Brewster Lake Campgrounds Family Wilderness Camping

photo of a cloudy day at Brewster Lake Recreation Site

Brewster Lake campgrounds consist of 4 separate campgrounds with their own campsites.

Situated at the south end of Brewster Lake, they range in size from 3 campsites to 19 campsites.

All of them are within 2 kms of each other and have a natural boat launch for smaller boats.

Brewster Lake campgrounds are pay sites and maintained by Sites and Recreation.  Starting May 15 – Sept 2 (or the Labour Day long weekend) they cost $15 per night.

These are awesome Vancouver Island campgrounds and well maintained. Perfect for the whole family which provides an excellent wilderness adventure.

Each campground follows the same rules:

Brewster Lake Campgrounds Day Use Rules

Please follow the rules below to ensure that everyone can enjoy the campgrounds and so we can continue to have access to them.

  • enjoy your stay to a maximum of 14 consecutive days
  • no abandoning shelters (pitching a tent to save a spot for the weekend etc.)
  • do not build long term structures without permission
  • return your site to its natural condition before leaving
  • competitive, commercial or group use requires permission
  • be aware of the Fire Danger Rating before lighting a campfire
  • don’t light fires when strong winds are present
  • keep your campfires in designated fire rings
  • do not leave a fire unattended
  • if there are outhouses, please use them
  • don’t empty your holding tank into pit toilets
  • do not throw anything in outhouses except toilet paper
  • please refrain from cutting tree bows for bedding or comfort
  • pay camping and other service fees to recreation site operator if applicable
  • pedestrians sometimes use roads to walk and play on so stay focused on your driving
  • maximum speed is 20km/h when traveling in campgrounds
  • never drive over vegetation as it will take too long to recover
  • please always wear a helmet when riding bikes, dirt bikes and ATVs
  • idle your motor bike or ATV in and out of the campgrounds
  • please keep noise to an minimum level and respect others right to peace and quiet
  • always obey the designated quiet time from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am
  • park only in designated areas and keep traffic lanes open at all times
  • keep your pets quiet and under control at all times
  • there will be no discharging of bows, crossbows, firearms, fireworks or setting traps
  • don’t leave your game entrails anywhere in the campgrounds
photo of the natural boat launch on the beach at Brewster Lake Recreation Site on Vancouver Island

Brewster Lake Campgrounds Logging History

There is a lot of logging history surrounding Brewster Lake Campgrounds as some of them were actual logging camps to house hundreds of employees.

The main camp located at the Camp 5 Recreation Site, housed 67 families and 550 workers in bunkhouses. Therefore over 21 years, this was the largest logging camp in North America.

Camp 5 boasted a ball park, coffee shop, laundry, library (over 700 books), more houses, post office and a school. The camp’s power plant provided electricity to all the buildings. A water distribution system allowed for potable water and even flush toilets.

Inside an area known as the marriage quarters, the families lived in small houses and grew lots of flowers, vegetable gardens and fruit trees. Consequently, a lot of these flowers and fruit trees are still growing around the campgrounds today.

A narrow foot bridge and rail line crossed the out flow of the lake to Apple Point.

Apple Point housed the superintendant, company office, community hall, cook house, locomotive dispatch, repair shop and water tower.  And there are still apple trees on site that produce apples every fall.

The only way out of these logging camps was by steam locomotive to Menzies Bay and then by boat to Campbell River. Consequently, the total distance by rail to Menzies Bay was 22 km, then another 16 km to Campbell River. 

By the end of World War 2, over 70  miles of main rail lines and spurs existed.  Therefore, it took 5 different sized steam engine locomotives to service the rails.  In 1953, the company built logging roads and transportation by vehicles became possible.

Photo of the sun hitting my camper at Brewster lake campground

Brewster Lake

A part of the Sayward Forest Canoe Route, Brewster Lake is one of four large lakes in the route. The other large lakes are Amor Lake, Campbell Lake and Mohun Lake.

The lake is 6 kilometers long with a maximum depth of 185 feet.  At 700 feet above sea level, it covers a surface area of 1,911 acres with a perimeter of 61,800 feet.

The lake can get very windy some days and as a result, making fishing from a boat difficult if not dangerous at times.

The lake’s name came from the Honourable H.C. Brewster, a British Columbia Premier from 1916-1918.

Fishing On Brewster Lake

photo of a nice Cutthroat Trout beside the boat at Brewster lake on Vancouver Island

Fishing on Brewster Lake is very good with stocked Cutthroat, Rainbow and wild Dolly Vardon Trout.

I fished the whole lake and had the most action right out front of the Brewster Lake Recreation Site.  The top end of the lake produces very well also.

I was fishing in the top 13 feet of water with great results.  Caught and released 12 fish during my stays (spring/fall).

