Camping with Wolves at Conkle Lake, BC

posted in: Canada, Travel 4

 Early 1900s Fishing Cabin, Conkle Lake, British Columbia

Mist, Tabs and Pip–Conkle Lake, BC August 2013

One of my favourite spots on earth is the Southern Okanagan. I had the joy of camping high in the alpine wilderness of the Southern Okanagan with my daughters this week.

The adventure began almost immediately. You have to love BC Parks and their guide manuals. They say there are 2 roads that access Conkle Lake, BC (a high alpine lake in Southern BC, 1100 m). The guide advises that the road from highway 3 is a better road, as the forest service road (off of highway 33) is not suitable for campers. I took the forest service road off of highway 33 because that was the highway we were on: #33. The rocky trail was 26 km and wound straight up and around mountains.

It was a mountain goat trail!

Once on it, there was no turning back. It was the narrowest trail, scaling along steep mountain sides, with no shoulder and boulders frequently blocked the trail; one had to try to navigate around them without sailing off the cliff.

Me at the wheel while on the mountain goat trail!
But what a beautiful mountain goat trail it was!
But what a beautiful mountain goat trail it was! It reminded me of being in Switzerland.

Thank-God I was driving, as to be a passenger along such a road would have terrified me; one awkward bump around a boulder and off we’d tumble, over the cliff and drop hundreds of meters to the valley below. I took pictures on areas I felt safe enough to stop (the girls weren’t impressed but I asked them, “What do you expect when your mom’s a photography junky?”).

The road was so rough and narrow and steep that after nearly an hour we arrived (thank-God I have 4 wheel drive or we’d still be on the mountain!) at a mountain top, quiet, secluded, wilderness camp site called Conkle Lake Provincial Park.

Conkle Lake, BC  (photo credit Tabs)

Lake Conkle was a breath of fresh wilderness.

I grew up on many averages and now as an adult I miss the wilderness and often long for a true break from civilization with only nature surrounding me. Conkle Lake is just that: The Okanagan at its wilderness finest. It reminded me a little of Switzerland with its rolling hills that turn into mountains. We crossed many cattle guards to get to the lake as it is the classic west: cattle roam the mountain pastures in the spring/summer and ranchers round them up on horseback in late fall and bring them home for the winter.

Tabs on the shores of Conkle Lake

Conkle Lake was surprisingly warm despite the altitude of the lake. It has a natural sandy beach formed by a constant southerly wind. The lake drops off very quickly and the bottom is a void of blackness.

Pip with Lilly Pad Hat

We hiked along the shores of Conkle Lake and found a path that would take us all the way around the Lake.

Mist, Pip and I, Conkle Lake August 2013 (photo credit Tabs)
Pip and I
Mom and Pip in Forest
Mist on the shores of Conkle Lake

We decided to hit the beach instead of hike all the way around the lake in the early afternoon sun.

Pip, Conkle Lake, BC
Tabs and Pip
Mist, where sky meets Lake (photo Tabs)
Pip was the first one in, followed by me–she won the first bowl of potato chips at supper.


The camping is a little rustic as there is no running water–the lake is it. We brought in gallons of our own water to drink but forget showering!

Mist and I -there’s always a whole lot of drama and song around our camp fires.
Tabs is a very skilled fire builder
Mist and Tabs

The most wondrous part of our trip was the night. The mountain night did not disappoint. We listened to a lone wolf howl every few hours all night long, at about 4 a.m. another wolf finally joined in. The final wake-up howl came at 6 a.m.

Mist on the hike, looking for waterfalls…
Pip, Tabs and I on hike (Mist pic credit)
Me in the gully behind our tent.
Pip exploring the gully.

Nothing is more beautiful than listening to wild wolves howl to the moon. It is a rare treat on this earth.

Wolves were once as plentiful as humans–we populated and shared the earth with equal force. But we got greedy and as it stands now, there is a 4 bag limit on hunting wolves in the Okanagan. With a total wolves estimated as low as 50–will I hear the wolves howl next summer?

I hope you enjoy pictures from our Adventure Girls camping trip.

* I cannot squeeze all our fabulous photos on one blog so stayed tuned for camping with girls next blog!

4 Responses

  1. Sandra Hart
    | Reply

    Beautiful spot but I think the ride up would have finished me!

  2. Mix Hart
    | Reply

    It was an adventure to be sure!

  3. Paul
    | Reply

    Hi there.
    I’m heading to Conkle Lake tomorrow (Sept 2, 2019) for a week of camping, and was doing some googling and stumbled across your site. Looks like you all had a great time!
    I’ve been to Conkle at least a half a dozen times over the years and have always used the entrance from Hwy 3A. It’s always been quite easy to navigate, and no life threatening “goat trail” sections. A little bit of washboard every once in a while, and the odd cow to avoid. So it’s a pretty, but also pretty uneventful, hour ride through the forest.
    Cheers, and happy camping,

    • mixhart
      | Reply

      thanks, paul, we haven’t been back but when we do we’ll be taking 3A!

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