Wahleach Lake, or better known as Jones Lake, isn’t quite a “hidden gem” anymore but we want to write about it anyways. This BC Hydro reservoir near Chilliwack provides one of the best free car camping locations of the Lower Mainland. It is located 8km up a pot-holed forest service road, so a high-clearance 4×4 is highly recommended.
The beauty of each season can be seen at Jones Lake. It can be visited year-round, except for during heavy snowfall. To avoid the crowds looking for free camping in the summer, both trips we made to the lake last year was during the shoulder seasons.
Once you make it up the FSR, there are three campgrounds with fire pits to choose from. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can drive past all three sites and set up camp right along the water, according to Bob Kronbauer of Vancouver Is Awesome. As our beloved ’98 Jeep Cherokee, Matilda, was having a few problems and all the campsites were practically empty, we decided to play it safe and stay on the campgrounds.
One thing we love to do at Jones Lake is to go fishing. Grab some buds and some beer and enjoy the views while you wait for a bite. I would recommend finding yourself a boat to troll out on the water because it is littered with logs near the shores. Alas, we had to make do with fishing off the beach. Jones is filled with rainbow trout and kokanee, and is stocked with approximately 2000 cutthroat trouts every year around late May or early June. You can check the stocked fish reports on gofishbc.com. I caught my first ever fish here! We cooked the rainbow trout over the fire, layering it with bacon and lemon and wrapping it with tinfoil. It was SO GOOD.
Unfortunately we weren’t so lucky in the fall, probably as the lake had been fished out in the summer. Our friend Kevin got an early bite but it became the one that got away, and it let all its fish friends know to avoid us.
Once it gets dark, you can either hang out on the beach to stargaze or get that campfire going at your campsite. It’s been way too long since I’ve made it up to Jones Lake, but I’m definitely hoping to get a trip there soon!
Have you been to Jones Lake? We’d love to hear where your favourite spot to camp around the lake is. Please comment below!
Campers: Devon, Josie, Kevin and Nick.
All photos by me, Josie.