Mostly Cutthroat Trout but had on a nice Rainbow Trout that self released at the boat.

A willow leaf gang troll with a worm attached to a 16 inch leader worked best for me.  Also had some luck with a flat fish behind the gang troll. 

photo of a nice sized Cutthroat Trout caught from Brewster Lake on Vancouver Island

How to Find Brewster Lake Campgrounds

The best way to get to Brewster Lake Campgrounds is to travel north from Campbell River towards Sayward. About 16 kms down the road you’ll see a gravel road on your left called the “Menzies Main”.

Turn here and go another 16 km to arrive at the entrance of the first of four Brewster Lake Campgrounds. This will be Brewster Lake Recreation Site.

Along the way you’ll pass turnoffs to Mohun Lake Campgrounds, Morton Lake Provincial Park and Lawier Lake.

Once you reach the Brewster Lake Recreation Site turnoff, if you travel another 1-3 km you’ll find Apple Point, Brewster Camp, Camp 5, and further down the road are the Gray Lake campsites (Brittany Bay and Gray Lake Recreation Site).

Use the form below to find out how to get to Brewster Lake Campgrounds using Google Maps.

Brewster Lake Campgrounds

Brewster Lake Recreation Site

photo of a campsite in Brewster Lake Recreation Site on Vancouver Island

Located just 50 minutes northwest of Campbell River, is the Brewster Lake Recreation Site. It is the largest campground of the four with 19 campsites.

These 19 campsites provide a wildness camping adventure for the whole family.  Each campsite has a fire ring, picnic table and relatively level camping area.

The majority of the campsites are in the trees which bodes well for the wind which picks up during the day. If you choose one along the beach there are a few trees there also to cut the wind.

The wind controls the bugs which are a plenty when there is no wind.  Take plenty of bug juice to keep them at bay.

There are 4 pit toilets that were in very good shape and clean.  The pit toilets and picnic tables received a fresh coat of paint (2019).

There is a beautiful small beach with white sand (light brown) for swimming and launching your small boat. Lots of trails in the area to explore and fishing in the lake itself.

Walk Thru Video of Brewster Lake Campground

Apple Point Recreation Site

Roughly 1 kilometer from the Brewster Lake Recreation Site is Apple Point Recreation Site which is the second of the recreation sites in the group of Brewster Lake Campgrounds.

Apple Point consists of two separate campgrounds. The northern campground and the southern campground are only a few meters apart.  

The northern campground is more of an open grassy area type of campground and has 5 campsites. The boat launch is a natural one and definitely wide enough for a small boat trailer. It is a little steep so may be tough during a rain event.

The southern campground is in a treed area with a car top style boat launch next to the lake. You will be dragging your boat about 5 to 8 feet across a gravel path to the lake.

There are four campsites, a pit toilet, picnic tables and fire rings in this campground.

Walk Thru Video of Apple Point Campground

Brewster Camp Recreation Site

The Brewster Camp Recreation Site (pdf) is on the Gray Lake Forest Service road just about .5 km from the Apple Lake Recreation Site.  It has two campsites separated by a short distance along the river that exits Brewster Lake and heads towards Gray Lake.

map of the Salmon Brewster Horse Trail on Vancouver Island

Across the road is the 34 km Salmon Brewster Horse Trail (pdf) and the Brewster Horse Camp with 2 corrals. 

The site is 1.5 acres and more open than the other campgrounds in the Brewster Lake Campgrounds.

This trail opened in 2013 which connects with the Memekay Recreation Site (pdf) close to Sayward on the Salmon River. 

The Memekay Recreation Site boasts over 5 acres with 11 campsites 70 feet long to accommodate horse trailers.

There are 2 horse corrals, a shelter for groups including picnic tables, pit toilets, a manure containment area and access to non-potable water.

The Pine Marten Recreation Site which is along the way between the two, consists of a small fenced in area to allow your horses to rest. 

The campsite provides a pit toilet, picnic table and fire ring. The perfect rest area along the way of the 34 km.

All three pdf’s above are courtesy of Sites And Trails BC so check out their website as they do an amazing job managing recreation sites.

UPDATE: The Salmon Brewster Trail just received funding (2024) to rehabilitate the trail. This will make the trail safer and improve it for equine, hiking and pedal biking outdoors people. Read about it here: Half a million dollar investment for the Salmon Brewster Trail.

Camp 5 Recreation Site

The Camp 5 Recreation Site is across from the Apple Point Recreation Site. You take the wooden bridge over the outflow of the lake and turn right about 500 yards. 

The campground has 5 campsites with picnic tables, fire rings and a pit toilet.  There is a gravel boat launch that also serves as a water drainage with a nice rut to the lake during heavy rains.

Therefore, use caution when backing your boat trailer to the lake to avoid the rut in the road.

