Skip to main content
Welcome to the new BC Parks website


Vehicle-accessible camping

This protected area offers vehicle accessible, designated campsites on a first-come, first-served basis; campsite reservations are not accepted. The park and camping areas are open year-round. The best location for camping is the calving barn area on Empire Valley Road. The only development (other than corrals and the barn) is a pit toilet – there are no defined campsites, picnic tables or fire rings at this site.

There are 4 designated camping sites along the first 4km of the Black Dome Road and 6 designated camping sites near the top of the Iron Gate Road. These are rustic sites without pit toilets, picnic tables, or fire grates. The Iron Gate Road is not a serviced road and can be impacted by weather events year-round. Four wheel drive vehicles are recommended for travel on this road.

Do not camp near the Empire Valley Ranch Headquarters area; this is a busy, working ranch. Do not drive or camp on any grassland areas with in Churn Creek Protected Area. The closest store is in Dog Creek, which is approximately a 45 minute drive away.

Wilderness camping

Wilderness camping is allowed in this Protected Area, with the exceptions of all lands in and around the designated “No hunting or Discharge of Firearms or Bows” areas, and the Empire Valley Ranch Headquarters, during the annual, legal hunting season.

Campfires are permitted however, no firewood is provided. If you must have a fire in this dry, warm ecosystem, be sure to extinguish the fire fully. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don’t gather firewood from the area around your campsite. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil. You can conserve firewood and air quality by keeping your campfire small. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking.
Picnic areas
There is a day-use parking area with some area information and a pit toilet at the entrance to the Empire Valley Ranch Headquarters. It is far less developed than a typical picnic area. Overnight camping is not permitted in this area.
Pit or flush toilets
This park only has pit toilets, no flush toilets. Pit toilets are located next to the kiosk at the entrance to Churn Creek Protected Area, at the calving barn and near the Empire Valley Ranch Headquarters in the day-use parking lot.
Hiking is permitted on existing cow trails and old roads. Trails are unmarked and unmaintained. For your own safety and preservation of the park, obey posted signs and stay on the trail. Shortcutting destroys plant life and soil structure, particularly in the grasslands where the soil is only protected by the thin and delicate lichen crust.
Pets on leash
If you must bring your dog to Churn Creek it must be under control at all times. It is illegal to allow your dog to harass livestock or wildlife. You are responsible for its behaviour and must dispose of its excrement.

Bicycles must keep to roadways. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.The terrain is suited to exploration by mountain bike, but you must stay on existing roads and trails. Do not be tempted to venture over grassland areas, as you can cause long-term damage to the lichen crust. Moreover, your tires can develop leaks from the spines of the tiny prickly pear cactus plants. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.

Please note that bicycles with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are not allowed on the trails within Churn Creek Protected Area. E-bikes are restricted to park roads and areas where motorized use is permitted. The only exception to this policy will be for authorized and identified trail maintenance bikes conducting work on behalf of BC Parks.

Horseback riding

Horseback riding is very popular at Churn Creek. Horses must stay on trails and roads. The calving barn area with corrals and ample parking is suggested as a staging area for horses.

Attention Horse Riders

Please use only weed-free pelleted feed for horses or purchase hay from the Empire Ranch headquarters, since import of weeds is a major concern in the Protected Area.


This protected area is open to hunting and horses can be brought in for hunting. Please refer to the Hunting and Trapping Regulations for more information.

Attention Hunters!

Winter recreation
There are opportunities to cross country ski and snowshoe in the park, however, there are no set trails for these activities. There is a defined snowmobile access route through the park. Refer to the above Churn Creek park map that shows the snowmobile route marked.