Seymour Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - British Columbia -

Seymour Lake may not be on everyone’s recreational radar, but this natural lake just outside of the town of Smithers, British Columbia certainly delights those who find it. Smithers is noted as a winter sports haven midway between Port Rupert and Prince George in the Bulkley River Valley. The area draws a considerable number of visitors year round for hiking, mountain climbing and wildlife watching amid beautiful scenery. What they often see from many hiking trails is serene Seymour Lake.

A bit over 200 acres in size, Seymour Lake is one of a series of shallow lakes pooled in the Bulkley River Valley. Several natural inflows, including some as underground streams, carry run-off waters from the nearby mountain slopes into the lake. Seymour Lake is well-supplied with wetland areas along much of the shoreline, preventing an influx of housing development on the lakefront. A couple of informal swim areas are located along the northeastern shoreline where the water is accessible near the highway. The shallow lake is usually ice-free by May and warms quickly. In winter, locals use the lake for ice skating and the surrounding slopes for downhill sledding.

There appears to be no public boat launch on Seymour Lake, but that doesn’t stop locals from launching canoes, kayaks and smaller row boats from the areas adjacent the road. Leisurely boating here is rewarding both for the many types of waterfowl and shore life seen at the lakes margin, and for the views of nearby Hudson Bay Glacier shimmering between nearby peaks. Fishing is usually limited to rainbow trout and cutthroat trout, although several varieties of coarse, non-game fish also inhabit the waters. All British Columbia fishing regulations must be observed and a provincial fishing license must be carried.

Seymour Lake’s major claims to fame are the many hiking trails that criss-cross the surrounding area. A large area of public land called the Smithers Community Forest encompasses 11,416 acres of woods and mountain slope that serves as a recreational preserve and an opportunity to educate the public into best-practices forest and wildlife management by a local community. All of the trails in the area are accessed from Hudson Bay Mountain Road west of Smithers. Seymour Lake Trail is the first trailhead encountered while heading west toward Hudson Bay Mountain. The Seymour Ridge Trail is a relatively easy trail across several switchbacks to spectacular views of Seymour Lake and nearby Bigelow Lake. Some uphill hiking is involved, and the trail can often be muddy. Most trekkers take about an hour to reach the viewpoint at 2,461 feet elevation. The Seymour Ridge Trail includes geological features called sackungen, which are cracks caused by the weight of the ridge itself and, although not truly fissure-sized, are interesting to visit.

Farther up Hudson Bay Mountain Road, one can park at the Nordic Center and join the trail system via the Nature Trail or take the spur to the Goldeneye back-country trail. The Nature Trail is maintained by naturalists who repair boardwalks, maintain interpretive signage and produce brochures describing the local ecosystems in detail. From the Nordic Center, hikers can follow old logging roads to the Dahlie Creek trailhead. One trail off Hudson Bay Mountain Road that is not clearly marked is the Waterfall Trail, a steep climbing shortcut to the top of the ridge. Most experienced trail hikers in the area can tell visitors how to identify the trailhead. In winter, the more level and easily accessed trails get heavy use from cross-country skiers, snowshoers and winter adventurers. The logging roads are likewise used during summer for mountain biking and horseback riding.

Hudson Bay Mountain Road leads winter ski fans to facilities for all types of alpine skiing and snow sports. A ski resort offers specialized lodging to those on a ski holiday, with more than 30 ski runs and four chair-lifts to accommodate every expertise level. The ski area near Seymour Lake is so popular that several lodging options in the area are open in winter to accommodate visitors. Skis aren’t the only way for snow lovers to enjoy the Bulkley Valley area. The Smithers Snowmobile Association grooms miles of trails in the area and encourages visitors to join them in their efforts to practice a safe sport. Local outfitters in the area sometimes offer snowmobile trekking with experienced guides leading their guests into seldom-seen back-country areas.

Many first-time visitors to Smithers stop here on the 600+ mile trip between Prince Rupert and Prince George. When they find that accommodations are outstanding, both for friendly casual atmosphere and spectacular views of the nearby glacier, they often come back to visit the Smithers area to indulge in their favorite outdoor activity. For a small town Smithers offers plenty of lodging choices ranging from chain hotels, small motels, bed & breakfasts, small family inns, guest cabins and resorts. A couple of RV campground also can be located nearby (and can usually handle tents).

There are a number of outfitters in the area that specialize in such things as back country fishing, pack horse trekking, snowmobiling or snowshoeing. Following the tourism boom, artisans have opened shops to sell their wares, while eateries and services have blossomed in the area. Smithers is now a ‘big’ little town set among some of the most spectacular scenery in British Columbia. And although not all visitors have yet discovered lovely Seymour Lake, it can’t stay hidden forever. Located over 700 miles north of Vancouver, the area is seldom crowded.

Things to do at Seymour Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing

Fish species found at Seymour Lake

  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Seymour Lake Photo Gallery

Seymour Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 212 acres

Shoreline Length: 3 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,627 feet

Average Depth: 19 feet

Maximum Depth: 30 feet

Water Volume: 14,200 acre-feet

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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