Camping At Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park

Last Updated on June 23, 2022

Birkenhead Provincial Park

We love the feeling of the open road, and there’s always magic found up a long dirt road. Birkenhead Provincial Park was definitely no exception. Down a service road is a gorgeous campground and lake; a little slice of BC heaven.

Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park is located just north of Vancouver, in the Coast Mountain range of British Columbia. The park covers an area of nearly 9,755 hectares and is home to a diverse array of plant and animal life. Visitors to the park can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking in the summer months.

Birkenhead Lake camping is the best way to explore the park!

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Bear Country

There are also bears in the area, so be bear prepared. Darcy saw a black bear not far from the campground gate one morning, but that was our only sighting. The bear also just happily carried on its way.

When packing for a camping trip, be sure to include items that will help you stay safe in bear country. Bears are attracted to campsites by the smell of food, so it is important to keep all food and garbage properly stored. In a front country campsite like at Birkenhead Lake, do not leave any food out when you are not at your campsite or are sleeping, and properly clean up after yourself. Also, do not allow any food inside your tent. Ever.  The smell of food can attract any bears that wander into camp, and you probably would not like waking up to that scenario.

If you do encounter a bear, remain calm and don’t run away. Know What To Do During A Black Bear Encounter and brush up on your knowledge on what to do if you come in contact with a grizzly bear.

Speak in a soft, reassuring voice and slowly back away while avoiding eye contact. In most cases, the bear will lose interest and move on.

The night sky camping at Birkenhead Lake in Pemberton, BC

Birkenhead Lake Camping

We love the ease that comes with camping. There is no schedule, sleep when you want, go to the lake when you want,  and time spent huddling around a campfire. It is a simple life. We also love going to sleep under the stars and at Birkenhead, we woke in the morning to the sound of the rushing Phelix Creek and birds happily singing away.

The campsites were pretty full, yet the camping at Birkenhead Lake was quiet, and there were never many people at the lake entrance by our campsite. There were only a couple of families lakeside whenever we were. It felt like we had that little slice of paradise to ourselves.

We played UNO, Go Fish and had a lot of fun with our paddle catch ball and toss game, badminton rackets, and other simple pleasures at the campsite. It kept the kids entertained for hours.

We had so much tasty camp food this time — we roasted hotdogs over the campfire, made “camping nachos”, pancakes, jiffy pop, roasted corn on the cob, and had a great variety of s’mores. Time and time again, I’m convinced that food just tastes better when it is prepared outdoors over a campfire or camping stove.

Kids hiking along Birkenhead Lake in Pemberton, BC
There is also a trail around the lake if you are looking for an easy wander. We had a little bit of rain overnight, luckily just one night. Three different ways to make it over a puddle.

Goat Lookout Trail

The Birkenhead Lake Goat Lookout Trail is a great way to see some of the local wildlife up close. The trailhead is located just off of the Birkenhead Lake road, and from there it is an easy hike up to the lookout point. Along the way, you will pass through a forested area and may even see some goats grazing on the hillside. Once you reach the lookout, you will be treated to stunning views of Birkenhead Lake and the surrounding mountains. This is a great spot for photography or just to take in the natural beauty of the area.

The trailhead is easily accessible right off of the campground area, making it a popular choice for families with young children. At just under 2 kilometers in length, the trail is also suitable for those looking for a shorter hike.

Family smiling in tie dye shirts at Birkenhead Lake in Pemberton, BC
When there are so many kids to get to cooperate and look at the camera, this is the best it gets these days!

Camping With Kids

There is nothing quite like camping with kids. It is an incredible adventure that can create lifelong memories. roughing it in the great outdoors, sleeping under the stars, and spending time together as a family are just some of the reasons why camping with kids is such a special experience. In today’s world of digital screens and constant entertainment, camping provides a much-needed opportunity to unplug and connect with nature. Even young children can benefit from the simple pleasures of being in the great outdoors. Camping with kids also encourages independence and self-reliance, as well as a sense of responsibility for taking care of our planet.

Their curiosity brings out the kid in all of us. They continually remind us to not care who is watching (because really, nobody is watching you anyway), and to really appreciate the simple parts of life. I love that our kids really genuinely enjoy being in nature and love seeing the happiness that brings. Get out there and explore the world with your kids. You will not regret it!

Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park Facilities

These campsites are drive-in for easy access. They have pit toilets, water, garbage, and a sani-station. There are no showers, but you could easily set up a camp shower if you want to freshen up. We found camping at Birkenhead Lake to feel quite private, as we were well surrounded by forest. Campsites are gravel and have a fire pit and picnic table.

Make sure you check for fire bans as every summer they are restricted as the summer goes on.

Swimming At Birkenhead Lake

Though the campsites seemed full at Birkenhead Lake during our stay, there were only a couple of families lakeside whenever we were. It felt like we had that little slice of paradise to ourselves. The lake water was COLD glacier water. Our kids do not seem to mind and will completely dunk themselves under the water, so they had a ton of fun swimming at Birkenhead Lake with all that open space. Madison made me swim with her to the floating swim boundary sign — it was COLD, and she proceeded to dunk me. I do not know how they do it. Brrrr!!

We had such a great time swimming in the lake with the fun floaties. We had days full of laughter and created some fabulous memories surrounded by mother nature’s beauty. Life does not get better than that.

How To Get There

Birkenhead Provincial Park was a gorgeous drive up the Sea-To-Sky Highway from Vancouver, a drive we could never be tired of. Birkenhead Provincial Park is located 90 km north of Whistler, one of our favorite local places for adventure. To get there, follow Highway 99 north from Whistler. In Pemberton follow the signs to Mount Currie and then to D’Arcy. The turnoff to the park is 33 km from the turnoff to D’Arcy. The park is 17 km from this point on good quality, loose gravel road.

An attempted-fun-note: Darcy doesn’t use the apostrophe in his spelling, but we tried to make our way past Birkenhead to D’Arcy, BC for a little laugh and photo, but some communities are not accepting any through traffic still. There were a lot of signs telling you to go away and turn around, so we respectfully did so.

Mountain views in Pemberton, BC
Imagine waking up to that view every day? WOW!
Mountain views along the dirt road to Birkenhead Lake in Pemberton, BC
Searching for magic along this long dirt road.

Scenic view along the service road to Birkenhead Lake in Pemberton, BC

Camping Reservations

You must make a reservation for Birkenhead Lake camping through the BC Parks website. Frontcountry campsite reservations can be made up to two months in advance of your arrival date. Campsites fill up super fast in British Columbia, so it is always a good idea to plan ahead. You can also check back regularly for cancellations that you may be fast enough to grab.

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