Killarney Lake has two distinct sides, and people approaching the lake from different directions will see two very different lakes.
Approaching from the south by the trail at the end of Meadowbrook Road is a unique, almost fairy-tale experience. The rural road leads past farms and cabins before it becomes a walking trail at the end. There is no parking here, so plan to arrive by bike or on foot.
After a 15-minute uphill walk you will come to a picture-perfect clearing on the shore of Killarney Lake, ideal for a picnic, with shimmering waters just below. On a quiet afternoon in the fall this approach is quite a beautiful experience.
Approaching Killarney Lake from the north, however, yields a different perspective. From the start, parking at Hartland leaves you acutely aware of just how close this lake is to the regional landfill. Making your way to the lake, your view is of power lines rather than indigenous forest and undergrowth. Once you arrive at the lake the first thing you may encounter (depending which way you go) is private property – despite maps that seem to show the lake falling entirely within Mount Work Regional Park.
Whether you choose to arrive by bike or foot from the south, or by car from the west, Killarney Lake is brimming with life and a fantastic place to spend time with friends. The lake is an absolute treasure to those who know about it.
Creeks & Watershed
Killarney Lake is part of the Tod Creek Watershed. Water leaves the lake via Killarney Creek and drains into Prospect Lake. A smaller stream, Meadowbrook Spring, joins Killarney Creek at the nearby blueberry farm. Beaver activity has previously caused fluctuations in Killarney Lake’s level and drowned a few cedar trees, so keep an eye out for these hard workers while you are there.
Killarney Lake was originally known as Surprise Lake. A mapping error then mislabelled it as Mud Lake, a name that was intended for a pond nearby.
In a 1928 letter to the Geographic Board, the owner of land around the lake, Herbert F. Shade, stated that he had changed the name to “Killarney,” but as there were two other lakes in BC with the same name, he asked for his to be listed as “Lake Kilarney” – removing an ‘l’ from the name.
The Geographic Board rejected the request for the spelling change and suggested Shade Lake instead. Mr. Shade declined the offer out of respect for his business partner, and the lake today continues to be known as Killarney Lake.
Did you know?
There are three Killarney Lakes in British Columbia – the second is found on Bowen Island and the third is in the far north of the mainland.
For trail maps, access information, and much more, get your copy of the Lakes of Victoria, BC guidebook.