Premier Lake Provincial Park
Premier Lake Provincial Park is one of the top recreational parks in the East Kootenay, widely known as a fantastic place to fish. The 837 ha (2000+ acre) park contains 5 lakes – Premier, Canuck, Yankee, Cats Eye and Quartz – and each offers a uniquely different fishing experience. However, fishing is just one of the many things that make the park a favorite spot for family vacations.
Originally, the area was a camp base for the Ktunaxa (Kootenay) people whose traditional hunting and fishing territory took in a much larger area which, today, includes various parts of the US.
The park was officially established as a provincial park in 1940 and named after William Smithe, a BC Premier from 1883 to 1887.
Whatever season you choose for your visit, you are quite likely to see some spectacular examples of the abundant wildlife in the park. Look for elk, whitetail and mule deer, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, osprey, eagle, heron, king fisher and others. There is a viewing platform at the fish ladder. Bring your camera – you’ll be glad you did.
You will find so much more on the BC Parks website. Visit: http://env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/premier/ for details you need to know, including maps, charts, etc. to make your holiday at Premier Lake Provincial Park a rewarding experience, one you will remember for years to come.
The boat launch at the far end of the day-use area, has limited moorage and is most suitable for small boats and trailers. Use caution on the ramp. Parking is limited.
Firewood may or may not be available for purchase. Check to see if you may be able to bring your own wood in this particular park. Do not gather firewood from anywhere in the park. Keep your campfire small. It’s a good idea to bring your own portable camp-stove.
The park has cold-water hand pumps at the day-use area, the overflow camping area and the main campground.
There are 6 picnic tables beside the lake in the day-use area. You can picnic at the other lakes but there are no picnic facilities.
There are only pit toilets In Premier Lake Provincial Park – 10 in the campground, 2 in the day-use area, 1 at Quartz Lake.
Near the park entrance there is a large playground.
One solar shower enclosure is available for use by campers but users must bring own shower bags.
A wheelchair-accessible picnic site is available in the day-use area and also a paved path to a picnic table. An accessible pit toilet is located in this area as well.
There are 57 vehicle/tent campsites at the south end of the Lake, 20 of which can be reserved, but there are no drive-through sites. The gate is open year-round but full services may not be available during the off-season. You can reserve your campsite by visiting:
Reservations are on a first-come-first-served basis. If you don’t have a reservation, you can still enjoy your camping experience at Premier Lake Provincial Park providing there are vacancies. Vehicle camping fee is $25 per party per night. The BC Senior’s Rate (day after Labour Day to June 14 only) is $12.50 per senior party per night.
During the winter months, the Ministry of Transportation maintains access to Premier Lake Provincial Park and if the campground is accessible, campers are welcome to stay.
Canoes and kayaks are welcome on both Premier and Quartz lakes. Boats may be launched at the Rod and Gun day-use area of the main boat launch, adjacent to the campground.
All roadways in the park may be used plus the Yankee-Canuck Lakes loop. Helmets are mandatory.
Hiking trails are short loops that give families easy access to the lakes. Hikes can range from an hour and a half to 4 hours, depending upon which loop you use.
There’s great fishing year round in Premier Lake Provincial Park, including ice fishing in the winter. Make sure you have an up-to-date fishing license.
The lawful game hunting season runs from September 1 to June 30. Have a valid hunting license.
A great area in which to swim is at the wharves, which provide an enclosed area with a small sand beach. There are no lifeguards on duty.
Pets must be leashed at all times and are forbidden in the playground, beach, day-use areas or buildings.
Premier Lake Provincial park is nestled against the western slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the south-east corner of the province.
- Be prepared for rapidly changing mountain and lake weather. High winds often come up unexpectedly.
- There is an information shelter at the park entrance but no phone.
- At the south end of Premier Lake, there are boating restrictions – no skiing or towing and the boat speed limit is 16 km.
- Hikers and cyclists must keep to designated routes and avoid short-cutting trails which destroys soil structure and plant life.
- Swimmers should be aware that there are no lifeguards in provincial parks.
- Back-country areas are forbidden for dogs or other pets because of bears and other wildlife.