According to the travel experts, “Charlie Lake is THE lake in Fort St. John. Archaeologists have recorded human activity in the caves surrounding (it) dating back 11,000 years…” (ehcanadatravel.com)
The lake is at Alaska Highway Mile 53 (Kilometre 85) and is highly recommended as a place to stop and relax!
It’s unlikely that human activity around beautiful Charlie Lake 11,000 years ago was as much fun as it is today! Outside of socializing in the caves, early inhabitants of Northern BC likely spent a good share of their time chasing four-legged food and working to stay warm.
Today at Charlie Lake Provincial Park, there’s a busy boat launch for fishermen (great trolling for walleye, northern pike and yellow perch if you have a BC fishing license) as well as for recreational boaters, kayakers, canoeists and windsurfers.
A day-use picnic area beside the boat launch includes an adventure playground, large grass field, picnic shelter, horseshoe pits, and parking spaces for 40 vehicles plus boat trailers.
There are also some easy-access swimming areas for Alaska Highway travelers looking to cool off on hot days!
Thirteen kilometres in length, Charlie Lake is 8 km (5.0 mi) west of Fort St. John, and provides water to the city. It’s at 700 metres (2,300 feet) in elevation and is part of the Stoddart Creek waterway, a tributary of the Beatton River, itself a major tributary of the powerful Peace River.
The settlement of Charlie Lake is at the south end of the lake and there are two parks along the shorelines: Charlie Lake Provincial Park on the west side, and Beatton Provincial Park on the east.
Charlie Lake Provincial Park protects its aspen, birch, alder and lodgepole pine trees as well as a range of flora and berry bushes. You might see moose, deer and black bears here and you can count on squirrels, chipmunks, beavers, snowshoe hares and muskrats to show their faces. Never feed or approach bears or other wildlife. Watch the skies above. Woodland birds and waterfowl are also frequent visitors to the Charlie Lake area.
Activities at Charlie Lake Provincial Park:
Camping (vehicle-accessible camping for $20/party/night)
Swimming: (no lifeguards)
Campsite fire pits
Parking for 40 vehicles
Horseshoes (game) pit
Adventure playground for children
Pit toilets (one wheelchair-accessible toilet)
How to get to: Charlie Lake Provincial Park
Travel north on the Alaska Highway from Fort St. John for approximately 11 kilometres. You’ll find the entrance to Charlie Lake Provincial Park where the Alaska Highway meets Highway 29.