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Five Hikes with Mountain Views in Strathcona Park

Strathcona Provincial Park is one of the premier hiking destinations in British Columbia. The park is renowned for having the the tallest mountains on Vancouver Island like the Golden Hinde, Elkhorn and Mt. Colonel Foster. While those peaks are only accessible to experienced mountaineers, there are many smaller summits that offer spectacular views of the mountains in Strathcona Park. Read on to find out our top 5!

Bedwell Lake

  • When to go- Trail is usually snow free by late June/ early July
  • Difficulty – Moderate 
  • Accessed By- To find the trailhead travel along Buttle Lake road until the turn to Jim Mitchell Lake Road. It is 7km until the start of the trail. It is worth noting this road is gravel and unmaintained which is best suite for vehicles with 4 wheel drive and high clearance. 

Baby Bedwell Lake and Bedwell Lake are pristine lakes located at the south end of Buttle Lake. Both offer great swimming, tent platforms, and stunning views of Mount Tom Taylor and Big Interior Mountain. The hike to Baby Bedwell Lake is an easy 4 km hike, making it a great turn around point for those looking to day trip, while there dive in for a refreshing dip in the crisp alpine lake.

Those looking to camp, can set up at Baby Bedwell or continue 2 km further and set up at Bedwell Lake.

 The elevation gain from the parking lot to Bedwell Lake is about 500 m which makes it a moderately easy way to get great mountain views.

 Mount Albert Edward 

  • When to go- Trail is usually snow free by August 
  • Difficulty – Strenuous  
  • Accessed by- Forbidden Plateau. To get to the trailhead head south along Highway 19, follow the signs for Mount Washington Alpine Resort and continue up Strathcona Parkway to the parking lot at Raven Lodge.

Mount Albert Edward, is Vancouver Island’s sixth highest peak, it is one of the safest mountains to summit in the park. There is a wide ridge that takes you up to the peak and the terrain is fairly untechnical, making it a favourite with locals and tourists alike.

The landscape also includes lush forest and subalpine meadows. It is best done as a two or three day hike with a base camp at the Circlet Lake backcountry campsite.(Local tip: the tent platforms at Circlet Lake tend to fill up on weekends during July and August so plan your trip for a weekday if possible.)

The total distance to reach Mt. Albert Edward,is a little over 30 km with 1000 m of elevation gain. It is 10.5 km to Circlet Lake which takes 3-4 hours with a full overnight pack. Make sure you fill up your water bottles (and don’t forget to treat it) at Circlet Lake as it is the last reliable water source before the summit. The return trip from Circlet Lake to the summit is about 11 km and is where most of the elevation gain happens, estimated time for this portion is around 6 hours. From the summit of Albert Edward many of the highest mountains on Vancouver Island are visible and there are panoramic views in every direction. After you head down from the summit be sure to go for a swim in Circlet Lake. 

Crest Mountain

  • When to go- Trail is usually snow free by late June
  • Difficulty – Strenuous 
  • Accessed by- Highway 28 about a hour and a half drive from Campbell River

Crest Mountain provides spectacular views of nearby Kings Peak, that is if you’re willing to tackle the 1250 m of elevation gain. The trail is well engineered with many switchbacks and it is only 5 km to the summit. Hiking times can vary from 5-8 hours.

The trail winds its way through dense forest for much of the hike and then breaks out into a subalpine meadow with a beautiful lake and breathtaking views.

Elk River Trail- Landslide Lake 

  • When to go- Trail is usually snow free by June
  • Difficulty- Moderate
  • Accessed by: Highway 28 about an hour and half from Campbell River

Landslide Lake, is a turquoise gem nestled at the base of rugged Mount Colonel Foster. In 1946 a large earthquake struck Vancouver Island and caused Mount Colonel Foster to slide, forming the remarkable slide zone for which the lake was named.

 The trail follows the scenic Elk River Valley for 11 km before reaching Landslide Lake. You will travel through the forest passing waterfalls and views of the river and surrounding mountains. The Elk River Trail can be done as a long day hike or an overnight excursion.

If day hiking, leave early in the morning and allow 7-10 hours return. Campsites are located at the 6 km mark and the 9 km mark. It is important to note that camping is not allowed right at Landslide Lake, in an effort to reduce environmental impact. 

 Cruikshank Canyon

  • When to go- Trail is usually snow free by July
  • Difficulty- Moderate 
  • Accessed by- Forbidden Plateau. To get to the trailhead head south along Highway 19, follow the signs for Mount Washington Alpine Resort and continue up Strathcona Parkway to the parking lot at Raven Lodge.

