British Columbia – Hunkering Down At Norbury Lake

As we continued our travels through Canada, we had a few days before our reservations started at Banff National Park. We had overstayed our welcome at Fernie Mountain Resort and had to move on. While we survived the big Fernie burn, I was in recovery mode and not good for much. On the recommendations of friends and fellow Canadians, we didn’t make any reservations. A large amount of first-come, first-serve parks should make it easy to find a place to stay. So with that so-called ‘sound advice’, we set off to Norbury Lake Park. 

The small year-round campground in British Columbia is just 16 kilometers south of Fort Steele (a tourist site from the original gold rush town complete with train rides and blacksmith demonstrations). Nearby Cranbrook provides dining options, beer tasting, and grocery stores. 

The campground sits between 2 lakes (Norbury and Peckham) with many opportunities to fish, swim and paddle and even a few trails to walk to and around the lakes. With 46 sites and an early in the week arrival, we expected to have our choice of sites. But it was not to be!

We arrived at Norbury early on a Tuesday and found only 3 empty spaces to choose from.  After several loops of the 46 spaces, we chose what looked to be the best fit for our 31 feet. We prefer a close to level site, good spacing from neighbors and preferable quiet neighbors. Sunshine on our roof would be a bonus as we prefer to rely on solar for power. 

Each site has a fire ring and plenty of shade (not a good location to rely on your solar). The host provided wood for a small fee (yeah none of that free firewood we had heard about). We did get a kick out of the campground host – who assumed our Texas plates meant we supported Trump. It was a pretty big surprise to find a Canadian Trump fan. I didn’t think such a thing existed (or at least I hoped not). 

There is some boondocking just north of the campground. We scouted the area with the idea of moving over there. But didn’t find any decent spaces for our size rig.  A few too many ‘I have been here forever’ types of rigs. The far side fo the small lake had some spots for van lifers/4 wheelers – but nothing we could access. 

While I spent most of my time taking care of the injury and just feeling sorry for myself, we did get out and do some exploring.  Walking to the lakes and enjoying the beauty of the area.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t peddle, paddle, swim or even go on any significant lengthy hikes. We were still on the lookout for infection. Yes, I was super fun to be around!

We had planned originally to stay just a few days and move on to another park.  But with such slim pickings on sites and the weekend approaching, we decided to stay put and do day trips to the surrounding area.

We made a day trip to Kimberly to do a little exploring.  Once the largest lead-zinc mine, now it is a tourist destination. Home to world-class skiing, snowboarding, fishing, whitewater rafting, biking, and hiking.  During our visit, we stumbled on a music festival, a brewery tasting room and some great food. Had I not been injured, we might have moved over to Kimberly to enjoy the biking and hiking which looked fantastic.

For future trips, we would happily stay at Norbury Lake. But I think I would push on to Kimberly for the added activities available and access to restaurants and hiking.

We wrapped up our Norbury stay and hit the road for a quick overnight in Geyser Springs on the edge of Banff National Park.  Time to get the laundry done and prepare to enter the national park! 

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