Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Exploring Powell Lake

Powell Lake flows from rivers and glaciers in the Coastal Range through the short (only 500 metres or one-third of a mile long) Powell River into the Strait of Georgia near a town bearing its name.

Powell Lake is 51 kilometres (32 miles) long, has 480 kilometres (300 miles) of shoreline, and is 1,180 feet deep in the lower basin.

Come take a ride with me up the lake from the Shinglemill marina to the head of the lake.

Powell Lake was created when glaciers scoured out its fjord. After glaciers retreated 10,000 years ago, the land rose and sea water was trapped. Fresh water on top did not mix with the heavier salt water below. Click to read about our water sampling and UBC research.

Heading up the lake the first thing you notice is float cabins dotting the shore. The farther you go, the more you see. There are about 250 cabins on the lake in total. A moratorium in 1998 limits expansion and keeps our lake pristine.

As you proceed to the end of the lower lake, you spy tiny Cassiar Island in the distance.

Tuck your boat behind and get protection from what our friend John has named the North Sea. That open stretch can get some pretty big waves.

In the middle of Powell Lake is massive Goat Island. It rises abruptly in the south, but the north end has the highest granite bluff, home to mountain goats.

Stop in First Narrows between the south end of Goat Island and the mainland shore to fish for some trout for dinner. Just past First Narrows is the entrance to Hole in the Wall, our float cabin's home.

Today we are going to continue up the west side of Goat Island towards the head of the lake.

On the way, keep an eye out for Elvis, crooning away on a point named in his honour.

As you approach the northern end of Goat Island, stop at Olsen's logging dock for a stretch break. From here you can see Second Narrows at the North end of Goat Island and the high country beyond.

Get back in the boat and head straight for the snow capped peaks ahead. Bear to the left and you are almost to the head of Powell Lake. Come in the spring for spectacular waterfalls. This is an active portion of the lake, so keep your eyes open for tugs moving equipment and logs.

At the Head, you might even get to see trucks dumping their load into the holding pens, ready for market.

At the head of Powell Lake the Powell River begins it's journey to the sea.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. 

Resources about Powell Lake include:
Hope to see you here. -- Margy


  1. What a gorgeous Lake, amd i just love your images.

  2. I have lived in BC for almost 40 years, and have never the eXplored Powell River area! Your enticing photos make me think I'll have to rectify that soon.

  3. Thank you for this ride on the lake. It demands a great deal of knowledge to explore the area of the lake.I read about the old amount of salt water at the bottom of the lake and how you could manage to get your daily fresh water. Fascinating.
    Have a great time!
    Wil, ABCW Team.

  4. a fine eXploration, that


  5. A beautiful spot to visit, love all the images!

  6. Its beautiful Margy. It could very well be one of those bucket list places. We shall see.

  7. Nana Jo and Frugal - We do hope you make it out our way for a visit some day. It's well worth the trip. Look us up if you do. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy