The Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area was established in 1987 and is managed by BC Parks. It lies on Highway 5, 45 kilometers north of Hope and 75 kilometers south of Merritt. It is described by BC Parks as a “transition zone between the coastal and southern interior environment with four different biogeoclimatic zones with granite peak features and historic features”.
The park covers 5,750 hectares of mountainous terrain and is a wonderful venue for outdoors enthusiasts. Activities such as fishing (Falls Lake), hunting, hiking, scrambling, climbing and horseback riding can be enjoyed. BC Parks has more information on licenses required for hunting and fishing.
The Coquihalla generally receives more sunlight than coastal BC and makes for a great daytrip when the weather turns gray in Vancouver in November and the winter months.
In winter, the Coquihalla gets heavy snowfall, ensuring a healthy snowpack that lasts from late fall to early spring. This means that backcountry skiing, splitboarding and snowshoeing are all great options for the colder months. Avalanche conditions should be monitored prior to a visit, and safety equipment should be used whenever venturing on avalanche terrain. The highway is also notorious for accidents and closures, so venturing on it when bad weather is expected is not recommended.
There are walk-in campsites 2 kilometers in at Falls Lake and backcountry camping is available in the park. Pets are also allowed in the park. Don’t forget to clean after them and bring back everything that was brought to a campsite. Pit and flush toilets are available throughout the park at rest areas.
Some of the popular outings in the area include Zoa Peak, Thar Ridge, and Needle Peak.