Stella Lake Campgrounds Your Vancouver Island Camping Adventure

photo of the mountain bike trail between Stella Lake Recreation Site and Stella Bay Campground

Stella Lake Campgrounds just north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island provides a free outdoor adventure with a wilderness background.

Once you arrive you will discover an area with multiple choices to camp and a never ending good time.

With numerous outdoor adventures to choose from, making a decision on what to do next requires your full attention.

The area provides free camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, quad trails and wildlife photo opportunities.

Or you could venture down the road about 20 km and go saltwater fishing while camping on the ocean.

There you will find more exciting things to do like whale watching or exploring the coastline.

Stella Lake Campgrounds consists of 5 separate campgrounds located within minutes of each other.

Four provide single camping and could possibly fit one or two extra campers providing they are small in size.

Stella Beach Recreation Site provides 13 campsites with a large beach access.

Stella Lake Demographics

GPS coordinates for Stella Lake: 50°17’01.8″N 125°38’53.7″W

Stella Lake is a moderately deep lake with a maximum depth of 42.5 meters (139ft).

At an elevation of 150 meters (452ft) the lake does freeze occasionally during the harder winter months.

The perimeter of the lake is 22,140 meters (72,638ft) and the surface area is 1045 acres.

Stella Bay Campsite

Located down a short gravel road off of the Stella Lake Forest Service Road is the Stella Bay Campsite.

Classified as a single campsite, you could place 1 or 2 more smaller campers with some direction.

photo of a front view of the campsite at Stella Bay Campground

The caveat is that once the site is full there is little room to turn around to leave.

This makes it tough to drive in and find out that someone else is occupying the campsite.

Consequently, the difficulty of turning around with a trailer or larger RV increases with more campers.

I parked my truck and camper at the entrance and walked in to see how long it would take me.

It was just over 6 minutes to walk into the campsite.

Not too bad to determine whether I could drive in and see if the campsite was full.

If the campground is full there is a hiking trail from Stella Beach Recreation Site to Stella Bay.

I used this trail to determine when Stella Bay was available and moved accordingly.

The main campsite has 1 pit toilet, a rock fire pit along with a small table built against a tree.

The wooden table is narrow and therefore mainly used for cleaning fish.

The first time I arrived the campsite was occupied by a travel trailer and a truck camper like mine.

I was able to turn around using the boat ramp.

The lake was low hence my being able to make the turn around.

Wouldn’t be as easy if the lake was higher.

Walk Thru Video of Stella Bay Recreation Site
Two Smaller Campsites

Just before the main campsite there are two pullouts beside the lake for a car camper or van.

A small path to the lake provides access for a car top boat or canoe/kayak.

The pullouts have a rock fire pit but that is all.

The pit toilet is only a few hundred feet away so not too bad of a walk.

Make sure your camper is off the narrow road or you may have an issue with a wider vehicle trying to pass.

There should be enough room for a van or car camper to park without encroaching on the road.

Consequently, if you set up a tent you should also be able to keep your vehicle out of the way.

Stella Beach Recreation Site

Walk Thru Video of Stella Beach Recreation Site

Another 2 km north of Stella Bay Campsite lies the Stella Beach Recreation Site.

Designed for 13 campsites it provides more room for larger vehicles.

There are two pit toilets, picnic tables and fire rings for each campsite.

photo of a side shot of the Stella Bay campsite

A natural gravel boat launch at the entrance allows for boats on trailers.

A beautiful sandy beach extends the full length of the campground therefore swimming is easy.

The water is shallow for a long way so children can swim safely.

At the south end of the campground a trail leads across the hump to Stella Bay Campsite.

This trail has mountain bike boardwalks on fallen trees with other trail branches off of the main one.

Used by hikers and mountain bikers the trail provides a great outdoor experience for getting exercise and having fun.

How to Get to Stella Lake Campgrounds

There are two ways to arrive at the Stella Lake Campgrounds.

The first road called the Elk Bay Forest Service Road is about 33 km from Campbell River.