Starting in the subalpine Paradise Meadows on Mt. Washington the hike to Cruikshank Canyon offers mountain views and stunning lakes. We recommend doing this trail as a loop which will take you past the scenic Croteau and Lady lakes making the most out of your time in the subalpine.

Round trip this hike is 20 km with about 500 m of elevation gain. There is a backcountry campsite at Kwai Lake which is located less than an hour from the Cruikshank Canyon lookout, the hike can be done as either an overnight or day hike. (*Allow 7-9 hours if you are planning on day hiking.)

The many mountains in Strathcona Park are on full display at the lookout. Try to find Castlecrag Mountain it is distinguishable by it’s rugged shape!

Before you go

Before heading out into the park be sure to check the latest trail conditions.

These trails are a part of a delicate eco-system there are no fires allowed within the park at anytime of the year. In order to keep these places beautiful please practice leave no trace and pack out what you pack in. 

How to Get There

Strathcona Park is located on central Vancouver Island, Campbell River and the Comox Valley, are the primary access points to the park.

Buttle Lake: The main access to Strathcona Park is via Highway 28, which connects with Gold River on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Follow Hwy 19 north past Courtenay to Campbell River, then follow Hwy 28 west for 48 km. Hwy 28 passes through the northern section of the park and provides access to Buttle Lake. Gas and services are not available between Campbell River and Gold River.

Forbidden Plateau: The main access route to Forbidden Plateau from Courtenay and Campbell River is via the Paradise Meadows Trailhead at Mount Washington. From Highway 19 follow signs to Mount Washington Ski Resort via exit #130 (the Strathcona Parkway) for 20 km. Turn left onto the Nordic Lodge road for 1.5 km to the Paradise Meadows parking lot. 

Happy trails! Be sure to share your hiking adventures with us using #DiscoverCampbellRiver

More Hiking Trails!

7 Trails for 7 Days In Campbell River

7 Trails for 7 Days In Campbell River

Photo: Chris Istace - Summit of Kings Peak Strathcona Park  

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” -John Muir

  You’re going to need a full week in Campbell River.  There are just too many stashed-away, breathtaking trails to bike and too many sweeping and spectacular paths to hike for someone to spend only a few days exploring.  So pack the hiking boots, tune up the mountain bike (or schedule a rental) and make your way to Campbell River. Here are some daily suggestions to help you cover some of the coolest kilometres in Canada on your next trip to our slice of the wild. We’ll see you on the trails.  

Monday: Woods Creek Mountain Bike trails

Home to seven trails of various terrain and gradient, Woods Creek is an explorer's paradise.  Traverse bridges, logs and winding corners on the more challenging trails and just cruise through the forest on the easier cross country trails.

Tuesday: Sea-walk

After a day at Woods Creek, you may want to plan an easy recovery day.  The Sea-Walk biking lanes run from Willow Point to Downtown Campbell River and offer spectacular views of both the beach and the mountains.  The Sea-Walk is completely paved and can be done on foot or on two wheels.  Whatever activity you choose, make sure to go slow. Whales have been spotted from this famous Campbell River path.

Wednesday and Thursday: Snowden Forest

Why does Snowden Forest get two days on our list?  Because you can’t possibly cover all 100km of its amazing biking trails in just one day.  The area’s rock bluffs and dense forest are a favourite amongst mountain bikers in BC and the well-marked trails make a visit to this expansive spot easy to navigate for first-time visitors. There is also an annual Snowden Trail Challenge event every year, that shouldn't be missed by newcomers or experienced riders and runners.

Friday: Beaver Lodge Lands

Century-old trees cover the 415 hectares of land and trails at this hiking location that’s just as popular amongst locals as it is visitors.  These lands are some of the first forest plantations in British Columbia and wildlife has taken quite a liking to the area.  The well-maintained paths are accompanied by eagles, owls, deer and occasionally black bears.  

Saturday: Oyster River Nature Park

Good things come in small packages and that is certainly true at Oyster River Nature Park.  The area’s trails wind through just 20 acres of protected lands, but they pack a powerful punch.  Views of floodplains, ocean and mountains are all part of a casual stroll at this spot just south of Campbell River.  Go during warmer months and the smells from the abundant wildflowers are free, just like the hike is year round.  

Sunday: Your choice.  There’s plenty.

Seriously, there’s a lot. Don't forget to share your experiences and #discovercampbellriver on your adventures! Please be mindful when exploring, look up current conditions, check in the Local Visitor Centre and ensure that you are implementing best practices. Always let someone know where you're going, you can look at AdventureSmart for tips when heading into the outdoors, and always follow the Leave No Trace principles. Happy travels! 

