10 Best Hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park
Strathcona Provincial Park is one of British Columbia’s hidden gems – a vast wilderness in the heart of Vancouver Island, teeming with unusual wildlife and impressive mountain landscapes. This 250,000-hectare park is a hiker’s paradise, with plenty of beautiful trails over magnificent terrain, passing by wildflower meadows, craggy ridges, and serene lakes.
The hiking trails in Strathcona Provincial Park are concentrated around Buttle Lake and the Forbidden Plateau, and here you’ll find dozens of bucket list hikes. Outside these areas, the wilderness of the park beckons, making it the perfect destination for adventurous hikers. Strathcona Provincial Park is one of the best places to go get lost on Vancouver Island, and we’d highly recommend it as a hiking destination!
To give you a little inspiration, we’ve put together a list of the top ten best hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park. These epic trails are just waiting to be explored, so grab your hiking boots and get out on the trails today!
This iconic Strathcona hike certainly lives up to its name, passing along a high ridge littered with delicate alpine flowers. The trail rises steeply before emerging out onto the ridge, where you’ll enjoy a fabulous panorama of Mounts Septimus and Rousseau, Cream Lake, and the picturesque Nine Peaks. In the right season you’ll find some glorious flora alongside the trail, including bright pink mountain heather. This is one of the best hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park, and will leave you with wonderful memories.
Perched at the edge of the Forbidden Plateau, Mount Albert Edward’s distinctive peak dominates the Mount Washington Ski Resort. This is a popular area of the park for both skiing and hiking, and this hike is one of the most satisfying and impressive routes in the region. The trail passes through dense, atmospheric forests, past the beautiful Whiskey Meadows, and finally emerges, after a steep climb, at the summit of Mount Albert Edward. The views here are incomparable, and a welcome reward after the efforts of the hike!
Strathcona Provincial Park is known for its lovely waterfalls, and this route to Lady Falls showcases one of the finest. The falls lie deep in the enigmatic forests of the Cervus Creek Valley, and the trail to the viewing platform is simply magical. The cliff walls surrounding the falls are covered in fragrant moss, and the mists that rise from the waters sometimes create beautiful rainbows. This is one of the best family-friendly hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park.
The hike up to Bedwell Lake will take you along one of the most accessible trails in Strathcona Provincial Park, with plenty of bridges, staircases and boardwalks to help you to navigate the park’s terrain. The views from the trail are simply spectacular, with a vista that includes Big Interior Mountain and its enormous glacier. Baby Bedwell, the small lagoon at the start of the lake, is an excellent spot for swimming, and you may well feel like a dip after the steep climb!
The Elk River trail traces the path of the river all the way to Landslide Lake, and is one of the most popular treks in Strathcona Provincial Park. The route passes through a beautiful landscape filled with tall trees, all the way up to Landslide Lake. The views from the top are incredible, with a fantastic view of Mount Colonel Forster and the southern side of Elkhorn Mountain.
Looking for a fun half-day hike in Strathcona Provincial Park? The hike up Mount Becher offers incredible views over to the Comox Glacier and Mount Albert Edward, from the top of the easternmost peak in the park. The trail rises gently, passing tranquil ponds and meadows filled with flowers, until you ascend above the tree line to enjoy a fabulous panorama over the nearby mountains. This is one of the best hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park.
One of the classic Vancouver Island hikes, Mount Myra is one of the most famous hiking peaks in Strathcona Provincial Park. Passing by tranquil lakes, flower-strewn alpine meadows and rocky gullies, this trail is deservedly popular among local residents of Vancouver Island, and makes for a very satisfying day out. The views from the summit of Mount Myra are spectacular, taking in the Golden Hinde, Mount Tom Taylor, and several impressive glaciers.
This short hike out to Lake Helen MacKenzie is an excellent family-friendly trail in Strathcona Provincial Park. The trail is well maintained, passing along boardwalks and gravel walkways, through atmospheric old growth forest. The beautiful lake offers many wonderful photo opportunities, with the tranquil waters reflecting the snow-capped peaks that surround it.
The Upper Myra Falls tumble 23 meters down a lush cavern into a deep blue basin, making this one of the most magical sights in Strathcona Provincial Park. This easy, family-friendly route switchbacks through a gentle hillside, passing by old growth forest and mossy underbrush. Come in spring when then falls are at their finest, and admire the spectacular sight from the specially made viewing platform.
Augerpoint Beach sits on the bank of the magnificent Buttle Lake, at the point where the Phillips Creeks meets the water. The views over the lake itself are truly magnificent, with the towering peak of Mount Myra looming large over the beach. This is a great place for a family walk and a swim, and in summer there are plenty of watersports and activities available on the lake. This is one of the best easy hikes in Strathcona, and a wonderful way to enjoy the park’s wonderful scenery.
-By guest writer Lukas Saville