Outdoor Activities

Fort St. James offers a wide variety of opportunities for getting involved in sports and recreation. Most of the local groups are run by volunteers, so it’s a great way to get involved in the community. Our setting on the south shore of beautiful Stuart Lake opens up a world of outdoor recreation.

If you love wilderness camping, hunting or trekking, our forests provide a vast expanse of wilderness for you to discover.

Don’t hide indoors this winter! You’ll miss a million opportunities for fun in our area. Ski downhill or cross country, go tobogganing or tubing to relive the thrill of your youth, take a wild snowmobile ride, indulge in a few hours of ice-fishing, challenge the back-country trails on snowshoes, or take a dog-sled ride through beautiful, unspoiled scenery.

Murray Ridge Ski Area

With 30 trails totaling 22 kms and a vertical drop of 518 metres, Murray Ridge is a fantastic hill for skiers and boarders of all abilities. Open December through March. Full rental shop, cafe and lounge located in the lodge.

Stuart Lake Golf Club

A challenging nine-hole course located on the shores of beautiful Stuart Lake. Book your own golf event, party, or wedding. The Stuart Lake Golf Course invites you to golf the links of New Caledonia.

Stuart Lake

Stuart Lake is one of the largest natural fresh water lakes in BC, providing over 275 kilometres of shoreline to explore. The lake is a popular recreation destination for many locals and visitors but what makes Stuart Lake even more special is that it is part of a chain of lakes extending over 300 kilometres long connecting Stuart with the Trembleur and Takla Lakes. Stuart lake is the main starting point for many.

Together the lakes provide some of the best rugged wilderness scenery in the north of BC via lakes and rivers . The remote, untouched country is a transportation route explored by mostly boaters and canoe enthusiasts. The Stuart-Trembleur-Takla Lake System is BC’s longest migration route for Salmon.

Throughout the chain of lakes are many coves, points and islands to moor a boat. There are a few ideal spots to moor your vessel and take out the binoculars to view some of the wildlife in the area… and there is plenty to see including grizzly bear, wolf, mule and white-tail deer, lynx, fox, beaver, marten, otter, and wolverine.

Cottonwood Marina

Located at 1995 Lakeshore Drive in Fort St. James, Cottonwood Marina offers sheltered mooring and boat launch for your recreational watercraft. We offer reasonable monthly rates, and a 10% discount if you prepay for the full season. Open mid-May through mid-September. Contact the Marina Manager at 250-996-8337 from May to September.

Paarens Beach Provincial Park

Situated on the south-west shore of beautiful Stuart Lake, Paarens Beach is a delightful small provincial park with an uncrowded campground, large beach and boat launch, it is an ideal base from which to explore the rich history and enjoy the multitude of recreational opportunities around Stuart Lake and the nearby community of Fort St. James.

Sowchea Bay Provincial Park

This campsite was once a Forest Service recreation site. Site layout is not BC Parks standard; larger RVs may have difficulty maneuvering. This is a busy destination for boaters and anglers, with a single lane concrete boat launch available with limited parking.

Mount Pope Provincial Park

Mount Pope is a day-use park popular with hikers and rock climbers. A 6.5 km hiking trail to the peak provides a panoramic view of Stuart Lake and the mountains to the north. Thirty-nine climbing routes have been documented. Natural values of Mount Pope park include rare plants and animal species associated with limestone rock formations and caves, as well as valuable winter range for mule deer.