Totally Golden: An adventure out to Kinbasket while the water levels are low

The weather officially feels like summer, and it is time to get out and get doin’ stuff.

Even if you didn’t experience the winter blues, it feels good to sport some shorts and sandals for a nice adventure around our area.

This weekend, we took off on the back roads, heading out to Donald, and taking the Bush Forest Service Road out to Kinbasket Lake. It’s not much of a lake right now though, as the water level is extremely low. The “lake” is a reservoir that was created by the construction of the Mica Dam. It stretches from Valemount to our area, near Donald.

It’s unique to see Kinbasket in this state. The water flows like a river, feeding into the Columbia River, and you can walk out on the lake bottom for ages.

For our first stop, we checked out Bush Harbour, where nearly a dozen side-by-sides were parked, with their drivers out enjoying the sunshine on the boat ramp. Near the harbour, an abandoned boat sits, rested high up on the shoreline. The tugboat was built in 1944 for the Royal Canadian Navy, and was sold for commercial interests in 1946. The rusty boat is a pretty neat sight for people who are interested in old and abandoned things. Nature has taken it over, growing plants into the dirt surrounding the propellors, and becoming a perch for birds in the area.

It’s amazing what kind of adventure you can have with just a full tank of gas, good company, and a couple of dogs. We continued up the road, occasionally turning off to check out small roads leading to potential camping spots. We even found a group of our friends, enjoying the weekend camping with their families.

We drove nearly 70 kilometres up the road before deciding to call it a day. We stopped at the crossing, which takes you across the Bush Arm to the other side of the lake, and took a walk around the rocky shorelines, throwing sticks for the dogs and basking in the beautiful weather. Strangely enough, a plane was circling the area, so we had an interesting thing to watch for a while during our stop.

From my past visits up to Kinbasket Lake, I know there are many great camping spots that are close to the water when it is high. If you bring a boat or a kayak, you can disappear into the wilderness for a while, finding places that are seemingly untouched. Last summer, a friend and I hiked the Valenciennes Canyon, which is nearly 70 kilometres up the Bush Forest Service Road.

For more summer adventuring, see what Totally Golden things we did last year, check out all of the amazing hikes this area has to offer at, or go to Tourism Golden’s website,, for more inspirational outdoor ideas.

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