Harrison Lake Kayaking – Your 2024 Guide to Kayaking on Harrison Lake

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Are you looking to head out for some Harrison Lake kayaking? 

Harrison Lake in beautiful British Columbia is an incredible place to go kayaking. On our last kayaking tour in Harrison, I was able to sit back in the tandem kayak, letting my daughter paddle for the two of us, quietly giggling to myself. It only took her a moment to realize I wasn’t pulling my weight and we both started laughing as I picked up my paddle again and started paddling. It’s these little magical moments with my kids that I will forever cherish. 

It was a rainy June morning, the perfect BC day with a lot of liquid sunshine to start off our kayaking tour in Harrison, but an equally warm temperature made heading out on the water the perfect way to kick off our morning. Our guide Molly had been a kayak tour guide for 6 years and quickly had us out on Harrison Lake and over to visit the iconic Hot Springs before we headed downriver for our tour. 

We’ve put together this guide for kayaking in Harrison to help you learn more about what to expect on a kayaking tour as well as where to rent kayaks in Harrison.

Disclaimer: While I share my own thoughts and stories about these experiences, should you click on the affiliate links, I may receive a small commission on that sale which helps fund Adventure Awaits.

Harrison Lake Kayaking

Family posing on beach for Harrison Lake Kayaking

Harrison Lake is the largest lake in the southern Coast Mountains of Canada, it is about 60 km in length and almost 9 km across. The resort community of Harrison Hot Springs is located at the Southern tip of the lake, and they like to remind people from Vancouver and the GVRD that they are #JustUpTheRoad and only a short 1.5-hour drive from Vancouver, making it the perfect weekend escape for everyone.

Harrison Lake Kayaking Tours with Harrison Eco Tours

Tour guide from Harrison Lake Kayaking

We were invited by Harrison Eco Tours for a 2-hour Kayaking Eco Tour. Harrison Eco Tours is a small, family-run company based out of the lobby of The Harrison Hot Springs Resort. They offer a variety of eco-tours including paddling, jet boat tours, and hiking tours that will introduce you to the majestic clean water shorelines and the wildlife that calls the Harrison region home.

Pre-Trip Prep – Kayaking Safety Brief

Harrison Lake Kayaking boats on the beach

After meeting with your crew in the lobby of the Harrison Hot Springs Resort, you’ll be walked down to Harrison Lake Beach where you can walk in the sand and prepare for your safety briefing. After our safety briefing, life jacket fitting, and pedal adjustment it was time to launch into the water. With the ages of our children (9 and 11 at the time) we opted for tandem kayaks, allowing them to be able to take rest breaks if needed. The tandem kayaks also allow us some quality one-on-one time with the kids, and we may have enjoyed a mini “girls versus boys” water fight!

Kayaking Harrison Lake – Experiencing The Magic of The River

Kayak on Harrison Lake

We headed north from the beach and eventually turned off Harrison Lake to the west onto the Harrison River. Our guide offered us the perfect combination of eco-education sharing stories and wonders of the river, combined with the peaceful solitude of quiet allowing us to paddle through the uninterrupted waters on our kayaking adventure. 

One thing that surprised me the most was the difference between being on the lake and being on the river. It was seamless and I barely noticed the difference until it was pointed out to me (then I realized it, especially when the current was working against me!).

How old do kids need to be to go kayaking?

Girl kayaking

One of the questions I often get asked is, “Are my kids old enough to go on a kayaking tour?” The recommended minimum age for a two-hour kayak tour is 12 years old, however, since my children are experienced kayakers we chose to take them out on this trip. Kids need to have the perseverance and patience to last 2 full hours, both physically paddling for the duration of the trip and also taking time to listen to the stories and enjoy their natural surroundings.

Kayaking Harrison Lake – Animal Encounters

The kids loved seeing and learning all about the local residents and we were fortunate enough to see baby ducks and an eagle catching his breakfast.

Are there seals on Harrison Lake?

Yes! Did you know that seals follow the salmon up the river and for the past 15 years have been making a colony in Harrison Lake?

