Welcome to Paarens Beach Provincial Park. Situated on the south-west shore of beautiful Stuart Lake, Paarens Beach is a delightful small provincial park that few people outside of the area seem to know about. 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.
If relaxing on the beach or around your campfire at Paarens Beach is not enough, there is plenty to see and do in the Fort St. James area. The Fort St James Visitor Info Centre can provide the visitor with maps, directions and information on things to do and see in and around the community.
There are close to twenty lodges and resorts on various lakes or rivers, canoeing opportunities on the Nation Lakes Chain (there is an Arctic grayling catch and release fishery here!), and houseboats available on Takla Lake.
If you want to avoid the crowds, the campground at Paarens Beach is extremely attractive. Each of the 39 campsites has a picnic table and fire ring. A number of campsites at Paarens Beach are available for reservation. To reserve a site, contact the Discover Camping Campground Reservation Service.
A large day-use/picnic area is located on a lengthy stretch of wide sandy beach. Change houses, abundant picnic tables, a playground for the kids and a log picnic shelter are all available to help you enjoy leisurely summer days swimming and sunbathing at the beach. A boat launch is also located within the park to access Stuart Lake.
Stuart Lake, one of the largest natural lakes in the province at about 70 kilometres long, is the southernmost in a chain of three lakes. The Stuart-Takla chain includes Stuart Lake, the Tachie River, Trembleur Lake, the Middle River, which has been designated a Provincial Heritage River, and finally the remote and spectacular Takla Lake. Takla is the fifth largest natural lake in the province at close to 90 kilometres in length.
Established Date: May 8, 1972 Park Size: 50 hectares
Campground Dates of Operation
All dates are subject to change without notice
Opening and Closing Campground Dates:
(campground is accessible but may not offer full services such as water,
May 15 – September 11
(gate is closed during off-season)
Campground Dates with Full Services and Fees:
May 15 – September 11
Campground Reservable Dates:
May 19 – September 3
Total Number of Vehicle Accessible Campsites:
39 plus 4 walk-in beach campsites
Number of Reservable Campsites, if applicable:
(all remaining sites are first-come, first-served)
Note:The above information is for
the campground only. Park users can still walk into the park if
conditions such as weather permit. Check the "Attention Visitor
Notice" above for park alerts.
Know Before You Go
Boaters are cautioned to keep a close eye on the weather as Stuart Lake is subject to sudden heavy winds which can transform the lake surface into dangerous whitecaps.
Help protect the park land. Enjoy Paarens Beach Park but please leave it as you have found it so that future visitors may also enjoy the park.
No alcohol is allowed on the beach or in the day-use area.
For safety reasons, firearms are not permitted in the park. Paarens Beach Park is closed to hunting.
All campsite reservations must be made through Discover Camping. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite Reservations: Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available.
Location and Maps
Please note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Paarens Beach is located less than a two-hour drive northwest of Prince George on the south shore of Stuart Lake and about 11 kilometres from the community of Fort St. James. From Prince George take Highway #16 west one hundred kilometres to Vanderhoof, at which point it is another 54 kilometres north on Highway #27.
Maps and Brochures
Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
There are opportunities
for canoeing or kayaking in this park; however, boaters are cautioned
to keep a close eye on the weather as Stuart Lake is subject to sudden
heavy winds that can transform the lake surface into dangerous whitecaps.
Although Paarens Beach does not have any mountain biking opportunities within the park, the sport is gaining in popularity around the Fort St. James area. A small handout is available locally which can direct you to several popular mountain bike routes. Ask about the Whitefish Bay or Teardrop Road circuits. For the adventuresome biker the historic Nautley/Sowchea Pack Trail has recently been opened up. This 45 kilometre trail was used for generations as an early trade route between villages on Fraser and Stuart Lakes.
Part of the Fraser River watershed, the Stuart-Takla chain of waterways
is famous for its fishing. Twenty pound rainbow trout, lake char, and dolly
varden can all be taken from Stuart Lake. Ling cod (burbot) and kokanee are
also popular. A 27 pound rainbow and a 35 pound char have been reported out
of Takla Lake as well. There are many smaller lakes within an hours drive
of Fort St. James holding rainbow, whitefish, char, or kokanee. Anyone fishing
or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate
Visitors can enjoy excellent hiking trails in this area and the splendid view of Stuart Lake from the top of Mount Pope, just northwest of the village of Fort St. James. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure. Click here for Trail Information.
Pets on Leash
Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
The beach area provides excellent swimming and sunbathing opportunities. There are 800 metres of natural sandy beach with a roped-off swimming area for children. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
With a 70 km long lake and a good boat launch in the park, there are excellent waterskiing opportunities.
Windsurfing is becoming very popular in this park with the 70 km long lake.
Facilities Available at this Park
A concrete boat launch is located at the south end of the park. The park’s boat launch opens up for you the renowned fishing of the whole Stuart-Trembleur-Takla Lake chain, 180 km of some of the finest rainbow fishing in the province.
While campfires are allowed and campfire rings are provided at each campsite, we encourage visitors to conserve wood and protect the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using campstoves instead. Firewood can be purchased in the park or you may bring your own wood. Fees for firewood are set locally and may vary from park to park. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don’t gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil.
Cold water taps are locate throughout the park. Taps are shut off during
This park has a day-use/picnic area with picnic table tables, a playground, a change house and a log picnic shelter with tables and a wood stove. At 70 kilometres in length, Stuart Lake has a lot of shoreline to explore. Lots of sandy beach and a roped-off swimming area for the kids. Plenty of room for water sports with eight hundred metres of beachfront. Windsurfing is becoming a popular activity on Stuart lake. There are horsehsoe pitches, a volleyball net, and play equipment for kids, located in the grass field across from the beach.
Pit or Flush Toilets
This park only has pit toilets - no flush toilets.
There is a playground in the day-use/picnic area.
Vehicle Accessible Camping
Each of the campsites at Paarens Beach has a picnic table and fire ring. Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available.
Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $22.00 per party / night
BC Senior’s Rate (day after Labour Day to June 14 only): $11.00 per senior party/night. Read the User Fees Policy for information on Senior Camping Discounts.
Long stay camping
Full Season. Please contact the Park Operator for information and to book one of these sites.