Camping at Juniper Beach Provincial Park has both good and not-so-good features. On the less-desirable side, two railroad lines flank the spot and trains run throughout the night. The site has a few trees but for the most part is open and the campsites are side-by-side facing the river. There is power and water for hard-sided units now, along with showers, waste-water disposal, outhouses, picnic tables, a day use area and a beach.
On the good side, the river is a beautiful spot. Gravel bars with some sandy sections front the fast-flowing river. When the river drops, it leaves a pond, perfect for the little ones.
Below the river is another set of Class 2 rapids. I wasn’t sure if could get back up them so I turned around and had to paddle hard upstream to get up to the campsite. Although it was fun to paddle through the fast water, the choices here are limited. We have paddled downstream from Savona to Juniper Beach before and it is a fun route with a number of Class 2 rapids along the 20 km route. Launching from Juniper Beach, though, does not offer much to a paddler.
We walked along the gravel bars up and down the river. The barren hills above show the semi-arid south-facing slopes of the Cache Creek – Arrowstone Hills.
From Juniper Beach are a number of interesting tours – Walhachin, Deadman’s Valley, and Back Valley. We chose to drive up the Battle Creek FSR to the Back Valley Road, then turned right to go east toward Deadman’s Valley in a 52.6km loop.
Along the route we passed some lava cliffs in the Battle Creek Gorge, then Stinking Lake and Cultus Lake. As we descended into the Deadman’s Valley, the eroded cliffs and hoodoos rising above the river are another point of interest.A more ambitious choice from the Back Valley Road would be to climb into the Arrowstone Hills, but there are no established trails. We plan to find some routes, but this is a big, remote area that will take some time to explore.
Apart from the railroad and the side-by-side camping, the area fronting the river is a nice spot for peaceful camping and walking. The alpenglow and rising moon signaled the end of each day while camping at Juniper Beach.