Continuing our series on water sports, this week we would like to refer you to the most ancient of all water sports; swimming. As the Sunshine Coast has as its westerly boundary, the ocean, your mind may turn to swimming in salt water. We would like to make those of you who are new to the Sunshine Coast or are planning to purchase property here, or just visit, aware of the outstanding fresh water swimming that is offered in the many beautiful lakes. Not only are there opportunities for safe, clean swimming but there are instances where swimming can be combined with scenic hiking trails.
Along Highway 101 not far from Earl’s Cove you come upon Ruby Lake which has been a favourite swimming and tourist location for generations. There is public access to Ruby Lake from Dan Bosch Park, directly off Highway 101. There is a popular resort across the Highway from the lake and if you are a guest of the resort you have the use of a private dock and canoes. There are secluded areas on the lake to which you can paddle for a romantic interlude. Ruby Lake is also a popular venue for water skiing. It is only one of two of lakes on the Sunshine Coast where motor boats are allowed. Closer to Earl’s Cove there are several spots where you can get down to the lake from Highway 101.
Across the Highway from the entrance to Dan Bosch Park is a dirt road. If you follow this road up the hill you will connect with the Suncoaster Trail. If you go left you will reach Klein Lake which is a great lake for swimming. If you go right, you will reach Iris Griffiths Centre.
Sakinaw Lake is the largest of the swimming lakes on the Sunshine Coast. It is also the only lake besides Ruby Lake where motor boats are allowed so waterskiing is permissible. Unfortunately, there is no public beach area. However, there is a gravel boat launch area at the end of Sakinaw Lake Road. As Sakinaw Lake connects with the ocean it has a resident population of salmon.
In the Garden Bay area, there is Katherine Lake which is adjacent to a popular campsite and is an ideal location to camp with young children. The lake is small and warms up quickly. During the summer months, it is often crowded and sometimes difficult to obtain a campsite. Garden Bay Lake is on the other side of the road from Katherine Lake. It is a lake where swimming is allowed. However, it is a source of local water and sunscreen is discouraged when swimming in Garden Bay Lake.
If you prefer a secluded lake, then McNeil Lake may be for you. It is accessed from Menacher Road in Madeira Park. You proceed down the road for 6 or 7 kilometres. Just prior to the road ending there is a grassy path. It is about a 5 minute walk from there to McNeil Lake where the swimming is good.
One of the most popular lakes for swimming is Trout Lake which is about a 10 minute drive northwest from Sechelt. There is no beach and swimmers enter the lake from rock platforms. There are picnic tables and family gatherings there are frequent during the summer months. Canoes, kayaks and rowboats are frequently seen on the lake. Trout Lake is extremely deep and life jackets should be worn while boating. Trout Lake in the past has been stocked with fish. Many fishermen are seen, but few fish.
Enjoy the beauty of the Sunshine Coast Lakes.