There are so many excellent parks located throughout the western Canadian province of British Columbia, with Cathedral Provincial Park being among the best with its adventurous backcountry hiking and beautiful alpine campgrounds. It’s also one of the finest locations in the province for those who would like to enjoy a more luxurious hiking and camping trip.
The wilderness park sits in the North Cascades region of British Columbia and is filled with turquoise lakes, jagged peaks, spectacular ridges and alpine meadows. The main hiking area is about 10 miles from where you have to leave your car and is mostly uphill.
(photo credit: iwona_kellie)
It takes between six and eight hours if you want to backpack the route up an access trail or you can catch a ride from Cathedral Lakes Lodge as they offer campers a ride up the hill for a fee. However, there’s no cost if you’re staying at the lodge.
Once you reach the park you’ll find there are three different campgrounds to choose from. The most popular one is located at Quiniscoe Lake, which is actually just a five-minute hike from the lodge. This ground offers 30 campsites that are all snuggled in against the wonderful lakeshore. The campground offers pit toilets, tent pads, fire rings, food caches, and picnic tables. The park’s ranger station also sits on the edge of this campground.
If you’d like to be a bit more isolated when camping, you can hike about 20 minutes further and you’ll find the Lake of the Woods and Pyramid Campgrounds. Lake of the Woods offers 28 campsites while Pyramid has another dozen. These campgrounds don’t offer fire rings and picnic tables, but the views are fantastic and the grounds are quite tranquil.
The park offers an exceptional network of hiking trails and they can also be accessed from the campgrounds. There are several types of trails available that are suitable for beginners and experts. Some of them are quite flat trails around the lakes and others are more challenging as they cross over rougher terrain. You can easily spend a few days exploring all of the different hikes.
You can start and finish some of the best routes from the Quiniscoe Lake campground. These will offer you some awesome views of the lakes as well as the Coast and Cascade Mountains. You’ll be able to wander around the beautiful meadows and wildflowers when you reach Scout Mountain and take in the views of the Okanagan Valley from the top of Red Mountain. The scenes from Quiniscoe Mountain are also jaw-dropping.
If you happen to be at Cathedral Provincial Park on a dull or overcast day then one of the best hikes from the campground is the five-mile roundtrip to Goat Lake. It’ll take you alongside Lakeview Creek and then through an alpine valley. The scenes are perfect for misty days as you’ll see the craggy and rocky peaks of Denture ridge and Grimface Mountain high above.
If you’d like to enjoy a short hike, you can head over to Glacier Lake, as it’s less than two miles roundtrip. The waters are a wonderful shade of blue and green and the scenery is superb. To get to the park, you’ll enjoy a four- hour scenic drive from Vancouver. It’s located about 20 miles southwest of the town of Keremeos.