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Free Spots to Camp in British Colombia, Canada

Updated on November 24, 2014

Camping Rules

We're cycle tourist on a budget. This list is for fellow outdoor enthusiasts looking for beautiful free places to pitch a tent. There are, however, some simple rules that we feel all campers should follow:

  1. Don't litter! This is obvious, but we've been to so many secluded places that are trashed with carless bottles and plastics of every sort. Pack it in, pack it out, otherwise use nearby trash bins. Keeping sites trash free, especially the free places we've found, makes them more enjoyable for everyone and will hopefully keep the spots we've found for you free!
  2. Bowel Movement Management. We can't tell you how many spots and places are ruined because of the carless pooping and peeing of passerby's. We all gotta go, but if you do outdoors, consider at least burying your log and taking your paper with you. Better yet, there are bag solutions including Restop waste disposal bags and CleanWaste bags. If you think its gross, well, get over it, everyone poops!
  3. Fires/Cooking. Having a hot meal and piping hot coffee while you're camping we consider a must, but there are several things to consider. First, gathering wood and cutting down foliage is not a good practice. After ten campers the place will be stripped clean. If you are going to build a fire, bring the wood from elsewhere. Better yet, invest in the wide variety of camping/hiking stoves on the market. We use an MSR International Whisper Lite, but there are less expensive alternatives like a JetBoil, Colman Stove and many others.
  4. Food and Smelly Things. We spent almost two months cycling and traveling through B.C and saw a multitude of bears and other wildlife To help avoid an unexpected bear wake-up call, store all food and smelly things (toothpaste, underarm deodorant, etc.) away from your tent and preferably off the ground. By storing these things in your tent you're inviting friends for a late night snack. You might also consider keeping some bear spray as an added precaution - but don't get all wigged out, most of the time bears want as little to do with you as you do with them.

Those are our rules, hope you all enjoy our free camping picks in British Colombia!

British Colombia Towns

Prince Rupert:
Prince Rupert, BC, Canada

get directions

Terrace B.C:
Terrace, BC, Canada

get directions

Burns Lake:
Burns Lake, BC V0J, Canada

get directions

Willams Lake:
Williams Lake, BC, Canada

get directions

Quesnel, BC, Canada

get directions

Lillooet, BC, Canada

get directions

70km Marker East of Prince Rupert

Off the Yellowhead Hwy near the 70km marker outside of Prince Rupert, B.C
Off the Yellowhead Hwy near the 70km marker outside of Prince Rupert, B.C | Source

The 70 kilometers to this site will bring you out of misty Prince Rupert, littered with its green islands, through a low mountain pass (Rainbow Summit, 160m [524ft]) where you drop breezily next to the Skeena River. The river itself is a strong, fish rich, epic affair.

Near the 70km marker you'll find a pullout just past a bridge. Pull in there and you'll get a great views of the surrounding mountain ranges casting magnificant shadows in the evening light. This is a free camping spot, no facilities exist. If you bring a water filter or boil some water you can hydrate for days on end. Just west of this spot there are fishing charters, so bring a fishing pole if you got it!

Northeast of Terrace on the Skeena River

Our daughter on the beach of the Skeena River 9.2km outside of Terrace, B.C.
Our daughter on the beach of the Skeena River 9.2km outside of Terrace, B.C. | Source

Just Northeast of Terrace, you'll need to look for this hard to spot site just 9km (5.5mi) outside of town. It is a local fishing/camping spot with no amenities. There is a train track on the northern side of the Skeena river and if conditions are right a large rocky sandy beach. The Skeena, again, has fish, so bring your fishing poles and a cold beer.

This is a free spot to camp, so please clean up after yourselves and be friendly to the locals you meet!

