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Located in south central British Columbia, Mabel Lake shares its shore with Mabel Lake Provincial Park and private development. Found in the midst of beautiful mountain scenery, Mabel Lake lies within the Shuswap River system where the landscape changes from the forested slopes of the Thompson Plateau and the rainy slopes of the Shuswap Highlands. Drive 37 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Vernon in the North Okanagan region, and you will find a welcome retreat in the 14,759-acres (5,990 hectares) of Mabel Lake.
Originally the home of the Salish people, Mabel Lake was first visited by fur traders in 1811. Mabel Charles, daughter of a nineteenth century Hudson's Bay Company manager, became the namesake of Mabel Lake. By 1866 the first white settler had arrived in the North Okanagan region, soon to be followed by a small rush of gold miners, cattle ranchers and farmers.
Today Mabel Lake meanders through the rural landscape of the 760-square mile (1,969 square kilometer) Shuswap River watershed. The Shuswap River flows through 5,137-acre (2,080 hectare) Sugar Lake before flowing into the south end of Mabel Lake. The Shuswap leaves the western shore of Mabel Lake, making its way to 4,799-acre (1943 hectare) Mara Lake. Two dams lie along the Shuswap River, turning Sugar Lake into a storage reservoir before the waters reach glacially carved Mabel Lake. BC Hydro owns the dams and contributes to the development of the Shuswap River Recreation Area found between Mabel Lake and Sugar Lake. Multiple picnic areas, hiking trails (including a wheel-chair accessible trail), restrooms, viewing areas and canoe pull-out, launch and portage trails are among the amenities found along this portion of the Shuswap River.
Created in 1972, 450-acre (182 hectare) Mabel Lake Provincial Park was expanded to 462 acres (187 hectares) in 2000. Campsites with water, firewood, sani-station, and nearby restroom facilities are tucked into the surrounding forest near the southeast end of the lake. A playground, day-use picnic area, self-guided nature tours, marina store and boat rentals add to the fun at this family-friendly destination. Near the park campgrounds, families will find self-guiding nature trails. As trails head into the hills watch for area wildlife listed as squirrels, painted turtles, deer, black bears and a large variety of birds and waterfowl.
Most park visitors come for the endless selection of aquatic sports found on Mabel Lake's calm water. Swimming is a major attraction along the 6,890 feet (2,100 meters) of sandy beaches. Boat access to Mabel Lake is limited to lakeshore residents and Mabel Lake Provincial Park boat launch. With a length of 26 miles (42 kilometers) and width of two miles (3 kilometers), Mabel Lake is an excellent lake for waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, personal water craft, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
The depth of this long lake reaches 630 feet (192 meters) with an average depth of 374 feet (114 meters). Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy the variety and size of game fish living in Mabel Lake including: rainbow trout weighing up to eight pounds, Dolly Varden trout up to 12 pounds, lake trout up to 18 pounds, Kokanee averaging one-to-two pounds, and whitefish. Trout fishing is open year around with a special Chinook salmon season open from late July into September. Whether you come for one of the fishing derbies in Mabel Lake Provincial Park or a relaxing fishing vacation, a British Columbia fishing license will be required.
As you plan your trip to Mabel Lake, consider the many towns and villages that can serve as "jumping off points" for your time at Mabel Lake. Arriving from the west, the beautiful drive to Mabel Lake goes through the town of Vernon. Claiming more than 100 lakes within an hour's drive, Vernon visitors will find a wide variety of accommodations to serve as your holiday home away from home. The population estimated at 36,000 offers an assortment of restaurants, shopping and services catering to the needs of visitors. From Vernon visitors may take the northerly route to Mabel Lake passing through the village of Enderby. The southerly route takes you through the village of Lumby. These small communities rest among scenic valleys and hills that sit in close proximity to summer's golfing, hiking trails, mountain biking trails and local farmers' markets. When the snow starts to fall, you will find snowmobiling and skiing among the winter sport activities. If your choice is to stay on the shores of Mabel Lake, a full-service resort with RV park and airpark are available. Vacation rentals including condos, cabins, cottages and lakeside real estate developments lie along the western shore of Mabel Lake at the village of Kingfisher. Whether you come to fish for trout, hike the hills or merely watch the sun throw long shadows across the water, come to Mabel Lake where accommodations have been built with your peace and comfort in mind.
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