Lots of shade here as it is located under a growth of alder trees.  Mostly covered with grass, the Camp 5 Recreation Site makes a more comfortable walking experience.

Walk Thru Video of Camp 5 Campground

To Sum Up The Brewster Lake Campgrounds

In conclusion, the four sites that make up the Brewster Lake Campgrounds are in my opinion an excellent way to camp on Brewster Lake.  However, they can get quite busy during the summer months due to their popularity. 

I’ve noticed that the Apple Point sites serve as a temporary spot sometimes until a better one comes up.  Not sure why this is because they’re both excellent sites for a long stay with good access to the lake and surrounding area.

I definitely recommend these campgrounds for a family looking for a wilderness adventure while being close to town in case you need more supplies. Depending on road conditions you are only 40-50 minutes away from Campbell River.

Access to the sandy beaches of Brewster Lake will keep you and your family occupied and provide a lot of fun. The best beach is at the Brewster Lake Recreation Site but the one at Apple Point North is also nice.

The added benefit for all horse riding enthusiasts is the completion of the Salmon Brewster Horse Trail.  Therefore, this trail will become more popular in the future than it is now.

Other Great Vancouver Island Camping Lakes in The Area

As with all campgrounds in the Sayward Forest District, the beauty is that you are only a few minutes away from another one if the campsite you want is full.

Just south from the Brewster Lake Campgrounds is the Brittany Bay Recreation Site, Fry Lake Recreation Site, Gray Lake Recreation Site, Patterson Lake Campgrounds and Campbell Lake Recreation Sites.

Heading east you’ll find the Mohun Lake Recreation Site, Morton Lake Provincial Park Campgrounds and than north of those is Amour Lake Recreation Site

After that, a short distances south is Boot Lake Recreation Site, Gosling Lake Recreation Site and the Merrill Lake Campground.

In other words, this makes Brewster Lake Campgrounds a great starting point for an adventure to any of the affore mentioned lakes.

photo of my camper at Brewster Lake Recreation Site campsite on Vancouver Island

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10 thoughts on “Brewster Lake Campgrounds Family Wilderness Camping”

  1. Hello. First of all,thank-you who did all of the walking and the video footage of the rec sites. This information really helps. My question is,do you know if the Brewster rec site is still open for fall and winter camping ? Is there a gate that they close?
    Thank-you for your time.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi John, you’re very welcome.

      I do know that it is still open during the fall months as I have been there in late September.

      Not sure about winter months.

      Usually most rec sites are open during the off season though based on my experience.

  2. We are looking at camping in or around Brewster lake end of Aug for a week. We have been to Morton lake before and love the area but last time there the access road was very rough and almost impossible to navigate in our 22 foot motor home. We now have a 34 foot motorhome which unfortunately limits us from accessing certain campsites.
    My question is whether our unit will fit into any of the Brewster lake campsites and how difficult it will be to navigate? Also is there any access to fresh water in any of the sites?
    Thank you.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi George, a site will be hard to find for a 34 foot motorhome but they do exist if not already taken.

      The road into Brewster Lake Recreation Site is a loop so you will be able to drive around the campground to search for one.

      Make sure you have a spotter if you find one to help when backing in.

      You might also try down the road a km to see if Apple Point has room as it is a wide open grassy area type campground.

      There is no access to drinking water at these sites but there is access to the lake if you have a filtration system of some kind.

      If you don’t have a filtration system you can boil the lake water for a minimum of 3 minutes and let cool before drinking to kill any parasites or bacteria found in the water.

  3. Shelley Clarke

    This is great info, thanks! I will be kayaking the loop at the end of July and I’m hoping to launch from the south end of Brewster’s Lake. Do you happen to know if there is anywhere in the area to park a car for a few days?

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Shelley, the only safe places I would recommend are the campsites themselves.

      Try to find someone who is camping and see if you can piggyback onto their site for a small fee to help pay for the overnight fees.

      Or if you get lucky maybe one of the free sites will be open. Have fun!

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Kailyn, thanks for your question.

      The Brewster Lake Recreation Sites don’t take reservations as they are a “first come first served” campground like all recreation sites on Vancouver Island.

      There are 5 campgrounds however to choose from with the largest being 19 campsites so you should be able to find a spot providing you leave mid week.

      Hope this helps and have fun.

  4. Hi there. I am wondering if we can camp in the Brewster Lake sites after Labour Day. We have a few days booked and Elk River Falls starting September 15 and were hoping to camp along Brewster Lake after that. We really enjoyed our stay last year at Camp 5 I think it was. Thank you for all you do to keep this set of sties open.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Pamela, I believe you can camp at all of them except for the main recreation site which is gated but check it any way.

      Not sure when they close the gate. Have fun!

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