Average Temps for Month of July

Prince Rupert
Burns Lake
Williams Lake
Avg. High: 16.2 C (61.2 F)
Avg. High: 21.0 C (69.8 F)
Avg. High: 22.5 C (72.5 F)
Avg. High: 28.3 C (82.9 F)
Avg. Low: 10.5 C (50.9 F)
Avg. Low: 7.6 C (45.7 F)
Avg. Low: 9.3 C (48.7 F)
Avg. Low: 14.6 (58.3)
Source: Wikipedia Climate Data

Burns and Fraser Lake

Burns Lake, B.C, evening sunset near Spirit Square.
Burns Lake, B.C, evening sunset near Spirit Square. | Source

Burns Lake is a cool little town with local shops and a community that's pulled together to recover from a saw mill explosion some years back. There is a great spot for free camping maintained by the local municipality called Spirit Square. It sits right on Burns Lake, which is great for swimming and cooling off if you find yourself in the surprisingly hot summer days of more interior B.C.

There is potable water and actual sites for camping - once again, totally free! Burns Lake is also building a bit of fame as a go-to spot for mountain biking with tons of trails and events throughout the summer celebrating the activity.

As an added bonus, Fraser Lake just 70.3km (43mi) down the road also has a beautiful lake and free campsites provided by the town. That makes this one a two for one deal.

Pioneer Park, Quesnel, B.C.

Just outside South Quesnel, B.C at Pioneer Park on Dragon Lake.
Just outside South Quesnel, B.C at Pioneer Park on Dragon Lake. | Source

Pioneer Park is an unadvertised treat just south of Quesnel, B.C. off of Campsite Road. It is a bit tricky to say that this site is "free" as the park itself is more a local spot for group functions that you can reserve via Quesnel & District Arts and Recreation Centre at 250-992-8200.

If you arriving by bicycle, it should be no problem to roll into the park for the evening - again, clean-up after yourselves! If you are traveling by car or RV, however, you'll probably need to schedule ahead of time and pay a fee. Just a short jaunt from the campsites you can go for a great swim in Dragon Lake and enjoy all the ducks and geese honking, quacking and doing that amazing flying thing they do.

Chimney Lake Southeast of Williams Lake, B.C.

Free camping on the East side of Chimney Lake accessed via Dog Creek road outside Williams Lake, B.C.
Free camping on the East side of Chimney Lake accessed via Dog Creek road outside Williams Lake, B.C. | Source

Located 33km (21mi) Southeast of Williams Lake, B.C. the ride alone via Dog Creek road is worth at least a day excursion for scenic vistas and a nice cool swim. There are fee camping spaces on the more westerly side of the lake, but if you are camping on a budget head to the east side for a flat space right on the lake.

BC Hydro Campground, Lillooet, B.C.

BC Hydro campground on Duffy Lake Road (99) west of Lillooet, B.C. Beautiful and totally free!
BC Hydro campground on Duffy Lake Road (99) west of Lillooet, B.C. Beautiful and totally free! | Source

We have no idea why this campsite is free for everyone, but it is and it is beautiful. The whole surrounding area with epic desert looking mountains, rushing rivers and secluded wilderness drives you dumb and awed. There's plenty adventure to be had in the surrounding area. Seaton Lake is nearby and plenty of mountain trails to lose yourself in.

Get there by taking Duffy Lake Road out of Lillooet, there is a sign on the left after you pass though this incredibly awesome narrow canyon pass. Note that the nearby town of Lillooet has this as their slogan: "Lillooet. Guaranteed Rugged." And, well, they aren't kidding.

10km East of Duffy Lake

About 10km (6mi) east of Duffy Lake of Route 99 is a nice pullout on a river in an epic valley.
About 10km (6mi) east of Duffy Lake of Route 99 is a nice pullout on a river in an epic valley. | Source

There are fee campgrounds all along the Duffy Lake road and they are all within this wonderfully green massive monument to mother nature. If you are looking for a free spot, keep your eyes on the right side of the road as you near Duffy Lake. There are spots which locals use to camp and fish.

Enjoy! We certainly did.

© 2014 Forest and Ance Kvasnikoff

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