Atluck Lake Camping and Exploring Zeballos ~ Road Tripping Northern Vancouver Island
I will never get enough northern Vancouver Island road tripping; there are dozens of communities to check out and thousands of lakes, recreation sites, beaches, and other natural wonders to explore. Every time I go, I see so many new things and the feeling like I want to go home just never happens. Exploring remote communities like Zeballos and discovering camping sites such as Atluck Lake are simply amazing and exciting. My best tool for finding these places is hands down the Vancouver Island Backroad Mapbook (BRMB). You can find it everywhere, even while you’re about to pay for groceries at Save On Foods. It’s there, in the corner just cooing at the adventurous side of your soul while you wait for every item to get scanned. It will not disappoint you if you reach out and sift through it’s rich pages. I promise. The detailed maps will show you locations for caves, waterfalls, swimming locations, campsites, plane crashes, fishing hot spots, and unique natural attractants like the Eternal Fountain. The back of the book has great lists of camping, trail adventures, fishing locations, snow activities and more. Dude. Just go get this!
Camping at BC Recreation Campsites
There are more than 1200 recreation campsites in BC, including Vancouver Island, the mainland, and Haida Gwaii. These sites are maintained by the BC Ministry of Tourism Culture and the Arts, and many of them are free to stay at. If you have to pay, I haven’t found one more than $20 yet, and that was like a filet mignon kind of price- relatively speaking! These campsites are very basic and only sometimes have fire rings and outhouses. Most of them are very simple and can usually only accommodate a couple of campers. However, there are some larger recreation campsites such as Atluck Lake that can take up to twenty or more. These sites do not often have garbage and recycling cans, so it is very important to be prepared to carry your trash out with you. Always practice the outdoor ethics of pack it in, pack it out and make sure you leave your campsite cleaner than when you found it. To find a BC Recreation Campsite close to you, check out their website or use that BRMP I ogled over earlier. http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/
Exploring Zeballos and Camping at Atluck Lake
Camping at Atluck Lake was an ideal place to spend two beautiful summer nights with good friends, it is a BC Recreation Campsite that is free to stay at with minimal facilities and offers lakefront camping. So freaking nice! We explored the nearby community of Zeballos during one of our days here. Zeballos is nestled beautifully in between the head of Zeballos Inlet and dozens of mountains, it is 192km away from Campbell River, with approximately 40km of gravel logging road from Highway 19. This community was founded from a gold rush in the early 1930’s, where a town seemingly sprouted up overnight to accommodate the influx of prospectors. At one point, there was a population of about 1500 people; there were three hotels, a bakery, laundry, a local weekly newspaper and even TWO taxi services! In 1939, most miners left for the war and not too long after that, all of the mines were shut down. There were a few more attempts over the years to reestablish the mines, however they were not successful. Nowadays, the main industry is logging and the 2016 population count was 107. To read further into their interesting history, check out their website here!
We visited the local museum which has a ton of information and some really neat artifacts. My favorite was the can of carrot juice that made a dig at the governments failed promise to pave roads and fix potholes on the North Island. We walked the in-town trail, passing rusty mining equipment and finished at the ocean where we saw two whales meandering the Inlet. I loved the look of all the old architecture and felt that we were really in a remote community with rich history. I can’t wait to go back and spend more time here.