Last Sunday I woke up to the sound of birds chirping and the sun shining through my bedroom window. I could feel the heat radiating through the screen, even at 8a.m.
“Today is a lake day,” I said to myself as I slithered out of bed.
After completing my morning routine, I packed up my things, put the dog in the car and headed to Premier Lake Provincial Park.
Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised to find few cars in the campground parking lot. “Perhaps because of the wildfires and fire bans, there are less people camping,” I thought.
I took one look at the trail map and decided to hike out to Quartz Lake. Having been there once before, I knew it would be the perfect destination to soak up some Vitamin D and have a refreshing swim.
The forest along Quartz Lake Road is filled with Douglas Fir and Western Larch, while Osprey and King Fishers can be seen soaring overhead.
The hike in from the campground took around 25 minutes. It was peaceful and quiet; nature’s soundtrack playing on repeat.
The lake itself is stunning. Clean and clear, with emerald green water; the ideal place to cool off for both myself and the dog.
After having a swim I situated us on some rocks that overlook the lake, just past the day use area. Sharp pieces of shale rock surround the water, making the walk a bit tricky, but most definitely worth it.
Premier Lake Provincial Park has a multitude of hiking trails and small lakes within the park. Aside from Premier itself, Quartz is the biggest of the lakes. Canuck, Yankee and Cats Eye lakes can be accessed via trail, and all of the hikes range from 30 minutes to two hours. The Saddle Back Trail is by far the longest and most challenging hike, at five hours one way, I have yet to tackle it.
There are 57 vehicle/tent campsites in the park, and Premier is one of the key recreational fishing lakes in East Kootenay.
Established in April of 1940, Premier Lake Provincial Park is 837 hectares and was named after Mr. William Smithe’s title, who was the Premier of B.C. from 1883 to 1887. Premier was first used by the Ktunaxa First Nations as a camp area and fishery.
Today, many locals flock to Premier to canoe, cycle, fish, hunt, swim and view wildlife. Elk, white tail and mule deer and bighorn sheep are some of the many animals that can be found in and around the park.
Dogs aren’t permitted in the day use area of Premier Lake, but they are allowed off-leash at the Rod and Gun Club and at Quartz Lake.
Nestled in the mountains with trees all around, and only 45 minutes from Kimberley, Premier Lake Provincial Park is the perfect location for a day-trip.