Alouette Lake - Trip Description
Total distance (to end of lake and back): 40.0 km (24.9 miles)
Coordinates (WGS 84):
N49 17.630 W122 29.230 - Day Area Boat Launch Put-in location
N49 19.629 W122 26.766 - Entrance to Gold Creek
N49 20.787 W122 24.038 - Moyer Creek campground
N49 20.888 W122 23.239 - The Narrows campground
N49 23.328 W122 19.549 - Beach at the north end of the lake
N49 22.694 W122 19.385 - Stave Lake Intake
Canadian Topographic Maps:
Located in Golden Ears Provincial Park, Alouette Lake is a long slender body of water spanning some 17 kilometres through mountainous scenery.
The lake is an integral part of the Alouette-Stave-Ruskin hydro-electric power generation system that provides electricity to the Fraser Valley. At the south end of the lake is a large earthen dam and at the north end on the east shore is a large concrete structure that is the inflow to the tunnel which carries water to Stave Lake, about 42 metres (140 ft) below. Water from Alouette Lake is used to regulate the level of water in Stave Lake, which is host to two hydro electric dams.
There is a large public day area at the south end of the lake. You can put-in at the beach or you can use the public boat launch that is located immediately north of the beach. Note that during the summer season, the boat launch can be extremely busy (if you're going to use the beach for access, a cart would be helpful as it's a bit of a walk from the parking area).
As you paddle north from the boat launch, you'll travel past two large vehicle campsites before reaching Gold Creek. Although the campsites are not visible from the water, the beach areas below them on the lake are fairly busy in the summer.
Be sure to explore Gold Creek. You can only paddle about half a kilometre up the creek before it becomes too shallow to go further, but it makes for an interesting little sidetrip.
On the north side of Gold Creek is another vehicle campsite. Again, the area along the lake below the campsite can be very busy at times.
After the Gold Creek campsite you'll notice a lot fewer people as you paddle along the shoreline. There are a couple of small beaches along the way where you can often find boaters spending the day or perhaps camping overnight.
At about 8.5 km from the boat launch you'll reach the alluvial fan at Moyer Creek and the Moyer Creek Campground. There are several wilderness campsites and a pit toilet at Moyer Creek.
Travel another kilometre and you come to the Narrows -- a small channel about 100 metres across which joins the top and the bottom of the lake. At one time Alouette Lake was actually two lakes, joined by a marsh. Increased water levels after the dam was built joined the the two lakes and created the Narrows. There are six campsites at the Narrows and a pit toilet. The campsites are tucked in the trees a short distance from the beach.
As you paddle past the Narrows you'll find the lake takes on a completely different feeling -- it's narrower and there are not as many places to exit your boat. At the top northwest end of the lake there is a large gravel beach where the Alouette River enters the lake. There are a number of suitable spots to camp here. At the northeast end of the lake is a small shallow cove that makes a great spot to have a swim on a hot summer day.
A little over a kilometre from the north end of the lake on the east shore is the Stave Lake intake. The stark contrast of concrete and cement against the trees make it very difficult to miss.
About two kilometres north of the Narrows on the east shore is a dock that is owned by the Department of Corrections. This dock is for the Stave Lake Correctional Facility which is hidden in the trees a few hundred metres from the lakeshore. No trespassing signs are predominently posted in the area.
There are few signs of logging in the Alouette Lake area -- you may find a few remnants of earlier logging in the form of old dock pilings and abandonded pieces of equipment.
One of the negative aspects of Alouette Lake is that it can be extremely busy with power boats during the warmer months. There can be a lot of people picnicking and camping and unfortunately, not all of them pack out their garbage and beer cans. Nonetheless, Alouette Lake makes a terrific destination for a day or two of paddling.
From Lougheed Highway or Dewdney Trunk Road, turn north on 232nd Street and follow it for approximetly 2 km (from Dewdney Trunk Raod) then turn right onto Fern Crescent and follow road into park. Drive along Fern Road for approximately 11 km. Watch for the entrance to the day area and boat launch. There is a fee for parking.
Trip Date: August 21-23, 2005
Weather: Sunny with cloudy periods
Water condition: Smooth, rippled, light chop
Submitted by: Dan Millsip
Images copyright: Dan Millsip