Often described as the warmest lake in the Kootenays of British Columbia, Wasa Lake is a popular travel destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts, largely due to the numerous recreation options in the area. Whether you prefer daredevil adventures or quietly enjoying your Wasa Lake vacation rental with your family, you’re sure to find something fun to do around Lake Wasa. Here are the ten best things to do at and near Wasa Lake on your vacation.
1. Hit the Beach
The warm, clear water and shallow beaches make Lake Wasa a perfect swimming spot. The lake boasts four separate sandy beaches, so you can choose your favorite. One is a designated off-leash area for dogs, so you can let your pooch swim and enjoy the cool water. A fully stocked store near the entrance to the park lets you stock up on sunscreen or snacks if you accidentally left some essentials at your vacation rental.
2. Mountain Biking
The area around Lake Wasa offers numerous options for bikers of all ages and skill levels, so don’t be afraid to bring those bikes. After all, you’ll have plenty of room to store them at your vacation rental. If you have younger kids, consider the Wasa Lions Way, which is a meandering paved path that also provides access to a small network of unpaved roads. More adventurous bikers can take the Lazy Lake Loop, a 20-mile unpaved trail that includes 300 feet of elevation gain. Wasa Lake Campground also contains a small bike park where riders can show off their skills on specially designed half-pipes and berms.
3. Make History Come Alive
Just south of Wasa is Fort Steele, a historic park and living history museum. During peak months, you can watch skilled tradespeople give demonstrations of blacksmithing, dressmaking and gold panning. Live shows are performed throughout the summer at Wildhorse Theatre, and there are several historic cafes and an ice cream parlor where you can grab a bite to eat. Fort Steele is open all year, although available activities vary.
4. Try Diving
Wasa Lake is home to a thriving freshwater reef, making it an interesting and fun spot for scuba divers to explore. Although this is a mountainous area, equipment rentals can be limited. Make sure you bring your own gear and consider a vacation rental to help you safely store it.
5. Cast a Line
Wasa Lake contains various types of fish, such as bass and perch, making it a popular choice for fishing. Trolling from a boat tends to be the most effective method due to the shallow shoreline, but anglers can have some luck as well. Make sure to get fishing licenses for the whole family before you head out, as park officials are likely to check.
6. Water Skiing or Windsurf
The warm waters and large size of Wasa Lake make it a popular destination for water skiing and wakeboarding. The area is also popular among windsurfers. There are several designated spots for these activities to keep everyone safe, so be sure to check with a park official, or take a look at the maps posted throughout the park, when choosing your launch.
7. Play in the Snow
If you’re planning a trip in the wintertime, the Wasa Lake area provides plenty of options. Visit the nearby Kimberly Alpine resort for world-class skiing and snowboarding. This resort offers multiple family-friendly trails, as well as numerous black diamond options for expert skiers. Wasa Lake Provincial Park is a popular destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, due to the relatively flat, well-maintained trails.
8. Go For a Hike
The gorgeous, mountainous terrain offers plenty of hiking choices. Learn about Wasa Lake Provincial Park’s flora and fauna by taking the short, family-friendly “Forest of the Rainshadow” interpretive trail, which begins near the park’s amphitheater. Explore the woods near the lake, or head up into the hills for more strenuous hikes. Be sure to watch for water birds, such as herons, near the lake, and keep an eye out for elk if you head higher up.
9. Take a Swing
Pack up your clubs and plan on some world-class golfing in the Wasa Lake area. Head south of Kimberly to Bootleg Gap Golf, which is surrounded by stunning peaks, so you can take in a spectacular view while golfing. Bootleg Gap Golf offers both 18-hole and nine-hole courses to help you fit it into your trip. Or, visit Trickle Creek, also located near Kimberly, and enjoy the top-class course nestled among lovely old-growth pines. Follow up your game by a visit to The Clubhouse, offering some of Kimberly’s best casual dining. These courses can be challenging, so they’re best for teenagers and adults.
10. Visit a Festival
The area around Wasa Lake is home to numerous festivals, particularly during the summer. Adventurous individuals can sign up for the annual Wasa Lake Triathlon held every June. This strenuous, yet fun event is open to individuals and teams and has a separate TriKids event, so older kids can join in as well. Enjoy free concerts and sports tournaments at Kimberley’s July Fest held the third week of the month. If you visit during August, head over to Cranbrook to watch some roping, bronc busting, and bull riding at the Cranbrook Pro Rodeo.