Pye Lake Campgrounds Close To Town Family Fun

photo of the sunset over Pye Lake from the campground

Pye Lake Campgrounds on Vancouver Island will astound you with their beauty and tranquility.

Located between McCreight and Stella Lakes just 30-40 km from Campbell River, Pye Lake offers outstanding free camping adventures.

5 different campgrounds surround the lake including a couple of single campsites.

Therefore you should be able to find a campsite if others are full.

If not, you are only minutes away from more campgrounds on McCreight Lake and Stella Lake.

The campgrounds are a first-come-first-served format so reservations aren’t available.

Getting to Pye Lake Campgrounds

aerial map of roads to Pye Lake Campgrounds

There are three ways to get to Pye Lake Campgrounds from highway 19 north towards Sayward.

The first and longest way is to take the Elk Bay Forest Service Road just past Roberts Lake Rest Area.

Turn right here and travel 11 km to the Stella Lake turnoff.

At the km 5 sign there is a very steep hill (20% grade) roughly 1 km long.

Larger motorhomes or travel trailers may struggle with this hill especially on the return home.

Even 4×4 trucks towing trailers will get a workout on the braking system.

Therefore make sure your brakes are in great condition, don’t assume they are.

Take your time and use your lowest gear to aid in slowing down your rig.

This will help to keep your brakes cool.

At the bottom of the hill make a sharp left onto Stella Lake road.

From there, travel 10 km to the Rock Bay road turnoff.

Along the way you will pass the Stella Lake Campgrounds.

Turn left on Rock Bay Forest road and travel for 2 km and turn left just before the 11km sign.

You’ll immediately cross a small bridge and turn right.

There you will see the signs to Pye Lake East Campgrounds.

The second way to Pye Lake Campgrounds is to use the Pye West Forest Service road.

This Forest Service Road connects to the Rock Bay Forest Service Road.

If the campground is full follow the road north to Rock Bay Forest Service Road which comes out by McCreight Lake.

When I travelled this road it was in good enough shape for a truck and camper and possibly a smaller travel trailer.

A motorhome may make it but it would need a little more clearance than a regular automobile.

The third and most used route is the Rock Bay Forest Service road which passes by McCreight Lake.

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

Fishing At Pye Lake

The fishing at Pye Lake is good with Cutthroat Trout, some Kokanee and Stickleback, Sculpins for baitfish.

While there I never hooked into any Kokanee but did catch a few Cutthroat Trout.

The province never stocked the lake due to the natural recruitment from the creek that runs to the ocean.

I have seen lots of baitfish, salamanders and such along the bottom providing ample food sources.

Some of the regulars told me they have caught some nice Cutthroat Trout over 5 lbs.

A few even confirmed catching the odd Kokanee but not me.

Pye Lake Campgrounds (West)

Walk Thru Video of Pye Lake West Campground

On the west side of the lake is Pye Lake West Recreation Site.

This campground has 4 campsites, a gravel boat launch, pit toilet, picnic tables and fire rings.

Turn right off of highway 19 onto Pye West Forest Service road and travel 5km to find this campground.

Pye West Forest Service Road is located between Elk Bay Forest Service road and Rock Bay Forest Service road.

Tough finding a site during the summer because it provides shelter from the westerly winds that blow across the lake.

The beauty is if the campsites are full you can keep heading north to the Rock Bay Forestry road.

Or if you choose to go back to highway 19 because of vehicle clearance limitations, you’re only 5km away.

Pye Lake Dam Campsite

photo of the dock at pye lake dam campsite

Once you turn off the Rock Bay Forestry Road a few hundred meters east of the km 11 sign you cross a small bridge and turn right.

About 1.7 km later is a small road to the right which leads to the first campsite by the old dam on the north end of the lake.

This campsite is basic with a homemade pit toilet, rock fire pit and logs chained together to make a dock.

image of manmade pit toilet at Pye Lake North Campground

No hole exists under the pit toilet so at some point it will fill up and a move is in order.

If I can sum up the courage I may move it and dig a hole before it gets too full. 

Or maybe one of you will be braver than I (wink wink).

Despite no boat ramp I was able to drag my 12′ aluminum boat to the water .

The campsite provides shelter from the winds that blow up in the middle of the day.

A sign states no swimming allowed because of the submerged intake pipes for a dam built at the river exit.

If you look closely you will see what looks like two long logs submerged with screen filters at the end.

You’ll see cinder blocks holding them on the bottom.

I did test them with my fishing gear and there is a good suction.

So swimming on that side of the dock would definitely not be a smart thing to do.

Especially for small children.

Walk Thru Video of The Pye Lake Dam Campground

Limited Space At This Pye Lake Campsite

photo of the old dam campsite on pye lake

Park at the entrance and walk the 300 or so yards to the campsite to ensure it is empty.

There is no room to turn around for trailers and larger RV’s if it is full.

The road in is narrow with a low section that holds water after a rainfall.

Gravel and mud mixed make up the bottom of the low section.

Therefore, allowing better traction for your vehicle.

A large rock at the entrance of the campsite takes up the room required to maneuver.

I found it easier to drive into the grassy area just past the dam and back into the campsite from there.

If you have two vehicles, one could back into the regular campsite and the other could back into the grassy area.

The bay provided great fishing for pan sized Cutthroat.

I also had pretty good luck casting from the dock.

While fishing from the dock I glanced down into the water and spotted a 12-15 inch Cutthroat.

He seemed to be foraging for salamanders and other bottom dwelling baitfish.

However, I couldn’t entice him to bite my worm.

If you find this campsite and others full you may find the campsite at Km 1.3 available.

