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July 2024

Bluey Lake (Merritt, BC) - Backroads Mapbooks & Red Paddle Co

Photos & Trip Report by: Cassie Markham (@cassiemarkham_)

Bluey Lake is by no means a “hidden gem”, located just south of Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park, this area is Instagram famous for it’s beautiful turquoise waters and dry climate. We headed up in early June last year, hoping to beat the summer crowds, before school was out for the season. We arrived on a Thursday afternoon but were disappointed to find that the North entrance to Bluey lake was closed (for some much needed campground improvements). Our back-up plan was to camp at nearby Kentucky-Alleyne lakes but unfortunately, the portions that had opened for the season were already packed for the weekend.

Feeling a little deflated after our four hour drive, we stopped to speak with the park ranger and asked if he had any other suggestions nearby. After accessing our vehicle, he asked if we had a Backroads Mapbook for the area. Luckily we always bring ours with us, as well as the virtual option in GAIA GPS.  He showed us a route that led to the south side of Bluey lake through some 4x4 roads and shortly after that, we were on our way!

It took about 60-90 minutes from Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park to navigate to the back side of the lake, but there are also some options to enter from the south if you plan to come here from the get-go. We arrived at the site right around dusk and found about three other groups, we were easily able to find a spot a little ways back from the lake shore (which let’s face it, with a toddler and wild dog was probably the right move anyway)! We set-up camp with our favourite gear from Nemo Equipment and settled in for the night.

The next morning we woke up early and got out on the water for a paddle with our boards from Red Paddle Co. We have both the Ride 10’6” and Voyager 12’6” boards and have been using them for a couple years now. I love how easy they are to pack and how sturdy they are on the water. We opted for the Voyager for Matt as he often has Aspen or our dog Summit on the front of the board and the longer length helps accommodate the added weight. We’ve even had all three of us on the board before.

We also love the ATB Transformer Bag introduced in 2022. RED Paddle did a total redesign of their all terrain backpack that offers a bagless carry system. This skeleton system means you can access more remote waterways without the need for a bulky bag and just take the straps and your pump. We’ve tested this out a few times and it makes hauling the board into some more remote spots much easier than any other board I’ve tried.

Getting out on the water at Bluey lake, especially early in the morning with the main entrance closed was a really cool experience. We spent a few hours navigating through hidden coves, and floating around the little island off the North shore.

While we were initially disappointed when we first arrived day earlier and found the park closed, we found ourselves wrapping up the weekend feeling grateful for the opportunity to adventure over to this lesser known side of the lake and enjoy this special spot nearly to ourselves.