Hikers admiring the view from Crest Mountain over the Elk River, Strathcona Park. Photo by Philip Stone

Hikers admiring the view from Crest Mountain over the Elk River, Strathcona Park. Photo by Philip Stone

Get away from it all at Strathcona Provincial Park

Discover freshwater lakes for paddlers and anglers, excellent hiking and camping

Vancouver Island’s Strathcona Provincial Park is renowned for its stunning scenery, but beyond the picture perfect vistas are a wide variety of outdoor pursuits, including excellent hiking, freshwater lakes for paddlers and anglers and camping opportunities.

… and a little history!

In fact, designated in 1911, Strathcona is British Columbia’s oldest provincial park, and encompasses 248,669 hectares.

Here’s a look at what you’ll find.

Located almost in the centre of Vancouver Island, this rugged mountain wilderness spans more than 250,000 hectares.

Strathcona summers are pleasantly warm, and winters fairly mild, with heavy snowfalls typical at higher elevations, where it can linger into late spring an summer.

The area in and around Buttle Lake, and Forbidden Plateau offer a variety of visitor-oriented developments, but the rest of the park is largely undeveloped and appeals primarily to people seeking wilderness escapes, hiking or backpacking into the alpine regions.

Buttle Lake and the many other lakes and waterways can provide good fishing in season for Cutthroat, Rainbow and Dolly Varden trout.

Find Della Falls, whose drop of 440 metres over three cascades makes it one of the highest waterfalls in Canada, in the southern remote section of the park with the trailhead only accessible by boat at the northwest end of Great Central Lake.

And the highest point on Vancouver Island, the Golden Hinde (elevation 2,200 metres), stands almost in the centre of Strathcona to the west of Buttle Lake.

Canoes beached at Buttle Lake marine campground in Strathcona Provincial Park. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

Canoes beached at Buttle Lake marine campground in Strathcona Provincial Park. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

Strathcona Park benefits from excellent adjoining commercial facilities such as the Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre, which offers outdoor education and wilderness skills training. The nearby communities of Campbell River, the Comox Valley, Gold River, Tofino and Port Alberni offer a full range of visitor services.

Mount Washington Alpine Resort, located adjacent to the park, offers extensive alpine and nordic skiing opportunities, as well as a variety of winter and summer recreation facilities.

Be sure to plan ahead before you go, be prepared for changeable weather – visit bcparks.ca for maps and information.

BC’s provincial parks are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but to plan for future adventures here and throughout the West Coast, visit westcoasttraveller.com.

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