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A Solo Travellers Guide to Waterfall Exploration

A Solo Travellers Guide to Waterfall Exploration

Blog and Images by: nat_venture

Extra, extra read all about it! Campbell River has been listed among the “top places to visit as a solo female traveller” by Expedia.ca. Something I have known for the last few years and have definitely taken advantage of but, this validation has certainly raised the excitement level for my home away from home!

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If a road trip (no matter the season) is on your bucket list, Campbell River is definitely the place to head.

No one to go with you? Lack of funds? No reservations? No problem! Don’t let these hesitations hold you back.

There are so many world-class hiking trails and scenic locales in and around Campbell River. If you are a first-time solo traveller I would suggest taking the Waterfall Tour.

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You could spend a whole day at Elk Falls Provincial Park walking the suspension bridge and enjoying the winding trails or you could just make it a quick stop to view the gorgeous falls and then drive to Strathcona Park to hit 4 more waterfalls.

 

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From Elk Falls you are looking at about a 45-minute drive to Lady Falls. Follow the signs toward Gold River. From the parking lot, it’s a 900-meter path up to the falls (about 15 min each way).

 

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You’ll need to backtrack a little bit toward Buttle Lake to hit Lupin Falls next. It’s about another 15-minute walk from the parking lot to this absolutely magical and whimsical waterfall in the most idyllic forest setting. There is a beautiful rest/picnic area here which would be a great place to have lunch or a snack.

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Karst Creek is next on the hit list and often overlooked but, quite a unique place that features sinkholes and disappearing waterfalls into the soft limestone. It is about a 2km round trip trail. The bridge on this trail is in disrepair but you can still hike in and back out as opposed to the round trip.



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Last but not least is Myra Falls. This is not only my favourite waterfall on the island but, probably my favourite spot to visit on the island. It is stunningly beautiful and changes so much from season to season. I have been there countless times and each time has been a different experience.

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From Campbell River, it is more than possible to hit all 5 waterfalls in one day. I recently enjoyed my own frozen waterfall tour.

I started at Elk Falls at 8 am. I hit all 5 waterfalls and ended at Myra at 2:30 in the afternoon. I spent quite a bit of time at my last destination having an outdoor picnic and enjoying hot chocolate at the Falls.

 

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There are so many options for accommodations while you are in the area. My personal go to as a solo female traveller is to car camp. There are several campsites and rec sites in the area depending on your comfort level.

Buttle Lake Campground and Ralph River Campground are two popular sites right in the park. Keep in mind they don’t open up until April 1st.

You could stay in one of the hotels right in Campbell River. There are a few to choose from.

If you have a tent or a camper why not try one of the rec sites in the area? Watching the sunset after a perfect day around a fire is my favourite way to make the most of the fresh pine air.

What to bring:

  • Weather appropriate clothing (the temps from day to night can be quite extreme)
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Warm sleeping bag
  • Headlamp
  • Your favourite road trip tunes
  • Camera
  • Single burner for hot drinks and heating food
  • Good hiking shoes
  • First aid kit
  • Plenty of food and water
  • Navigation tools such as GPS, compass or map

Follow Leave No Trace principles when exploring anywhere in nature, and always be prepared for your exploration trips by checking in with Adventure Smart. 

Nat has become a wonderful community ambassador and advocate for Campbell River, Destination Campbell River couldn't be happier with this solo adventurers approach to exploration and education for the Campbell River and Strathcona Region. Follow her adventures on Instagram @nat_venture

Share your adventures in Campbell River and Region using #DiscoverCampbellRiver #LNT #AdventureSmart

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Leave no Trace

Leave no Trace

The city of Campbell River and the region is a beautiful place to explore, there is an abundance of nature, making this spot an appealing one to visit. Our region is home to 5 Provincial Parks, an abundance of varied wildlife, beaches, and trails. We love where we live and sharing all the amazing things to see and do in Campbell River. We also believe it is important to protect and preserve our environment so these places can be explored for generations.

We have been a Leave No Trace partner since 2019 and work towards educating locals and visitors alike. To kick it off here is a friendly reminder of the 7 principles and how to practice them in the CR region. Share how you practice LNT in our beloved area using #DiscoverCampbellRiver

1) Plan Ahead and Be Prepared

The Campbell River Region is home to trails for all skill levels. Being prepared and educated about the area you’re going to explore is crucial. The weather can change quickly, especially if you are hiking to higher elevations. Before visiting an area research the regulations. For example, in BC parks dogs are required to be on leash in order to keep them on the trail and minimize the impact they have on the environment. If you are planning to hike in popular areas like, Paradise Meadows or Landslide Lake, try and go during less busy times, weekdays perhaps or shoulder season (when possible) and hike in smaller groups! Check out Adventure Smart for tips on trip planning and what to think about before adventuring.

2) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Camping is a beloved summer pastime in Campbell River. When you set up camp only do so in designated areas. If you are wilderness camping, look for already established spots that are on hard durable surfaces. In Strathcona Park, popular backpacking trails have designated camping areas in order to help reduce environmental impact. For example, the trail to Landslide Lake has two backcountry camping areas, people are not allowed to camp at the lake as the impact is too great. It is important to follow these rules in order to preserve delicate ecosystems.

3) Dispose of Waste Properly

Backpacking and hiking is a big draw for people in the Campbell River region. When out in nature, it is important to carry a trash bag with you and pack out what you pack in. If you find trash, pick it up and pack it out, leaving places better then when you found them helps lessen the impact.

4) Leave What You Find

While out in nature it can be tempting to want to take a souvenir or some memento of your time to remind you of the adventures you had. It is best to leave things where you found them and instead take some awesome photographs for your albums. (Yes, people still have those).

5) Minimize Campfire Impact

Fires can cause long-lasting impacts. When in delicate environments such as the alpine in Strathcona Park, refrain from lighting fires. The only places in Strathcona Park where fires are allowed is in the fire rings at the two campsites! The summers in BC have been getting dryer and Campbell River is no exception, before lighting a fire check for any bans or restrictions and be sure to fully extinguish it before leaving to help reduce the risk of a forest fire!

6) Respect Wildlife

We are lucky to share our home with some of the most amazing animals in the world, bears, eagles, whales, elk and many others. When out exploring nature it is important to remember that we are in their habitat. If you do happen to encounter an animal remember to only observe from afar do not approach or try to feed the animals. If you are bringing dogs or other pets out onto the trail with you, keep them leashed and under control.

7) Be Considerate of Others

Last but not least, when out on the trails be considerate of others. Popular trails in Elk Falls and Strathcona Provincial Park, can get quite busy during the summer months so it is important to respect other trail users to ensure everyone has a memorable experience! Here are some accounts we love that help foster a love of the outdoors while promoting LNT principles.

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Your Essential Guide to Chasing Waterfalls in Campbell River and Region

Your Essential Guide to Chasing Waterfalls in Campbell River and Region

There is a wealth of stunning waterfalls all over Vancouver Island. Highway 28 that winds its way between Campbell River and Gold River has over 70 waterfalls (in the rainy season). Here are some of our favourites to explore! So grab a friend and go chasing waterfalls. Don’t forget to share your photos with us using #DiscoverCampbellRiver.

Elk Falls

Directions: Located about 2km out of town take Hwy 28, turn at Brewster Lake Rd and park in the day-use area. Length: 2km Drive Time from CR: 10min Elk Falls are stunning year-round, from your vantage point on the suspension bridge you can see the Campbell River wind its way down to the falls. Which plunge down 25m into the canyon below. In the winter, increased water flows make seeing the falls a truly unforgettable experience. If you have time check out the upper trails, Moose Falls and Deer falls as well.  

Lupin Falls 

Directions: Take Hwy 28 west to Strathcona Provincial Park, the trailhead is at the beginning of Buttle Lake Rd. Length: 800m, about 20min Drive Time from CR: 1hr The 20-minute looping trail around Lupin Falls leads through a mossy forest and over creek beds. The waterfall itself cascades down the high rocky bank to the creek below. Lupin Falls can be overlooked as Strathcona Park has so much to offer, but the secluded nature makes it the perfect spot to start your waterfall chasing adventure.  

Lady Falls

Directions: Take Hwy 28 west to Strathcona Provincial Park,  the trailhead is located right along Hwy 28. Length: 900m, about 20min Drive Time from CR: 1hr The trail to these falls leads through an old-growth forest, towering cedar trees draped in moss, create a colourful canopy. Once you’ve wound your way through the forest, the path ends with a viewing platform that offers great views of the powerful Lady Falls.  

Karst Creek 

Directions: Take Hwy 28 west to Strathcona Park. The trail is about halfway along Buttle Lake Rd. Length: 2km, about 45min Drive Time from CR: 1.5hrs Karst Creek is one of the lesser-known waterfalls in Strathcona Park, but this hidden gem is one of the most beautiful places in the park. The trail leads to the cascades of Karst creek, the waterfall flows over limestone, fallen logs and moss, giving the falls a forgotten prehistoric vibe perfect for exploration.  

