Adams Lake

Have you ever wondered about going on a paddling trip on Adams Lake?  Ranked as the 6th deepest lake in the world, Adams Lake boasts sandy beach camping, a rich history with pictographic evidence, and endless paddling adventure possibilities!

Adams Lake, just north of Chase, BC, is in the traditional territory of the Adams Lake Indian Band, part of the Secwepemc Nation.  Interestingly, Adams Lake is named after Chief Atahm, a prominent Secwepemc Chief in the mid-19th century.

The Adams Lake FSR provides unpaved road access up the western side of the lake.  The road is above the lake shore and accesses BC Parks or Recreation Sites which provide the shore access for boat launching. 

Where to stay

There are several BC Park campgrounds and forest Recreation Sites around Adams Lake – 10 in total!.  Adams Lake Marine Provincial Park includes four separate locations on the lake: Bush Creek, Refuge Bay, Poplar Point and Spillman Beach. Bush Creek and Refuge Bay are accessible off Adams Lake FSR and provides some rustic facilities including an outhouse, a few clearings for camping and a boat launch. Poplar Point and Spillman Beach locations are for wilderness camping on the Eastern shore of the lake and do not have any facilities at all. So no toilets, tables or tent pads! BYO and be prepared to rough it!

There are six Recreation Sites on Adams Lake: Rocky Point, Gordon Bay, Tsitkwustum Creek, Tsikwustum Creek North (Silviculture Camp), Honeymoon Bay and Skwaam Bay. Expect some fantastically rustic facilities at these sites including outhouses, tables, cleared areas for tents, and car top boat launch spots.

Click on this link to view this handy BC Parks map which also shows the forest Recreation Sites.  BC Parks are represented by green dots, Recreation Sites are green triangles.

Where to paddle

The paddling routes and lengths on Adams Lake are endless!  Just pick where on Adams Lake you want to paddle, find a launch point and plan in your route based on how far you want to paddle and for how many days.  Adams Lake is your oyster!  Ps it is a freshwater lake so no actual oysters to be found.

The lower zone includes the sawmill and the entrance to lower Adams River.

Launch at: Bush Creek

The middle zone around Skwaam Bay includes the pictographs. Hindu Point is a true sandy beach in this zone that is popular with paddlers and boaters alike (and partiers!).

Launch at: Skwaam Bay

The upper zone is more active with the forest industry but is a good option if you don’t want to cross the lake.

Launch at: Honeymoon Bay or Refuge Bay

Pictographs on Adams Lake
Pictographs on Adams Lake

Here are a few extra tips about paddling on Adams Lake…

  • The fall shoulder season is less busy for boating.
  • There are sandy beaches all along the lake!
  • There are no outhouses or other camping facilities on the eastern side of the lake.
  • The lake is known to become rough without much of a warning. Keep tabs on the weather and plan to cross when the lake is likely to be at its calmest. Alternatively, just stay on one side of the lake!
  • It would take about a week to paddle all of Adams Lake at a recreational pace. Pick a smaller area on the lake to explore.

BETA

Cost: Free

When to go: Spring, Summer and early Fall while the weather is nice for camping.

Access: Adams Lake is located North of Chase, BC in the Thompson Okanagan region of BC. It is access by driving on a Forest Service Road that is suitable for low clearance 2wd vehicles.

Exit Highway 1 at the Squilax-Anglemont exit and take the overpass over the highway to head North on Squilax-Anglemont Rd. Turn left onto Holding Rd. Follow Holding Rd. until you reach the mill entrance, and bear left to start on the Adams Lake FSR. Follow the FSR to your desired launch location.

RAD adventure tip: double check your launch spot is still open! There has been some land movement around the lake resulting in some locations being closed, notably Brennan Creek!

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