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  • Meg Cuthbert

Backroads Camping - Timberland Lake

We set off to camp at Timberland Lake not Echo Lake. We were seeking adventure in our off-roads map book and chose Echo lake for its rec site, possible fishing, and challenging location. We had the canoe on the truck and I had the song ‘Echo Beach’ stuck in my head. We were good to go.

Unfortunately the entire area surrounding Nanaimo Lakes is completely locked down due to logging. I won’t get into how fired-up I get about that, so we had to turn around and make a plan B. Which was basically driving to every road on the map only to be completely shut out, and then giving up and heading south.

Camping on Crown Land is still a relatively new thing for me. Daniel grew up doing it, but my childhood was full of Provincial Parks and Forest Service Recreation Sites. Sometimes I get nervous out there, but the key is to know where you are so you know that you’re not somewhere that you shouldn't be. However, if you know where you are (and are allowed to be there), camping in the backwoods can take you to some beautiful and private spots and it has changed my perspective on camping.

Looking for information about camping on Crown Land? Contact your local government office:


Eventually we found a series of open-gated, public roads. You can get into Timberland Lake through the Timberlands main, however there is a gate that can close at anytime. This entire series of roads is gated but the public is allowed in, and is accessible for off-road vehicles, dirt bikers, atvs, horses, hikers and pretty much anyone who has interest in being there. Our 4Runner didn’t have any issues with the roads but in certain spots I’d use caution if you’re not an experienced driver (like Daniel).

After basically driving all day we found a spot called Timberland Lake. A tiny-pond-like lake that has small cliffs on one side. We set up camp and took the canoe to go fishing. We fished for an hour or so, had no bites, and I’m pretty sure there’s no fish in there at all (but I guess that’s what all unfortunate fishers say).

Timberland Lake is near the Haslam Creek Suspension Bridge. The trail to the bridge is not far off the road but the turnoff isn’t well marked. The bridge is part of the TransCanada Trail.


A Bit of a Disclaimer

Whenever we go into the backwoods we always take the 10 Essentials and our Backroads Mapbook. We also back in our own firewood and pick up at least one garbage bag of trash at any given campsite so that we pack out more than we pack in.

Another important thing to note is our dope truck, a lifted 1997 Toyota 4Runner that we keep in peak performance. It’s a great machine, but we (Daniel) also know how to drive it.

Don’t be stupid, know how to handle wildlife, and don’t leave a mess.

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