McLeod Lake is located approximately 130 km (81 miles) north of
Prince George and 46 km (29 miles)
south of Mackenzie on Hwy 97.
The community has the distinction of being the oldest European community
west of the Rocky Mountains in modern-day Canada. It was settled
in 1805 by explorer Simon Fraser first named as Trout Lake Fort,
a North-West Company outpost for supplying furs for the supply chain
from Fort St. James through the Peace River country.
The outpost was later named Fort McLeod after Archibald Norman McLeod,
a political figure and merchant from Montreal who became in charge
of the settlement. The name eventually became McLeod Lake.
Today McLeod Lake is a small community made up of mostly of the
aboriginal Tse'Khene First Nation McLeod Lake Indian Band living
on McLeod Lake Indian Band Reserves No.1 and No. 5. The McLeod Lake
Indian Band has established an economic and social factor throughout
the region with the establishment of Duz Cho Logging, Duz Cho Construction
and through the online newsletter, The Traveling Feather.
Lake General Store
Besides the First Nations' settlements there is an unincorporated
community of McLeod Lake mainly consisting and centering on the
small McLeod Lake General Store located on the Hart Highway (Hwy
97). The store sells mainly convenience items, serves as the local
post office and has a liquor outlet.
For fuel and other accommodation, you can find it at Bear Lake about
60 km (40 miles) to the south on Hwy 97 where there is the Grizzly
Inn Restaurant Motel & RV Park and Petro Canada Service Station.
Also located at Bear Lake is the campground found in Crooked Lake
Provincial Park where you can find another nice sandy beach. For
more selection of accommodation the other option is to travel on
Hwy 97 north of McLeod Lake to the junction and turnoff for the
larger centre of Mackenzie.
For swimming, McLeod Lake has often been considered to have one
of the best sandy beaches to visit north of Prince George on Hwy
97. To find the beach, go to the Whiskers
Point Provincial Park. Although it can be cold, the lake water
is clear and the white beach faces south providing excellent sunsets
while relaxing during the afternoon sun periods during the long
days of June through July. Whiskers Point Provincial Park also has
a campground if you would like to stay and enjoy the surroundings.
Lake Provincial Park
Located on the north side of McLeod Lake is the turnoff for Carp
Lake Road (McLeod-Tsilcoh FSR) and the more wilderness-like Carp
Lake Provincial Park. If you enjoy boating, fishing kayaking or
canoeing, Carp Lake Provincial Park has tremendous opportunities
for doing everything. Situated along the Carp Lake Road are recreation
sites found at Warhorse Lake and Sekani Lake, a boat launch on Iroquois
Lake, then the provincial campground at War Lake where you can find
the short trail to War Falls, the provincial campground in Carp
Lake at Kettle Bay and the numerous remote camping sites found along
Carp Lake and at Munto Lake.
The McLeod-Tsilcoh FSR near the west side of the park changes to
non-maintained gravel and eventually hooks up near the McKinnon
Esker Ecological Reserve with the junction road for the Muskeg Falls
Carp Lake Circle Tour back to Bear Lake and Hwy 97. If you continue
on the McLeod-Tsilcoh FSR west, it becomes rougher and more remote
eventually meeting up with the Germansen FSR where you can go either
north towards Germansen Landing or south to Fort
St. James and eventually Hwy 16.
Caution for Moose
If you happen to be travelling through McLeod Lake, especially during
the wintertime, take extra caution for moose foraging along the
side of the roads. The whole Fraser Basin and Interior Plateau of
British Columbia is highly populated with this animal and, during
the years, many vehicle encounters have occurred on the highways.
Also, because of the high moose population, in certain times of
the fall season, the area is highly sought after as a hunting destination
so expect to see some small recreation sites full of campers.
Just remember if you are enjoying the provincial parks and the countryside
around British Columbia, please remember this is bear country. Try
to avoid the rivers during heavy salmon spawning times unless you
feel comfortable with bears around and take the usual precautions.
There is also the possibilities of encounters with wolves or cougars
so please play it safe.
Also when you are travelling into and around McLeod Lake area by
forestry roads that a lot of the roads are maintained and operated
by private logging companies. Please keep in mind that logging trucks
always have the right of way, so drive with your lights on and keep
in mind that vehicles must use pullouts and yield to logging trucks
at all times.
on McLeod Lake