leading to it. This clear water lake is stunning. Surrounded by forest and loons, ducks and other bird species makes it a pleasure to tune it to the outdoors. Once you've accessed the dirt road from the highway, It takes 30 minutes driving uphill on a wide but washboard dirt road—so worth it—campsites full.

NOTE: Since the spring of 2015, hillside on the east side of the lake has gone through early stages of development by 20 shareholders (now privately owned). No one knows what the development plans are for now although one can clearly see roads and land clearing behind a thin layer of trees at the waters edge…hmmm…maybe not a best kept secret anyone.

The west side was developed by the Forest Service 16 years ago. 23 campsites (most of them at waters edge) nicely done and nicely kept. First come, first serve. There used to be 2 visitor lodges at the north end of the lake owned by 3 brothers. One lodge burnt down in 2015. Rumour has it this cabin business will not start up again.

The campsites provide easy access for paddlers and boats. From end to end the lake is 4 km long with varying widths and varying depths. 4/5 of the lake is shallow enough to see bottom. For .5 km at the south end the water measures anywhere from 1 ft. - 3 ft. — the fishers do not bring their boats here. Fortunately for paddlers there aren't any areas out of bounds.

Expect all kinds of weather conditions changing in a single day. Temperatures can vary 10 degrees within minutes...rain then sun then wind then both sun and wind. Wearing layers does the trick. Each day on the water was unpredictable. We were told by the camp host (Jessica) that this is normal.

This lake is well known by the avid fisher and paddlers too! And if you’re lucky you can watch the local para-gliders club members take off from the mountains on the west side. If you enjoy paddling in remote locations, Whitetail Lake may be for you. http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/explore/rockies/kootenay/whitetail.htm

Comments for Whitetail Lake east of Canal Flats, B.C. in the Rockies

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Aug 22, 2016
by: Kathy

Yes! People swim at this lake. The lake floor is a fine silt. If you choose to stand, the floor of the lake is very soft and you'll actually sink a bit. Standing will "puff" the silt upwards although it settles again fairly quick. There are private docks but no actual beach front and people do swim in front of their camp sites when the water warms up in the summer. Having said that, people travel to Whitetail Lake more for fishing and paddling.

Aug 18, 2016
by: Anonymous

Is the lake swimmable? As in warm and Clean. Thanks!

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