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Quintessential Photo-Op Spots in Campbell River

These days, it’s easier than ever to document our incredibly beautiful region, whether you’re a professional photographer, an amateur enthusiast with a smartphone, or just a sentimental parent eager to preserve some memories of your summer road trip. We’ve compiled a non-exhaustive list of some of Campbell River’s most iconic attractions to grab a photo opp so that you can remember your epic vacay here for summers to come. 

The Discovery Fishing Pier

The Discovery Fishing Pier is a historic Campbell River location, along with being Canada’s first saltwater fishing pier. Located next to the Government Wharf, it extends out 45 metres from the shore and is 183 metres long – making it a popular spot for avid shore fisherman and ocean lovers alike. With plenty of people watching to do or photographic opportunities to take on the boardwalk, you’re bound to capture some evocative imagery with the Discovery Passage and Quadra Island in the background. If you’re travelling, you may not have packed any fishing gear, but not to worry! The seasonal concession stand (open May-October) provides rod and tackle rentals for those looking to experience this Campbell River classic. In addition to the fishing, the concession stand is also famous for their tasty ice cream cones and savoury fish and chips.

Photo by Tyler Cave
Photo by Tyler Cave

Elk Falls Suspension Bridge

The Elk Falls Suspension Bridge is an iconic regional attraction for many impressive reasons. The deep canyon, mossy forest, and thundering waterfall all make for a stunning day of photography. Located approximately 6 km west on Highway 28, Elk Falls Provincial Park provides gorgeous vistas of the canyon and collection of waterfalls – the Moose, the Elk and Deer waterfalls with Elk Falls being the largest. After a photo-op of the waterfall, wander the Old Growth Loop trail to walk amongst towering Douglas Fir and Cedar trees – or the Riverside Loop trail (4 km return) to visit Moose Falls, Deer Falls, and the Dolphin Pool. This recreation spot is prime territory for many activities with an abundance of trails, picnic spots, a lovely campground, and plenty of spots to cast a line. The large campground at Elk Falls is the perfect base camp for day tripping to Gold River, Sayward, Kelsey Bay, Rock Bay, Quadra Island and Cortes Island, to name a few. Visit the nearby Quinsam Salmon Hatchery, and in the fall, you can catch a glimpse of the incredible spawning salmon in the Quinsam and Campbell Rivers. 

Photo by Tyler Cave
Photo by Tyler Cave

Saratoga Beach

Our local shores offer a vast selection of choices for locals and visitors. Get off the beaten path on a regional road trip and you will be sure to discover sheltered bays, rainforest trails, and rugged coastlines to explore. 20 minutes south of Campbell River, Saratoga Beach offers a California inspired beach day. With peach coloured sand to set up a picnic or settle into with a book, get ready to lounge for the day. The killer sunsets are a regular fixture, with pink skies and distant mountains to give you that ultimate west coast view. Get a beach fire going to properly appreciate the setting sun. Many people also opt to paddle-board here, and you can often catch sight of many little fishing boats offshore. This is a great spot for families, couples, or anyone wanting to relax on a soft, sandy beach.

Photo by Tyler Cave
Photo by Tyler Cave

Lower Myra Falls – Strathcona Park

Strathcona Park is a must visit natural reserve full of breathtaking photo-ops and sweeping mountain scenery. Lower Myra Falls is known to be a popular engagement spot, for good reason. Located about 1.5 hours west of Campbell River, you will stumble upon a striking waterfall, cascading all the way down to Buttle Lake. The texture of the rock and the patterns of the flowing water make this waterfall a classic and well documented attraction. For those with more ambitious mountain plans, there are some more rigorous day and multi-day hikes that offer unobstructed, uncrowded, and sweeping mountain views. Some of the all time favourites include Flower Ridge Trail (a high ridge littered with delicate alpine flowers), Mount Albert Edward, Lady Falls, and Bedwell Lake Hike. It’s best to do thorough research and trip planning to ensure you chose an excursion that matches your level of interest, fitness, and desired output – as Strathcona Park has some of the most technical hiking on the island. 

Photo by Tyler Cave
Photo by Tyler Cave

Ripple Rock Trail

More views! The Ripple Rock trail is 8km in total, and depending on your fitness level, it can be a bit of an uphill slog, however the payoff is worth it. This popular hiking trail climbs above the site of the historic 1958 Ripple Rock blast, which was the largest non-nuclear explosion in the world at the time. This moderate hiking trail offers up summit views overlooking Menzies Bay and the Seymour Narrows. The dramatic swirling currents and the view over to Quadra Island are worth pausing and resting at the top with a snack for. 

Photo by Bluetree Photography
Photo by Bluetree Photography

On The Water

Some of the most exciting scenes of Campbell River can be found by hopping on a kayak, canoe, zodiac, or passenger boat to get a different perspective of our rugged Central Island coast. Being one of BC’s top wilderness destinations, if wildlife or marine life is your subject of choice – the photography potential is huge if you can get out on the water. There are dozens of nearby islands, including Quadra, Cortes, and the Discovery Islands along with more remote coastal attractions up north including Bute Inlet, Toba Inlet, and ample scenes to behold throughout Desolation Sound. There are dozens of fantastic and professional outfits for all different types of water vessels, depending on your adventure preferences with your choice to explore fresh and saltwater. 

We encourage anyone planning a trip that is looking into water adventure to contact the Campbell River Visitor Services team to find out more about kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, whale watching, glamping, and so much more. 

Photo by Michael Hack
Photo by Michael Hack

Mount Washington

In summer, Mount Washington is an outdoor sports paradise, with a mountain Bike Park, scenic chairlift and zip-line rides, access to hikes into alpine lakes, and dining options to cap off a terrain filled day. If your idea of a successful photoshoot involves MTB drops, gnarly trail scenes, and stunning vistas, you better head up here this summer. Bordering Strathcona Provincial Park, and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the resort is truly prime real estate. 

Not planning on getting here til the winter? That’s also a wise choice! This zone is one of Canada’s deepest all-natural snowpacks, where you can consistently shred deep powder with the Comox Valley below and the expansive Georgia Strait in the background.

The resort community surrounding the mountain operation shares an avid interest in alpine outdoor recreation, so you’re sure to bump into like minded locals with their favourite spots to hit. 

Photo courtesy of Mount Washington Alpine Resort
Photo courtesy of Mount Washington Alpine Resort