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Ultimate Guide to Visiting Johnson Lake BC

Johnson Lake is tucked away in the rural area of Barriere and near Kamloops and Sun Peaks, BC and it’s a popular thing to do if you’re in Kamloops or nearby.

As with many BC lakes like Lillooet Lake, Kentucky Alleyne, or Jones Lake, Johnson Lake in BC is home to crystal clear waters (so clear that it looks like boats and paddleboards are levitating!) and beautiful surroundings.

In fact, the waters are so clear it’s sometimes referred to as the Beautiful Caribbean of the North.

If you’re staying in Kamloops or visiting Sun Peaks in the summer, a trip to Johnson Lake is the perfect day trip!

Here’s everything you need to know about Johnson Lake near Kamloops.

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Johnson Lake

Johnson Lake is fed by an underground spring where the water flows up through the surrounding limestone rocks in the area. This is how it gets its super clear, turquoise color. It’s sometimes said to be the clearest lake in BC.

There are two Johnson Lakes; little Johnson Lake and Big Johnson Lake. Little Johnson Lake is reserved for guests of Johnson Lake Resort BC whereas Big Johnson Lake can be accessed by those not staying at the resort.

Big Johnson Lake is between Barrier and Adams Lake in a remote area north of Kamloops.

At its deepest point, the lake is around 60 meters deep, and the lake is 5km long. At the lake, you’re also at around 1160m above sea level so it’s typically a little cooler here than it is down in Kamloops.

If you’re looking for Johnson Lake weather, you should look up the weather for Sun Peaks Mountain weather as that’ll be most similar.

There are no beaches at Johnson Lake as part of an effort to keep the water as pristine and clean as it currently is. However, there is a picnic area and some bathroom facilities.

How to get to Johnson Lake

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Most visitors to Johnson Lake will be coming from Kamloops. Kamloops to Johnson Lake is around 45-60 minutes driving.

Take Hwy 5 north and turn off at Agate Bay Road at Louis Creek. This is a paved road with some beautiful scenery of hills and fields.

Turn off to Minnova Road which is a gravel road. The road is mostly fine, but it would be best to have a vehicle with high clearance.

Soon you’ll see signs for the Johnson Lake turn-off. There are a couple of choices here. You can go to the lake from the Johnson Lake Resort if you’re staying there.

Or, you can access the lake from the public sites which are an additional 6 km down the gravel road. This gravel road can be in a bit of a worse condition but was okay when we visited.

If you’re coming from Sun Peaks to Johnson Lake, you don’t need to go all the way to the highway. You can take a bit of a shortcut by taking the Heffley Louise Creek Road out of Whitecroft. Sun Peaks to Johnson Lake is around 70-90 minutes.

If you’re heading to Kamloops from Whistler or Vancouver to Kamloops, my road trip guides include some of the best places to stop.

johnson lake bc

Johnson Lake Camping

Johnson Lake BC camping is available through Sites and Trails BC and costs $15 per site. It’s maintained from May 15 to October 31 and there are 12 sites.

The Johnson Lake campground is at the far end of the lake from the road you come in on. It cannot be reserved and is available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The campsite is often full during the summer, especially at weekends. Don’t count on getting a spot if the weather is nice.

Also, don’t count on getting the lake to yourself when camping Johnson Lake BC, as it’s a very popular day trip destination that can get very, very busy.

Johnson Lake Resort

Johnson Lake Resort has been around since 1952 and is the only resort on Johson Lake. The resort is open from June 1 to October and offers 6 Johnson Lake cabins and 8 privately situated campsites all with access to showers.

There is a boat launch and dock for registered guests and you can rent boats too. On Little Johnson Lake there are row boats and paddleboats for use.

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Best things to do at Johnson Lake

Johnson Lake is the perfect place to spend a day or a lazy weekend camping if you manage to snag a spot. While you’re there, here are some of the things to do at Johnson Lake.

  • Fishing for rainbow trout
  • Swimming and snorkeling: The lake’s clear waters make swimming and snorkeling a cool and exciting adventure.
  • Paddleboarding: Paddleboarding on Johnson Lake is a calm and beautiful way to see the lake.
  • Canoeing or kayaking: You can explore the lake at your own pace by canoeing or kayaking.
  • Putting along the lake in a small motor boat.
  • Biking and hiking the surrounding Johnson Lake trails

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Fishing in Johnson Lake British Columbia

There is some Johnson Lake BC fishing available with Rainbow Trout being common in the lake.

There is a spawning site at the lake and it’s important to stay clear of this area when recreating to help support healthy fish populations.

You need a BC fishing license to fish in Johnson Lake.

FAQs about visiting Johnson Lake Kamloops

Are dogs allowed at Johnson Lake?

Dogs are allowed at Johnson Lake but they must be leashed.

Where is Johnson Lake BC?

Johnson Lake (sometimes confused as Johnston Lake) is in British Columbia Canada not too far from Kamloops and Sun Peaks in BC’s interior. For Johnson Lake BC directions, see above.

How far is Johnson Lake from Kamloops?

Johnson Lake is located approximately 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) north of Kamloops, British Columbia. The drive takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on road conditions, as the journey involves traveling on gravel roads.

Final thoughts on visiting Johnson Lake British Columbia

Johnson Lake near Kamloops BC is one of the prettiest lakes in BC and is often referred to as the clearest lake.

In truth, you can find beautiful lakes like this all over the province with Jones Lake Chilliwack, Lillooet Lake, and Kentucky Alleyne Lake near Merrit being good examples. There are also some beautiful lakes near Vancouver, Whistler lakes, and lakes near Squamish all of which are worth checking out if you happen to be nearby.

Whether you’re staying at the Johnson Lake BC Resort or are looking to go camping Johnson Lake BC, you’re sure to have a fun time exploring this beautiful part of the province.

As always, remember to follow leave no trace principles and take everything you brought in, back out with you to help protect Johnson Lake Barriere for future visitors.

Last Updated on August 17, 2023 by Hannah

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