Turn right just after Roberts Lake and travel 11 km to Stella Lake Forest Service Road.

At the 5 km mark is a very steep hill that is about 1 km long which deters most longer recreational vehicles.

They usually take the Rock Bay Forest Service Road to access Stella Lake Campgrounds.

Turn left at the 4 km mark and go about 2km to a junction in the road.

Take the road to the left and it will take you to Stella Bay Campground.

Back on the Stella Lake Forest Service Road travel another 1 km to find Stella Lake Recreation Site.

Just past this campground, the single campgrounds are roughly 2-3 km apart next to the lake.

At the 10 km mark, you meet the Rock Bay Forest Service Road which is the second way in.

Rock Bay Forest Service Road

Access the Rock Bay Forest Service Road off of highway 19 about 41 km from Campbell River.

The road travels past McCreight Lake and Pye Lake two beautiful places to camp also.

Turn right at the 13.5 km mark onto the Stella Lake Forest Service Road.

From there you will travel about 4 km to the first single campsite next to Stella Lake.

After that the other campgrounds are about 2-3 km apart.

From this direction access to Stella Bay Campground is a sharp turn to the right.

Therefore, you would be better off traveling down the road further to turn around.

I was able to make the turn in my truck and camper with a small utility trailer.

I had to back up a few times to make the turn and don’t advise it for longer wheel based vehicles.

photo of a sunset over Stella Lake from the Stella Bay Campround

Use the form below to find out how to get to Stella Lake Campground using Google Maps.

Fishing At Stella Lake Campgrounds

I fished the whole lake in my 12′ aluminum boat during my stay.

On the north end there is two islands with one a lot larger than the first.

I caught a couple of fish in that area but nothing of any size.

In Stella Bay, I had better luck with more Cutthroat Trout caught but again nothing of any size.

Overall I caught and released a few Cutthroat Trout but not as many as I expected.

The weather was nice when the forest fire smoke from the US cleared.

According to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC Stella Lake was stocked with Coastal Cutthroat Trout between 1993 and 2006.

The Coastal Cutthroat Trout originated from the Taylor River on Central Vancouver Island.

Their average weight was 40 grams and the quantity released was 9,763 yearlings.

Some of the locals who I met told me they have caught some big Cutthroat Trout in Stella Lake.

One even showed me a photo from his wallet with one over 5lbs.

They informed me their fishing methods were trolling spoons close to the bottom of the lake.

Also they trolled in deep enough water to get away from the submerged logs.

I admit to not trying spoons exclusively but did try my luck with them.

photo of a sunset over Stella Bay looking towards the narrows into Stella Lake

Summing It Up

Stella Lake Campgrounds provide a great free camping experience with easy access to McCreight Lake Camprounds and Pye Lake Camprounds.

If you want another beautiful campground to stay at after your adventures at Pye, McCreight and Stella, try Amor Lake Recreation Site just back by Roberts Lake. Follow the Blackwater Forest Service Road to get there.

I highly recommend this whole area for camping and overall outdoor adventures.

The campgrounds are popular with the locals in the area so finding a spot is sometimes difficult.

Across the lake from the campgrounds is a nice sandy beach where I relaxed for a couple of hours.

While there, a couple of ATV’s showed up from a trail that entered the beach.

The trail is part of the Pye Mountain Recreation area for avid ATV enthusiasts.

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

Visit the Recreation Sites and Trails BC website and volunteer if you want to give something back.

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4 thoughts on “Stella Lake Campgrounds Your Vancouver Island Camping Adventure”

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Teva, no Stella Lake Campgrounds are first come first served only.

      This holds true for all free campgrounds on Vancouver Island.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Yahya, most campgrounds are quiet campgrounds after 10 pm.

      But I have seen and heard people up later and making a bit of noise laughing and talking however, I haven’t seen any loud music issues yet so I believe you will be okay if you want quiet here.

      If you want to play loud music than you must respect other campers after 10pm.

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