Provincial Parks - Strathcona
Click Here for Strathcona Park Hiking Trails
Known as the crown jewel of the Province, Strathcona Park is British Columbia’s oldest and largest park, cradled within its boundaries are the highest mountains on the Island, some of the most diverse eco-systems in the province and indisputably the highest waterfalls in Canada.
Marvel at the bountiful mountain peaks, deep valleys, crystal clear alpine lakes, numerous rivers and cascading streams, glaciers, ice fields, ice-berg filled lakes and old growth forests. Within this cornucopia of geological and diverse ecologies live the rare and sometimes endangered species of the Vancouver Island marmot, a thriving population of roosevelt elk and the unique Vancouver Island white-tailed ptarmigan.
Nestled amongst some of the farthest most reaches of the park are valleys that contain old growth forests that were already maturewhen Captain James Cook landed at Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island over 200 years ago.
Park Size: 250,000 Hectares
Map to: Strathcona Provincial Park
Location – Access: Strathcona Park is located on central Vancouver Island near the community of Campbell River to the east and the Comox Valley to the south east and Gold River to the north east. Due to the venerable size of Strathcona Park there are three main access points and numerous other entry points that are undeveloped.
Buttle Lake Corridor: Journey north-west from Campbell River on highway 28 towards Gold River, travel approximately 40 minutes to the Elk Portal on the right hand side of the road, you are now at the entrance of the park.
Paradise Meadows: Follow highway 19 south to Strathcona Parkway, follow the signs to the Mt Washington Ski Hill at exit #130, travel up the hill for 19 kilometres. Turn left onto the Nordic Lodge road, travel 1.5 kilometres to the Paradise Meadows parking lot. At the parking lot you are now on the boarder of the Park.
Forbidden Plateau: When driving south of Campbell River on highway 19, turn right on Strathcona Parkway, follow the Parkway to the main intersection at base of the Mount Washington road, travel approximately 5 kilometres on this neglected gravel road until you come to a well defined stop sign, this should be Forbidden Plateau Road, turn right. Follow this road up the hill to the main parking lot. Hike up the abandon ski hill, keeping to the right hand ski runs. At the bottom of the abandon rope tow is the trail head to Mt Becher and access to Paradise Meadows from the south.Submit
Camping: There are two main designated camp grounds in Strathcona Park, each with their own unique facilities.
There is one group camp site at Buttle Lake, called the Driftwood Bay group site. This site offers exclusive group camping with wheelchair accessible pit toilets and a covered picnic shelter with a wood stove, available by reservation only.
Ralph River camp ground: Located 35 kilometres south of Buttle Lake along the Mine road offers 75 Vehicle accessible sites.
Buttle Lake camp ground: 85 Vehicle accessible sites – 35 reserved camp sites. An adventure playground is located at the Buttle Lake camp ground with a sandy beach and sites located on the lake shore.
Marine or back country camping at 5 marine camp sites on Buttle Lake and Upper Campbell Lake are available, with tent pads and tables, fees apply for each site from June 15 to September 30. Self registration fee stations are located at the boat launches at Buttle Lake-Karst Creek and day-use areas of Kart Creek, Lupin Falls and Auger Point.
Wilderness Camping: Wilderness camping is available at Strathcona Park, there are several popular trails that offer designated camp sites, such as:
Bear caches, pit toilets and tent platforms are located at most of these camping locations, self registration vaults are located at the trail heads and a back country fee is charged, hikers must use the designated camping sites in these areas, free standing tents are recommended. Please practice “Leave no Trace” Ethics.
Day Use: Almost all easily accessible areas of Strathcona Park feature day use facilities from pit toilets to picnic tables including, the Elk Portal, Buttle Lake boat launch, Lupin Falls, Auger Point, Karst Creek, Lady Falls, Crest Lake and Paradise Meadows.Submit
Toilets: Pit toilets are available at most trail heads, camp sites and rest stops.
Firewood: Firewood is available for sale at all vehicular camp grounds only.
Activities: Hiking, fishing, camping, swimming, mountaineering, rock climbing, wind surfing, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, back country skiing and boarding and snow shoeing.
Boat Launch: Boat launches available at Karst Creek camp site and Buttle Lake camp site, take note that Buttle Lake is a man made reservoir and submerged stumps may be encountered especially at low water levels.
Fishing: Some of the most popular fishing spots in Strathcona Park are: Buttle Lake, Donner Lake, Gold Lake and the Elk River.
Cabins & Huts: Strathcona Park Lodge offers a fine array of accommodations, a cabin may be found at Marble Meadows.
Gas services are not available between Campbell River and Gold River.Submit
Fires are not permitted anywhere at any time throughout the wilderness areas of the park.
External combustion engines of all types are prohibited in the back country areas of Strathcona Park.
Drinking water hand pumps are available at Buttle Lake, Ralph River and Driftwood Bay camp grounds. It is recommended that all back country drinking water be boiled, treated or filtered before consumption.