Hope, BC is surrounded by many lakes and rivers that are perfect for paddlers of all levels. If flat-water paddling is your passion, then you’ll enjoy canoeing or kayaking on Ross Lake. If you are a thrill seeker, then you’ll love rafting the raging white waters of the Coquihalla River! Check out our list of the most popular paddle locations near Hope, BC.
Fraser RiverThe Mighty Fraser River is a Canadian Heritage River and one of the longest (1375km) in Canada. Often the river is rafted from Soda Creek to Yale with the most common stretch between Boston Bar and Yale on the lower river. Though there are few rapids, the most famous are Hell's Gate, Little Hell's Gate and China Bar. To run these rapids, large motorized rafts with outriggers are used. For experienced canoe paddlers or kayakers, the Fraser River starting in Hope, BC is great journey. A good boat launch location is at Wardle St. where the Coquihalla River meets the Fraser River. A popular destination is Fort Langley, BC.
Coquihalla RiverThe Coquihalla River passes between the Skagit and Hozameens ranges of the Cascades Mountains. It provides a stunning backdrop to Hope and some seriously fun whitewater kayak opportunities for experienced paddlers. Fraser River Rafts runs rafting trips on the Coquihalla in the spring. Depending on snow-pack and water levels, the Coquihalla can be run in May/June.
NahatlatchThe Nahatlatch is considered one of the best whitewater rafting rivers in the province. It provides active paddlers with near continual rapids. And local companies run it twice per day-trip, so come prepared for an epic day. Depending on snow pack and river levels, the Nahatlatch is only run in May/June. Experienced whitewater canoers and kayakers would do well to explore what the Nahatlatch has to offer. The lakes that the river feeds offer a calmer experience for those wanting to swim and sunbathe in the Hope, Cascades & Canyons.
Ross LakeRoss Lake is perfect for canoeing or kayaking in a bona fide, wilderness setting. Runoff in the early season causes thunderous cascading waterfalls at multiple locations along the shore. You will see snowcapped mountains and shorelines filled with old-growth conifers. The lake is 39 kilometres long and large enough to feel like you have private usage, further enhancing the paddling experience. There are 19 boat camps on the lake so a multi-day paddle trip is possible. Coordinates: N48°43.54′ W121°04.02′
Lightning LakeThere are kayaking and canoeing opportunities on Lightning Lake which is located in E. C. Manning Provincial Park. This freshwater lake is unique as it drains in two directions, into the Similkameen River to the north and Flash Lake to the south. Be aware that Lightning Lake is very shallow especially near the end of the summer season. During that time the narrows under the Rainbow Bridge may be dry or shallow. Canoe, kayak and rowboat rentals are available at Lightning Lake day-use area. Contact the Park Facility Operator at 250-840-8807. Coordinates: N49°3′43.45″ W120°49′45.12″
Silver LakeSilver Lake is situated in the scenic Skagit Valley, Silver Lake Provincial Park. This is a small, largely undeveloped lakefront area and offers spectacular mountain backdrops for paddlers. This park has a campground so multi-day stays are possible. The lake is situated 12km of Hope, via Flood Hope Road and the Silver Skagit Road. Road access is gravel, lots of parking and the lake has a small boat launch. Coordinates: N49°18.47′ W121°24.51′
Kawkawa LakeSpend the afternoon swimming, waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, or cliff-jumping. With a roped off swimming area, boat launch, and boat accessible cliffs, Kawkawa Lake is a family's dream. First Beach also boasts a playground, picnic tables, and washroom facilities. There are no boat rentals or lifeguard on duty. Kawkawa Lake Municipal Park is 10 minutes from downtown Hope along Kawkawa Lake Road.
Lake of the Woods (Schkam Lake)Lake of the Woods is the perfect swimming and paddling lake in Hope. As motors are prohibited, it is a quiet place for both swimmers and paddlers. The small lake warms up fast, so no need for a wet suit if you're planning on swimming. Confident swimmers can access rocks on the west side of the lake. There is no public boat rental available (though guests of the adjacent Lake of the Woods Resort do have access to equipment). Schkam is located five minutes north of Hope on Highway 1.