Indigenous Education While Kayaking Harrison River

Girl looking at aboriginal pictographs during her Harrison Lake kayaking adventure

One of the reasons I like doing a kayaking tour in Harrison is because the guides can point out things that we easily would have missed on a self-guided experience. A quick scan of the rocks and we would have missed an amazing treasure that was 2000 years old! Our guide was able to show us pictographs and art that were left by the local Indigenous people, over two centuries ago. Learning about the culture, the history, and the traditions was one of the highlights of our kayaking trip.

Family Kayaking Tour in Harrison – Connected Family Time

There’s nothing better than living life in 3D and being completely removed from screens, news feeds, and radio noise. Being able to exercise, explore, and engage with our environment as a family is an investment in our relationships and something we truly value. It aligns with the legacy we want to leave with our children through active action. “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – ancient Indian proverb.

Harrison Lake Rentals & Self-Guided Tour

I have never done a self-guided tour on Harrison Lake, but you can get kayak rentals from Harrison Eco Tours, on Harrison Beach. This would allow you to head out for as long as you want and explore a la carte! To ensure your safety, you will be provided with a safety orientation and the rules of the lake before you head out on your kayaking adventure.

What To Bring On A Kayaking Trip

Jami Savage kayaking on Harrison Lake

Kayaking is a great all-weather activity as you’re bound to get a bit wet at some point, so a little bit of rain shouldn’t bother anyone. Plus the rain on the lake normally means fewer boaters, giving you the feeling like you have the place to yourselves! 

Being prepared with a few little tips can help make for the best experience, here’s what to bring on your Harrison Lake kayaking trip: 

  • Dress for the weather
    • Sun – sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, and sun protection. 
    • Cloudy / rain – light rain jacket, hat 
  • Treats – When traveling with kids it’s always good to bring a “pocket snack” for when they need it. If you’re worried about them lasting the whole two hours I recommend a sweet treat (like Sour Patch Kids) that can be quickly shared and give the extra little morale boost for the final push.

Where to stay in Harrison

Girl jumping in front of The Lodge At Harrison Lake

Whenever we head to Harrison Lake, we always book a stay at The Lodge on Harrison Lake. This beautiful and modern waterfront getaway is perfect for your basecamp for your Harrison Hot Springs adventures.  Each room leans out over the water, offering 180-degree views that welcome you to soak them in from first thing in the morning to well after sunset. There are five different accommodation styles to choose from including suites, a main house, and the carriage house. Learn more about The Lodge on Harrison Lake here.

Book your stay at The Lodge on Harrison Lake here!

Getting to Harrison

If you are looking to book a car rental for your Harrison Hot Springs road trip, I highly recommend booking with Discover Cars. We started using Discover Cars and have been really happy with their full coverage for such low fees, competitive rental car pricing, as well as automation and booking ease. Plus, to be transparent, if you book through our link, we will get a small commission which helps contribute to keeping our blog afloat (see what I did there, a little kayaking humour!).

Book your Discover Cars rental vehicle here!

Harrison Lake Kayaking FAQs

Do you need special shoes for kayaking?

No, you do not need special shoes for kayaking on Harrison Lake. I prefer to have close-toed water shoes so that my feet stay warm, but also so that I can hop in and out when taking the kayak to shore.

What happens if it’s raining on the day of my tour?

Go! Kayaking involves getting wet in some capacity and I have to say that we had a lot of fun on our rainy day adventure! I’d dress in layers so that you can stay warm and change out if you need to.

Now that you are ready to head out for some Harrison Lake kayaking, who are you going to adventure with?

Is this a sponsored post?: Yes. While our Harrison Lake kayaking adventure was sponsored, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

About The Author
Jami Savage
Jami Savage
Jami Savage is one of the top Family Travel Writers in Canada, and has been featured on CTV and Vancouver Sun, and more. Go here to read our families story about how we went from backyard adventurers to world travelers, and how you can do the same. If you want to send Jami a quick message, visit her contact page here.
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Jami Savage

Full Time Travel Writer, Mom who is passionate about empowering and educating travelers on how you can use your own tourism dollars as a catalyst for positive change worldwide. Click here to learn more about us, our family, and how we lead an adventure filled life!

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