region, the most populated in British Columbia, is able to offer some
of the most interesting waters in the province, from small lakes to
raging rivers. In and around Vancouver and area that's known as the Greater
Vancouver Regional District there's solitude to be found on Burnaby
Lake, Buntzen Lake
as well as Deer Lake. If you want fast and exciting waters there's
the Capilano and Coquitlam Rivers, while Seymour River and Kanaka
Creek-Fraser River are grade or class 1 to 2 runs.
The larger lakes in this region, although close to civilization are
often wilderness areas, where the shorelines can be steep and rugged,
where winds can be chaotic and very sudden. One of the many larger
lakes that is a great weekend get-away is Harrison, 125 km (78
mi.) east of Vancouver off Highway 7. Harrison Lake is 60 km (37.2
mi.) long and 9 km (5.58 mi.) wide in spots, its best you stay close
to shore, watch the skies and always paddle with at least two or three
boats. You can put in at the beach at Harrison Hot Springs to travel
the beach road east and put in at the park and boat launch. There
are frequent landing and camping sites on the west side of the lake,
but on the east side camping is unorganized, landing and shelter can
be hard to come by.
The Lower Squamish River with forests, wildlife and majestic mountains
is a class or grade 1+ to 2 run but very hazardous while in flood.
Put in north of Squamish on Highway 99, head up the Squamish Valley
Road to the powerhouse and take out just past the Mamquam River. Mark
your landing spot before you start this run, or you could find yourself
in Howe Sound. Avoid the log jams and deadheads, there are a few standing
waves to paddle, but this is basically an enjoyable day trip. The
Upper Squamish River is also canoeable, but has class or grade 4 rapids,
can be very uncertain, and not recommended for open canoes.
The Powell Forest Canoe Route can take anywhere from a couple of days
of strenuous paddling to a week if exploring and taking your time.
The circuit is 57 km (35 mi.) long with 8 km (4.9 mi.) of portaging.
These lakes are typically the fjord west coast variety and the wind
can be your worst enemy. Both Powell and Goat Lakes have steep banks
(few landing sites) and strewed with dead trees along the shorelines.
There are a few designated camp sites, but mostly its unorganized
and they can be hard to come by as this is a rain forest area. Put
in can be reached by taking the Sunshine Coast Highway 101 to Powell
River, east of Lang Bay take the MacMillan Bloedel logging road north
to Lois Lake. The Forest Service campsite on Lois Lake is your put
in place, take out is at Powell Lake Marina. The circuit consists
of the following lakes Lois, Horseshoe, Nanton, Ireland, Dodd, Windsor,
Goat and finally Powell. There are other options for access and you
can check them out.
Enjoy world class whitewater on the Chilliwack River, located south
of Chilliwack. Take Highway 1, exit 119 south of Vedder Crossing for
some exciting boating. The Chilliwack River is also famous for steelhead
fishing, and the area is quite populated, so common courtesy applies
to all who use this river. International competitions are a regular
occurrence, the National Team trains on these waters, it's popular
with rafters and swimmers alike, so it can become congested. The section
between Pointa Vista to Vedder Crossing is a grade or class 2 run,
its good for novice kayakers, guided and intermediate open canoeists,
with put-in at the end of Osbourne Road or Chilliwack River Park.
The Upper section of the river is a grade or class 2+ to 4 run that
is approximately 10 km (6 mi.)starting at Slesse Creek put-in to Tamihi
Bridge. The Chilliwack River can be challenging with rapids, log jams
and sweepers. Before taking to the water, scout ahead. Be safe, have
The easiest and best way to get information on where to canoe and
kayak in a region, is to check with local equipment dealers, and if
possible join the local canoe and kayak club.
A Canoe Or Kayak Trip
BC Adventure Network members invite you to kayak or canoe with them: