We all love to wind down at our favorite camping spot. As you arrive you can feel the stress drain from your body and mind. There is no better feeling than being able to get away from it all, kick back, put your feet up and just veg for a few days.
Before we retired and moved to the country camping was an issue. If we planned to camp near our home in the Vancouver area reservations were a must or arrive before the weekend. Otherwise no spots could be found.
Now however since we live in the mountains of south central BC we are blessed with many camping opportunities as well as a multitude of outdoor activities, and there is always room when we arrive.
Missezula Lake is our home in southern BC, 25 miles north of Princeton. The town of Princeton with a population of 3500 is small but supplies us with the necessities. Shopping is limited so mail order, online shopping or a trip to a larger town several hours away may be necessary from time to time.
Princeton originally named Vermilion Forks and then changed to Prince Town to commemorate the visit of British monarch Prince George in 1939. The name eventually evolved to Princeton.
Back in the day Princeton was a center of commerce for gold & coal mining, and on the route of the Kettle Valley Railroad a now extinct path for the shipment of high grade coal destined for Europe.
The KVR is now part of the trans Canada Trail a 300 mile long railway bed snaking through the Okanagan area. It is used by ATVs, snowmobilers bicycles, horse back riding and many other outdoor enthusiasts.
Nestled in the Similkameen River Valley, Princeton is situated just north of the Washington border and 4 1/2 hrs east of Vancouver in the southwestern Okanagan, an area of the finest wines and fruit grown in Canada.
Blessed with a perfect climate for the outdoor person, the Princeton area has long dry summers with low humidity and almost no insect pests. Warm days and cool nights make it perfect for camping, water sports, ATV and motorcycle tours.
Winters are cold enough for the lakes to freeze over for skating, ice fishing, cross country skiing, and enough snow for snowmobile adventures.
Because the Princeton area is far from a large city much of the area is little used by campers and ATVers, coupled with thousands of miles of old logging roads and trails it is the perfect area to escape for a day, a week or a lifetime.
You can camp beside a beautiful lake accessible on a decent hard packed road and never see another vehicle from one day to the next. Camping at its finest and most areas are free.
Wilderness camping accessible by ATV or 4×4 is the only way to enjoy these remote pristine lakes and rivers. There are also many accessible areas near a river, stream or lake that will accommodate any size rig. You can choose to camp with others or find a private spot off the grid for some true relaxation.
The lakes and rivers are teaming with many species of trout just waiting for your tempting bait. There are many hundreds of lakes in this pristine area many rarely fished if ever and most are easily accessible.
If dry camping is not your thing there are many well equipped RV parks or provincial campgrounds usually situated on a river or lake, Of course there will be a fee attached to these luxuries. Click the link below to check out some of the camp grounds, http://www.okanaganvacationguide.com/similkameen-campgrounds.html
Dotted throughout the valleys are many small hamlets and ghost towns left over from the coal mining and gold rush days. Great for off road exploring. It is the rule not the exception to see ATVs and off road vehicles driving the streets of these small towns. Even though it is illegal the few RCMP officers who patrol the area seem to turn a blind eye unless someone is being reckless or not wearing a helmet.
Some little known campgrounds in the area
Manning Park Provincial Campground – 45 min. west of Princeton an amazing camping area high in the mountains, with Lightning lakes and the head waters of the Similkameen River close. Check it out at https://manningpark.com/
Granite Creek Rec. Site – Coalmont, BC about 1/2 hour west of Princeton through the spectacular Tulameen River canyon. Camp on the Tulameen River with the trans Canada trail near by for ATV riding. Contact me for specific directions.
Otter Lake Provincial Campground – another 15 min. drive brings you to Tulameen, a small hamlet between the Tulameen River and Otter lake. Otter lake is one of the largest lakes in the area large enough for water skiing and a sandy beach at the south end. Click the link below for more info. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/otter_lk/
Rampart Lake Rec Site – a beautiful alpine fishing lake, primitive camping with some picnic tables and vault toilets, no water, except the lake of course. From Princeton take the Princeton – Summerland road to the Jura resource road, a good gravel road approx. 5 miles from Princeton. Take the Jura to the 13K road marker turn left, this 2 km section of the road is rough but is doable with 2 wheel drive vehicles and small motor homes and trailers.
Dewolf Lake – an easy access remote dry camping lake with a nice camping area next to the lake. From Princeton follow the directions to Rampart lake but don’t turn at mile marker 13, continue to Moose Camp road turn left for a few miles, you will see the lake on your right. This little used lake is great for fishing and there are several lakes near by, and many miles of ATV riding.
Always be aware driving any back roads in BC, logging trucks are common, obey all signs.
These are just a few of the camping opportunities in the Princeton BC area. There are literally hundreds of other lakes and camping spots in our area. Google maps is a great resource for any outdoor adventures.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and it is some help to you on your RV/camping trips.
I have created a comprehensive list of equipment and items you may need for your RV/camping travels complete with product links, click here to check out my list & links.
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