Aerial view of Big Bar Lake shoreline with canoes.
Big Bar Lake Provincial Park comprises approximately 330 hectares of rolling landscape situated on the shore of a large lake, and scattered with small lakes and ponds. The park is couched in typical Cariboo ranching country on the southern edge of the Fraser Plateau. This extensive plateau stretches north beyond Lac La Hache, and was formed from lava flows some five to ten million years ago.
The park was established in 1969, and is a very popular destination for family camping vacations. The park features 25 new lakeside campsites in addition to a large day-use area offering beachside picnic areas and a Big Toy for children. The construction project was funded by FRBC through the Campgrounds BC Initiative, and was completed in the summer of 1999.
The park’s setting is typical of the northern Thomson-Nicola and southern Cariboo regions of BC. Set against a mountainous backdrop, the lake is surrounded by lodgepole pine and spruce. Visitors of Big Bar Lake Park often see wildlife on the 4 km hiking trail surrounding the scenic wetlands, and enjoy angling for rainbow trout in the 3-mile long lake. The area is an extremely popular fishing destination, and is also widely used by other recreationists. Area attractions include several guest ranches, the towering Marble Range south of the park, and Gang Ranch country. Visitors can also travel along the Jesmond Loop, by continuing past Big Bar Lake Provincial Park, and eventually connecting with Highway 97 by way of the Jesmond and Kelly Lake Roads. This scenic drive passes by Little Big Bar Lake and the historic townsite of Jesmond, where the OK Corral – one of the oldest ranches in the area – is situated. The loop also accesses the Jesmond fire lookout by way of a narrow four-wheel drive road, from which visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including Marble Range and Edge Hills Provincial Parks. Big Bar Lake Park and the surrounding country provide a beautiful setting for a summer holiday.
Big Bar Lake Park is easily accessible, and provides a range of recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Some of the major recreational opportunities available in the park include day-use picnicking, lakeside camping, boating, canoeing and kayaking, swimming, wildlife viewing, hiking, and fishing. Abundant rainbow trout typically reward the angler; fishing is active nearly all season, but is typically the best between mid May and late July. Nearby guest ranches offer horseback excursions into the open range that lies north of the lake.