Camp Trip #2 of 2015
When: April 2-April 5th
Where: Pickard Creek Recreation Site , Hedley, BC
Who: 4 adults, 4 dogs, 1 cat plus a few friends also camping in the same camprgound!
It was a whirlwind of a very short week. We got home from Bear Creek on Sunday and headed out to Hedley on Thursday afternoon for the Easter long weekend. It’s amazing how little preparation time it takes when you don’t take any kids camping. My list was 1/2 a page long of to do/pack/buy. I recycled the same laundry from last weekend – 1 load in the washer/dryer and straight back out to the trailer.
We loaded up our groceries, all of the animals and we were off. It took us just over an hour to get to Pickard Creek. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this area, allow me to explain. Once you pass through Hedley, (don’t blink!) you will start to see a series of campgrounds about 3-5 kms out. Riverhaven, then Gold Mountain, then Stemwinder and lastly, Pickard Creek. If it’s dark when you arrive you might miss it if you aren’t watching. If you cross the bridge you have gone to far. Pickard Creek is a rec site – meaning minimal services with minimal rules for minimal fees. At this campground, the cost is nothing for the value you get. I will get into this later.
In the meantime…. here was my morning view. Serene.
Pickard Creek is free until May 1st. After that it is $12 a night. It consists of 16 campsites. The PDF map can be found here. The sites are beautiful, spacious and they all have a view of the river. Some are much more private than others. Some are so big you could fit 2 or 3 trailers at them. There are big picnic tables and nice fire pits with grates at every site. The driveways are all shale so not so easy for kids on bikes but I am sure it helps keep the dust down in the summer. There are a couple pit toilets located throughout the campground. If you are worried about highway noise, the sound of the river drowns it out. There is even a wheelchair friendly site (#3) and a wheelchair friendly pit toilet located across from that site with a ramp. What a nice touch!
As you can see – a beautiful view and well kept sites…
We settled into site #1 – again, the dogs bark at everyone so we wanted to make sure we were farthest away from everyone else. Unfortunately we overlooked the bike/walk trail right next to our site. Ha! Oh well…. we only had a few kids on bikes come through and the dogs were kept under control.
We fit our 24′ + trailer and our friend’s 28’+ trailer in one spot with 2 trucks and STILL had room.
There isn’t a site I wouldn’t stay in – they are all so nice.
The biggest thing this campground has going for it that no other campground along this strip has, is the river access. There is a flat area – huge “beach” and a couple swim holes. I always need to remind everyone with children and dogs to BE CAREFUL on this river no matter how low it is and how good of a swimmer they may be. The undercurrent is strong.
Either way, this campground would be best utilized in hot summer months to cool off.
Ok… so I know you are all wondering about bringing a cat camping. Our cat is “special” – he thinks he is human and a dog. He thinks I am his Mama and after last weekend leaving him at home with my Dad for 2 days, I was worried sick and couldn’t do it again. We weighed the risks and decided to bring him. Without kids “accidently” leaving the screen door open, the risk of his escape was low. He came out every day for snuggles by the warm fire but he was happy just being in the trailer looking out the window at all the new surroundings.
Here is our little Cheeto.
So in conclusion, this campground is definitely worth another visit. If you live in Penticton it’s a long haul to head without knowing you will get a site but if you picked a regular weekend and went out on a Thursday afternoon, you would likely get a site no problem. As I said earlier, this is free until May 1st and then $12 a night afterwards.
Compare that price to Stemwinder next door.
Stemwinder – $18 a night (after April 10th)
Pickard Creek – $12 a night (after May 1st)
Stemwinder and Pickard Creek – pit toilets only
Pickard Creek – room for big rigs
Stemwinder – there may be 1 or 2 spots suitable for a trailer over 22′
Pickard Creek – accessible swimming/fishing and easy access
Stemwinder – not a very big area for fishing/swimming and not easy access – especially for someone with mobility issues.
The one thing Stemwinder has over Pickard Creek is the reservation system – which can work both for and against you. If you are organized like me, knowing you have a reservation is the best way to go… But then again, sometimes half the adventure is not knowing where you are camping when you hit the highway.
A few small tips about the Hedley area….
This is hands down, Hedley’s BEST kept secret. Well, it’s not really a secret. If it was then they wouldn’t sell out of jerkey and peperoni within 20 minute every day. PS – It opens on April 15th this year. DOUG’S HOMESTEAD!
The “Hedley General Store” employs the NICEST people. I go there a couple times during every trip out that way. The service is great. They sell liquor, fresh baked goods, everything you may need for groceries, meat, veggies/fruit and even farm fresh eggs! Support the small town store instead of hitting Walmart before you leave town. They do rely on tourist dollars. They appreciate the business. Their prices are very reasonable too.
Take tubes and float the river! Again – no small children 😦 Get dropped off at the bridge just up the road or start right from Pickard Creek. Float into Hedley and have someone pick you up!
Bring some “gold pans” from home (bowls will work fine) and let the kids do some gold panning from the shores. Just be sure they are wearing a life jacket. Safety First!
Enjoy this beautiful little town. Support the local economy. Go to the flea market. Browse through the antique stores. Have a piece of pie at the Nickel Plate Restaurant or a bowl of soup at the Hitching Post Restaurant.
RATING for Pickard Creek: 4/6
- Pet Friendly – not too many rules in rec sites
- Location is good (1 hour from Penticton and so-so cell service)
- Free or cheap (good value for the money exchanged, even in the summer)
- Amenities – not so good unless you are a bike/hike/fish/swim/sunbath by the river kind of person
- Big beautiful sites – spacious and river views. Next to highway but the river drowns out most of the noise.
Next stop…. Gold Mountain Campground, Hedley, BC for their opening weekend! April 30th-May 3rd. I spoke with Tracy and Dave this morning who told me they still have a few campsites left. Be sure to book right away! They are hosting a Western BBQ that weekend. They are serving up a BBQ dinner with their guests bringing potluck to share. Music, games etc. How awesome is that!
Email them here for reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org