Lower Myra Falls

Directions: Take Hwy 28 to Strathcona Provincial Park. Trailhead is located at the end of Buttle Lake Rd. Length: 1km, about 15 min Driving Time from CR: 1.5hrs Lower Myra Falls is one of the highlights of Strathcona Park. The falls dramatically cascade all the way down into buttle lake. The water here is brilliant green and blue. When flows are low Hikers can follow the cascades down to the bottom of the falls. A photo of these falls is sure to guarantee your next  #waterfallwednesday is a success! If you have the time we suggest checking out Upper Myra falls too!   Happy waterfall chasing, tag your pics with #DiscoverCampbellRiver!

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Where to Bring Your Dog in Campbell River

Where to Bring Your Dog in Campbell River

Campbell River is an active town on the edge of the wilderness, where friendly laidback locals and visitors enjoy the close proximity of hiking trails and oceanfront walking paths. People travelling with dogs can find plenty of beautiful locations to stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh air with their animal companion in tow. From beaches to dog parks to hiking trails, Campbell River has options for every dog and their human! Trail etiquette and wilderness safety: please pick up after your dog and keep your dog under control around other dogs and humans. This helps everyone respect the environment and share the trails. Leashes are necessary to protect your dog from bears or cougars as well as to avoid trail erosion. When in doubt, stay on a leash!

Beaver Lodge Forest Lands

Leash required? Yes, this is a multi-use trail network Address: South Dogwood Street Drive 10 minutes from downtown Campbell River to take your dog on a forested walk, run, or bike ride in Beaver Lodge Forest Lands.

Elk Falls Provincial Park 

Leash required? Yes. Dogs must be kept on leashes at all times and are not allowed on the beaches. Address: Elk Falls Suspension Bridge, Millennium Trail, Campbell River, BC Spectacular Elk Falls is a must-see for visitors to Campbell River regardless of the season. Drive 10 minutes east of town to get immersed in the vibrant forests that the Pacific Northwest is known for. The moderate 6.4 km (4 miles) Millenium Trail loop is suitable for most abilities and popular with families. Enjoy the falls from afar or get up close on the platform or suspension bridge. Please be advised that some dogs get frightened on the platforms and bridge, so their owners sometimes choose to carry their dogs or pause.

Rotary Seawalk

Leash required? Yes Address: Campbell River Shoreline Local tip: Check out Foggdukkers Coffee to get your caffeine fix pre- or post-walk. The Rotary Seawalk is a popular 5.5 kilometer (3.4 miles) paved walkway that follows the Campbell River City shoreline. It is accessible for wheelchair users, easy on your dog’s feet, and gives lots of opportunity for a quick detour down to the ocean. Stop by the Simms Creek Pump Station to let your dog have a drink of freshwater at the dog-friendly fountain. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for birds, marine wildlife, and the driftwood sculptures along the way.

Strathcona Provincial Park

Leash required? Yes. Dogs must be kept on leashes at all times and in all seasons. They are not allowed on the beaches. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs due to potential encounters with wildlife. Address: Strathcona Provincial Park has two main access points. Take Highway 28 West to access the Buttle Lake area or take Hwy 19 South to Mt.Washington to access Paradise Meadows. For the more adventurous, Strathcona Provincial Park offers a vast network of hiking trails and is just a one-hour drive outside of Campbell River. One could live in Campbell River for a lifetime and still have more to explore, but here are a few favourite spots of note:

Saratoga Beach

Leash required? No, leashes are optional. But please keep your dog close to respect other beach users. Address: Seaman Road Saratoga Beach is a dog's paradise with lots of soft sand to dig in and roll on. Also, enjoy shallow or deeper waters to play fetch with your favourite ball together. There are complimentary doggie bags and garbage cans off of the Seaman Road entrance to help keep the beach clean.

Penfield West Dog Park

Leash required? Nope! Address: 2090 College Drive Let your pooch roam free at this off-leash dog park after a long day of travelling. Watch them play and socialize with the neighbourhood pups. There is no shortage of grass to roll on, as well as benches, dog water fountains, and doggie bags.

Dog Agility Course at Willow Point Park

Leash required? No Address: 1800 South Alder Street Challenge your dog with weave poles, jump bars, a tunnel and a ramp at the local dog agility course in Campbell River.

Dog-friendly accommodation

After a long day with your adventure buddy, you’ll want to find a comfortable, dog-friendly place to stay the night. The following locations are just some of the accommodations in Campbell River that welcome dogs: If you have any tips or questions about travelling with dogs, please let us know on Facebook or Instagram. Have you enjoyed Campbell River with your dog? Tag us in your pictures using #discovercampbellriver!

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