Summer is the perfect time to explore with your dog – and what better way than by camping? One of my (and definitely Avy’s) favourite summer activities is camping. Who doesn’t love being outside, going for hikes and swimming in the lake? But anyone who camps knows that not all campsites are created equal – they differ widely with the level of privacy, services and amenities on-site or close by. For me my priority is always finding a place that’s dog friendly – not just one that allows dogs but one that allows me to have fun WITH my dog, rather than having her tethered in our site all day.
Dog Friendly Camping at Cultus Lake
So far Sunnyside Campground in Cultus lake is the most dog friendly campground that I have come across. Dogs must be tethered while they are in your site (this is standard anywhere you go) but they have not one but three dog beaches. The beaches are located at either end of the campgrounds lakefront area with one right in the middle. They are big enough that dogs and humans can swim together (and this is tons of fun) and because there are 3 of them if you don’t like the mix of dogs at one you can walk on down to the next one and have a swim there. All of the dog swim areas have a garbage can close by and all of them are equip with poop bag stations. Note: I have often found that the poop bag stations are empty during the busy weekends, so be sure to bring your own bags just in case.
Hiking With Your Dog at Cultus Lake
Close by to the campgrounds are several hiking trails ranging from easy to intermediate in terms of length, technicality and elevation gain so if you’ve had enough of lake swimming you can head over and get some exercise with your dog in the woods. One of my favourites is Teapot Hill. When you get to the top you can hike over to another trail which has some of the funkiest moss covered tree branches that I have ever seen – well worth checking out. Both of these trails are on-leash only.
A bit farther away but worth the drive is an abundance of hiking trails on Chilliwack Lake Road. Several of these hikes are rated “off leash” so you can let your dog have a good run while you enjoy your hike.
Bosumarne Falls This short hike is only about 15 minutes long but the falls at the top make it worth the stop. Featuring both lower and upper falls it’s a nice easy activity your family can enjoy.
The very popular Lindeman Lake hike is another favourite. The beauty of the lake at the top cannot be beat. This is an on-leash hike but still well worth it for the views. From Lindeman Lake you can carry on to Green Drop Lake if you are looking for a longer hike. Unfortunately we weren’t able to complete this part of the hike as there was an area of large boulders at the beginning and Avy didn’t have the agility navigate them.
Off-Leash Dog Parks in and Around Cultus Lake, BC
Not only are their three off leash dog beaches right in Sunnyside campground there are also several off leash dog parks in the area that are worth a visit.
Cultus Lake Off-Leash Swim Area: Located within Sunnyside campground there are 3 separate dog swim areas. One at each end of the campsite and a third right in the middle next to the boat launch.
Vedder Park Dog Off-Leash Area: This park is about a 5-10 minute drive from the lake and is worth a visit if you need to tire your pup out. It has a large fenced off leash area for larger dogs and a separate smaller fenced area for small dogs. The park also has an on-leash walking trail that goes along the river and a playground for the kids. You can even find some food trucks in the lot next to the off-leash area if you are hungry.
Cultus Lake Plaza Off-Leash Area: If you find yourself stopping at the plaza to pick up dinner or on your way back from the amusement parks you can take your dog for a run at the dog park at the plaza. Located at the end of the strip of shops the park is a large fenced area. There is not much in the way of amenities but it’s a great area to give your dog a good run.
Island 22 Off-Leash Dog Park: A longer drive than the other local dog parks, Island 22 is still worth a visit. There is a huge, fully fenced off-leash area and a sperate area for small dogs. The park has river access and lots of room to play and go for a walk.
Amenities at Sunnyside Campground
Amenities-wise Sunnyside has everything you need for a camping trip – they offer seasonal, full-hook up and tenting sites, waterside camping, a grass volleyball court, horseshoes, a sandy beach, playground for kids, convenience store for those small things you may have forgotten (be prepared to pay a premium though) and even a movie night on the weekends.
If “glamping” is your thing the full hook-up sites have the advantage of giving you all the comforts of home with water, sewage and electrical while still offering you the camping feeling – they are situated on dirt pads between the trees – no concrete in sight. It is important to note that the presence of dirt pads does mean that the area can get muddy on rainy days (no shortage of these on the West Coast) so do come prepared to do some cleaning!
Tourist Attractions at Cultus Lake, BC
As a tourist destination Cultus Lake has seen considerable growth in recent years. Within walking distance of the campsite you will find the Cultus Lake Waterslides, the Giggle Ridge Amusement Park, Dino Town (suitable for younger children) and boat, kayak and canoe rentals. You definitely won’t run out of things to do.
The Downside to Sunnyside Campground
The only downside to Sunnyside campground is the proximity of the sites to one another – if you love the privacy that a Provincial Campsite can offer then this site isn’t for you. There are tree’s between the sites but they aren’t as dense as you’ll find at a Provincial site and the sites themselves are definitely smaller. You can create your own privacy with tarps and other shelters and most people don’t seem too bothered by it.