Walk Thru Video of The Single Pye Lake Campsite at Km 1.3

Pye Bay Recreation Site

Walk Thru Video of Pye Bay Recreation Site

Another 1.5 km down the road is Pye Bay Recreation Site which has 8 campsites.

This is a popular campground during the summer months.

Due to protection from the winds the campsite fills up quickly.

The road into the campground loops around allowing you to enter and leave with relative ease.

Some of the campsites are tight but can support larger trailers.

A nice gravel boat launch provides enough room to back your trailer to the water.

Beside it lies a dock to tie up your boat.

Each campsite has access to picnic tables, pit toilets and fire rings.

Pye Point Campsite

Walk Thru Video of Pye Point Campsite

Just past the Pye Bay Recreation Site is Pye Point Campsite.

The campsite is large enough to hold more than one camping unit.

A fairly steep trail leads to the waters edge where a dock resides.

You may want to launch your boat at the Pye Bay Recreation Site and motor over to the dock.

You might be able to pack a smaller boat down the trail with enough help.

Shouldn’t be a problem for kayaks or canoes.

The campsite provides a picnic table, fire ring and pit toilet.

Lots of room for tents on the perimeter of the campsite also.

Km 3 Pye Lake Campsite

photo of pye lake km 3 campsite

At the km 3 marker lies another single campsite with enough room to back in a larger travel trailer.

A little difficult to do though if not facing north.

The best way to do this would be to go to the Pye Beach Recreation Site loop and head back.

This campsite has a dock, fire pit and home built fish cleaning table.

Unfortunately a pit toilet is non-existent.

During the afternoon the sun provides a hot experience due to the lack of shade.

image of pye lake km3 campsite and dock

Personally I set up a tarp to help shade me from the heat.

50 feet from the dock to the right, the lake drops off and provides excellent fishing.

I caught some nice Cutthroat Trout from the dock casting a worm.

I launched my boat after dragging it over the logs on the beach and tied it to the dock.

The campsite lies only a couple of feet above the waters edge perfect for canoes and kayaks.

Walk Thru Video of Pye Lake KM 3 Campsite

Pye Beach Recreation Site

photo of Pye Beach Campsite boat launch and swimming area

Further down the road about 2 km you’ll find the Pye Beach Campgrounds which has 16 campsites.

This is a very popular campground because of the room for larger trailers.

The campground provides pit toilets, fire rings and picnic tables.

The campsites are very nice and level with a gravel base.

A small area in each campsite provides excellent tenting options alongside the main campsite.

Therefore this campground allows a great family experience for everyone.

There is a gravel boat launch which leads to a sandy beach where you’ll always find kids playing and swimming.

Be very careful here when backing up your trailer to ensure the safety of smaller children.

Use a spotter to guide you when necessary.

Walk Thru Video of Pye Beach Recreation Site

Summary of Pye Lake Campgrounds

Kudo’s are in order for Recreation Sites and Trails BC for their hard work maintaining these free campgrounds.

I found the Pye Lake Campgrounds an excellent place to relax and have fun.

Two loons, Kingfishers, an owl and a beaver made their presence known while I was there.

It seems to be very popular with locals from Campbell River.

At the end of the Pye Beach campground the road continues and hooks into the Pye Mountain ATV trail system.

My favourite campsite is the old dam site because of the solitude.

But the west side of the lake also offers some better privacy with fewer campsites.

For families, I recommend the Pye Bay and Pye Beach campgrounds. 

They provide numerous campsites and offer more of a social atmosphere.

If you find the campgrounds full, go to McCreight Lake Campgrounds or Stella Lake Campgrounds.

There is a campground 9km up the Blackwater Forest Service Road on hwy 19 called Amor Lake Recreation Site which is also a beautiful campground. The turnoff is back by Roberts Lake.

I found the fishing to be good all around the lake from a boat when the wind isn’t blowing.

Those campgrounds with a dock also seemed to produce nice catches.

As always when travelling the back roads of Vancouver Island, take your time. 

No need to place yourself in a situation where you are broke down and having to spend money on repairs.

And during various times of the year you will meet logging trucks so please be courteous to them.

After all they are much bigger than you and have to stay close to the center of the road.

Please remember to pack out what you pack in to keep these beautiful campgrounds free and available to all.

I am sure you will enjoy your visit to the Pye Lake Campgrounds.

Please Leave Comments or Ask Questions About Pye Lake Campgrounds Below

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6 thoughts on “Pye Lake Campgrounds Close To Town Family Fun”

  1. Just getting back into camping, have been looking at Pye and Stella lakes. The is just what I wanted to know. I have a Dodge Caravan as my camper. Thank you for this site. Ron.

  2. Good article, however not once did you mention all the hard work that the staff at Recreation Sites and Trails do to build and maintain these sites. Credit where credit is due my friend. They have a very thankless job and most folks don’t even know they exist. A platform like this should be used to support the program from which the public is deriving such wonderful experiences.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Stella Pye, Thanks for your comments.

      If you look closely you’ll see we have supported sites and recreation with external links in every article we write.

      Could we talk about their commitment to maintaining the campgrounds under their authority?

      Yes we could, so thanks for the reminder.

      We’ll try to make this right in the future.

  3. The Pye Lake dam campsite is no more . The Atlantic fish hatchery at the end of the out flow needed more water for their operation so they took a bunch of heavy equipment in to do some alterations to the coffer dam . in the process they totally destroyed the campsite . Not sure whether they have any intentions of restoring the site to it’s former glory . Wouldn’t count on it……criminal if they don’t.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Well that is a shame as it was a very nice spot but it was land that had a lease on it so I hope they restore it for those of us who used it.

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