Tucked away just 23km to the northwest of Mission, you can find Rolley Lake Provincial Park.
If British Columbia is rich in anything, it is rich in wide-stretching lakes flanked by splendorous sand beaches. This fact is no secret. However, that does mean that when the hot weather and holiday weekends roll around, the whole nation has the same idea of flocking to them.
That is why, for every deservedly famous lake, you need a quiet cove and lesser-known waters to hide away at during those hectic summer weekends. Rolley Lake Provincial Park fits this description exactly.
To get there, simply follow Highway 7 all the way to Maple Ridge. Then, turn north on 287th Street to Dewdney Trunk Road. Once you get to Bell Road, turn right onto it and then make a left turn to travel northwards to reach Rolley Lake Provincial Park.
Welcome to Rolley Lake Provincial Park
Rolley Lake is one of British Columbia’s quainter lakes with its park covering 115 hectares of gorgeous woodland space.
The area once called itself home to the Coast Salish First Nations people before becoming settled in 1888 by the couple James and Fanny Rolley, who the lake is named after.
Before long, like much of British Columbia at the time, the area fell into the hands of the early 1900s logging industry. The lake itself was used as a storage pond to hold single short logs called shingle bolts.
These days, a gorgeous second-growth woodland covers Rolley Lake Provincial Park. There is a three-section paved car parking lot for up 64 vehicles, a day-use area, a separate camping area, and a beautiful winding hike that will take you up close to admire Rolley Lake’s pair of gorgeous waterfalls.
The lake is calm and serene enough to bathe in peaceful tranquillity, while the more action-minded are free to amuse themselves aboard their kayaks or canoes. To preserve Rolley Lake’s zen atmosphere, powerboats are not permitted.
The day-use area has all the facilities for picnics, including the tables themselves. BBQs are permitted, and there are even special metal hot-waste bins provided so that you can clean up afterward simply and safely.
Other than these picnicking facilities, there is no food available at Rolley Lake, so plan ahead and bring enough snacks for the duration of your stay.
You will also find a small children’s playground near to the beach, to amuse the little ones. There is also a boat launch in the day-use area.
The lake, forest, and adjacent wetlands play host to an astounding variety of bird species. Angling for the stocked cutthroat, and rainbow trout is allowed – if you can outmaneuver your main rival, the elegant blue heron!
Dogs are allowed at Rolley Lake Provincial Park – but remember to keep them on their leash.
Rolley Lake Campground
If you want to stay the night at Rolley Lake Provincial Park, the campgrounds have 64 campsites (both for tents and recreational vehicles). They have great facilities, which are always well-maintained and wheelchair accessible.
You will find showers, flushable toilets, and a sani-station across the campsite, which is set amongst strands of vine maple and western hemlock to provide you with shade and privacy.
The general season for camping at Rolley Lake Provincial Park runs from April through to October, with reservations for group camping trips available as long as you book ahead of time.
One thing which distinguishes the waters and shores of Rolley Lake is the calm and peaceful atmosphere. Now – and this may be a dividing factor, depending on your thoughts on water sports – but loud powerboats and jet skis are not allowed here!
This means that Rolley Lake Provincial Park is the perfect place to really soak in the sound (or lack, therefore!) of your surroundings while you float or sunbathe.
It also makes it an excellent spot to learn how to canoe or kayak safely and away from those hectic faster boats. Or, for the more romantically inclined, the ideal place for a dreamy afternoon paddle.
The lack of boat noise is also great news for the lake’s thriving wild bird population, so this place is a hot tip for the birdwatchers amongst you! The lake even includes a boardwalk area to the western end, which will lead you across a wetland zone.
Anglers may be able to find better lakes for fishing, although Rolley Lake is both permitted for fishing and stocked at the beginning of the season with cutthroat and rainbow trout. There are several docks stretching out into the waters to fish from, although stocks are often all fished out by the end stretch of the summer. Please note, Rolley Lake has a two-fish-per-day catch limit.
Hiking Rolley Lake and Falls
As Rolley Lake Provincial Park is a small place, there is really only one worthwhile hiking route, unless you wanted to join your route up to the nearby Cascade or Steelhead Falls for a more considerable trek.
However, the main attraction of this short hike is that it is completely gorgeous, while still being easy enough for children and the elderly. It is even accessible by wheelchair and for those carrying prams. Of course, dog owners can bring their furry family members, too!
An extra bit of effort is required to reach the waterfall, with a small amount of steep climbing, but this section is entirely optional.
Hike Name: Rolley Lake Loop and Falls
Journey Length: 5.7km, taking an average of 2 hours.
Difficulty Level: Very Easy
To begin the hike, simply begin at the car parking lot and take the trail leading to the left, where you will pass the beach and its picnic tables. The main section of the hike then takes place on an excellently maintained flat loop around the lake, where you can gaze out over the serene waters.
Once you reach the forest, you can follow it through until you come across an opening onto the wetland boardwalk at the southwest side of the lake. This picturesque point makes one of the better views of the journey, so take your time to breathe it all in. There are even scattered benches if you wanted to take some time to enjoy the scene and the bountiful local birdlife.
After re-entering the forest, you will eventually come to a junction that will allow you to either complete your loop back to the car park or take the slightly more difficult journey to the falls. The fall’s path is more rugged, steep, and overgrown than other parts of Rolley Lake Provincial Park but should not prove too much of a challenge.
To reach the falls, take the left turn at the junction through to the camping area. Go left again here, and you should be greeted by a signpost for the falls. We couldn’t go any further at this point as the trail was closed.
If you are planning on completing the falls loop once it reopens, be aware that it is likely to be slippery and slightly treacherous in parts, so bring appropriate footwear. However, the rest of the flat loop around the lake can be completed easily, whatever the conditions may be, so it makes the perfect activity no matter the weather!
If you are looking for some of the Best Ever BC Camping spots, this is one of them for sure. You might also want to check out our favorite BC Camping Spot – Golden Ears Provincial Park.