First Lake is a lovely shallow lake just outside the city limits of Nanaimo and part of the Nanaimo Lakes Chain. Much of the eastern shore is occupied by the TimberWest’s Nanaimo Lakes Campsite which includes a publicly accessible boat launch. The lake is the site of an old timber mill and was used for decades as a staging area for log booms. Old pilings dot the lake and the remnants of a bridge can be seen where the Nanaimo River flows out the Eastern end of the lake. If you follow the river a little way down there’s and excellent spot to stop and swim or enjoy a picnic. At the western end of the lake, a short section of the Nanaimo River connects First Lake to Second Lake. In low water it’s possible to line up this and then shoot the rapids back down.
Size: 211.4 ha | 522.38078 ac | 2.1 km²
Direction: To get get to the First Lake, follow the Island Highway (Hwy 1A) to just north of the Nanaimo River crossing (look for the Wildplay sign), then turn onto Nanaimo River Road and follow it inland for 20 kilometers to a robust orange-red gate. Folow the signs for the Nanaimo Lakes Campsite. Take your first left into the campsite for the boat ramp.
Blog Posts: First Lake
- Nanaimo Lakes – Anglers Atlas
- Backroads Map Book VIBC18
- Nanaimo Lakes Campsite
- Nanaimo Lakes and Campgrounds
- Nanaimo’s Secret
- TimberWest Forest Corp’s Facebook page and access information.
First Lake Map