The 1,217-hectare Sasquatch Provincial Park, near Harrison Hot Springs, touches on four beautiful lakes, including the massive Harrison Lake, which is surrounded by magnificent mountains covered in second-growth deciduous forests. The word sasquatch comes from the Coast Salish word sasqac, which is the name of a mythical creature that is half-man half-beast and believed to posses an evil spirit and should be avoided.
The 60-km long Harrison Lake is famous for its hot springs and was once a part of an early transportation route from the Fraser River to the Cariboo goldfields. Settlement of the area began in 1885 when a bathhouse and hotel was constructed. The historic Harrison Hot Springs Hotel still holds the commercial rights to the hot mineral waters today and continues to be a popular tourism destination. In the early 1900s, logging began around the lake and depleted most of the old-growth forests. Although smaller in scale, the logging industry is still important to the area today.
There are 177 vehicle/tent campsites in this park divided amongst three campgrounds – Hicks Lake open April 1 – October 9, Bench Lake open May 19 – September 4 and Deer Lake open year round. There is also a group campsite available, but reservations are required. Aside from basic facilities, the park provides flush toilets and a sani-station.
There is also a children’s playground located at the Lakeside campground. On summer evenings, natural history talks are presented at the amphitheatres. The park has a large day-use/picnic area at Green Point, which offers swimming and sunbathing opportunities. If you camp at Deer Lake, watch for mountains goats on the steep-sided slopes of Slollicum Bluffs that rise above the lake’s north side. Early in the morning is the best time to see them as they pick their way along the bluffs. And keep your eyes open, too, for the park’s namesake.
Easy walking trails loop around Hicks Lake. Budget an hour or two to complete the round-trip route. One of the rewards is that the trail passes Sandy Beach at the south end of the lake. Far less visited than the beach beside the campground, this is a pleasant resting place. You may also wish to explore the Beaver Pond Interpretive Trail beside Hicks Lake, an easy 20-minute walk. Another mostly level trail winds its way around Deer Lake nearby. Watch for osprey, who swoop down on unsuspecting fish as you explore the lake’s south side. Miles of old logging and hydro power roads run through the hills surrounding Hicks and Deer Lakes in Sasquatch Provincial Park, perfect for a moderately challenging but lengthy mountain-bike ride.
Both Deer and Hicks Lake are ideal for angling from a small boat. Trout fishing is popular at both stocked lakes, and also at aptly named Trout Lake closer to the park entrance. If you don’t have a boat, try casting from the shoreline beside the camping area at Hicks Lake. There are two boat launches provided by the park, one at Hicks Lake and another at the Green Point day-use area. Powerboats are only permitted on Harrison and Hicks Lakes, and only electric motors are allowed on Deer Lake. All motorboats are prohibited on Trout Lake, which makes it an excellent site for canoeing and kayaking.
Paddle to isolated Sandy Beach at Hick’s south end, well worth the journey. It’s always less crowded than the beach beside the campground. Two small islands also lie offshore in Hicks Lake and make for easygoing exploring. Commercial canoe rentals are available at Hicks and Deer Lakes.
Sasquatch Provincial Park is located off Highway 7, 6 km northeast of Harrison Hot Springs in the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region of British Columbia. To access the park, follow the signs through Harrison Hot Springs and Green Point.
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