Vancouver Island

The islands rugged shorelines are largely made up of rocky headlands interspersed with beaches of sand, crushed shell or storm pummeled pebbles. As you move inland the temperate rain forest gives way to alpine meadows and a backbone of snow capped mountain peaks overlooking finger lakes and rushing rivers.

 
 

The west coast, with the exception of the Pacific Rim area, is largely uninhabited and difficult to access. While you will find a variety of native peoples settlements, small fishing villages and some rather pricey resorts, most of the area is largely untouched. Open to the broad pacific but with seemingly endless sounds and inlets which offer varying degrees of protection, this is one of the finest destinations in North America for those looking for adventure or a chance to commune in peace with nature.

The island is home to Pacific Rim National Park which includes the West Coast Trail and the Broken Group, which is one of the world's premier sea kayaking destination. Just off the south eastern shore you'll find the newely designated Gulf Islands National Park Reserve which also presents some of the finest sea kayaking opportunities available. Hundreds of Provincial and Provincial Marine parks can be found in the forest, mountains and along the shorelines of the island. In addition you'll find a wealth of Forest Service areas with a variety of outdoor opportunties including camping.

 

Parks

NATIONAL

Pacific Rim National Park - Located on the west coast Vancouver Island the park has three sectors. Long Beach, the Broken Group (Barkley Sound) and the world famous West Coast Trail. You'll find excellent camping, sea kayaking, surfing, hiking and backpacking, while in the quiet season visitors are attacted to the areas resorts to experience the Pacific Ocean's ferocious storms more...


Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

The park is located in the Strait of Georgia just off the south eastern coast. Only recently designated as a National Park Reserve, the park consists of a number of the smaller Southern Gulf Islands as well as designate areas larger islands. The islands of Princess Margaret (Portland Island), D'Arcy Island, Russell Island, Tumbo and Cabbage Island are now a part of Gulf Island National Park. In addition sections of Sidney, the Penders, Prevost, Mayne, Saturna (a large area of the island) and Galiano are included. A number of smaller islands and islets are also included in the park. In total the park encompasses over 15 islands in the archipeligo.

Beaumont - See Pender Island

Cabbage Island - Camping (accessible by water only), Hiking, Sea Kayaking. The Island is tucked into the top of Tumbo Island which lies just north of the southern reaches of Saturna Island.

D'Arcy Island - Camping (accessible by water only), Sea Kayaking, Hiking The island, which was once used as a leper colony for the chinese, is located just south of Sidney Island and to the east of Vancouver Island.

Isle de Lis - Rum Island - Camping (accessible by water only), Sea Kayaking, Hiking. Hikers can follow the areas trail which travels all around the island. The island was once used for smuggling illicate alcohol during prohibition in the United States. The island lies just to the north of Sidney Island.

Mount Norman - See Pender Island

McDonald Campground - Saanich Peninsula - Front Country Camping, Sea Kayaking (nearby). Located on the edge of Vancouver Island just above Sidney, the campground is used by kayakers and travelers who are waiting of the next day's ferry sailing. The park is also nicely positioned as a jump off point for exploring the Saanich Peninsula and Victoria.

Mayne Island - Hiking. The park covers a short peninsula at the north of Bennett Bay as well as Georgeson Island which lies just off shore. Note: There is currently no camping allowed in these areas.

Mount Norman - See Pender Islands

Pender Islands - Front Country Camping, Walk-in Camping, Hiking, Sea Kayaking. Front country camping is found on the north island at Prior Centennial, which also has a short hiking trail. The walk-in camping area is located on South Pender Island at Beaumont/Mount Norman. An excellent, but challenging hike is to be had to the top of Mount Norman (244m elevation gain), which will reward you with excellent views of the Gulf Islands. The Roesland/Roe Lake area has hiking (but no camping) as well as a small fresh water lake. The Pender Islands consist of South Pender Island and North Pender Island, which are seperated by a narrow man made channel, with a short bridge connecting the two.

Prevost Island - Camping (accessible by water only), Hiking, Sea Kayaking. The island has seperate areas set aside as part of the National Park. The area with camping and hiking trails is located at the north end of the island at Selby Cove and James Bay. Prevost Island is located off the end of Salt Spring's Long Harbour northwest of Pender and southwest of Galiano Island.

Princess Margaret (Portland) Island - Camping (accessible by water only), Sea Kayaking, Hiking. The Island has three campsites located around the islands perimeter. There are hiking trails that criss cross the island and provide a terrestrial connection to each. The Island lies just south of Salt Spring Island not far from the mouth of Fulford Harbour.

Prior Centennial Park - See Pender Islands

Russell Island - A small island located just on the edge of Fulford Harbour off Salt Spring Island has an interesting history involving Hawaiian settlers, the last of which left the island not long ago. The island has a short hiking trail as well as picnic facities and privies. No camping is permitted, the island is for day use only.

Saturna Island - Hiking, Sea Kayaking Nearly half of Saturna Island, one of the larger islands in the area, is now set aside for use by the National Park. This encompasses Lyall Creek, Mount Warburton Pike in the centre of the island and Winter Cove and Narvaez Bay along the islands shoreline. The island is located just southeast of Mayne Island. There is a winding dirt road which will take you to the summit of Mount Warburton Pike and splendid views of the surrounding islands. Lyall Creek has a hiking trail which leads to a waterfall. Both Narvaez Bay and Winter Cove have hiking trails. Note: There are currently no designated camping areas on Saturna Island.

Sidney Spit - Walk in Campsites, Hiking, Sea Kayaking Located almost due east of the Town of Sidney, the island can be accessed by a day ferry which will transport you over for a day at the beach or a longer stay at the islands campground. There are a number of hiking trails, which will take you around the island (through the forest and to the various beaches) as well as out to the end of the western most sandbar (7.5km return). Campers have a about 1.0km to pack thier gear in (at the time of this writing the park also supplied carts for this purpose) to the parks campsite which is located beside the islands old brick factory. You'll also have a chance to observe one of the most unique shorelines we've ever encountered, a brick beach.

Tumbo Island - Hiking, Sea Kayaking. The island has a linear, as well as a loop trail with camping available just a short distance off shore on Cabbage Island. Tumbo Island is located just to the north of the southern reaches of Saturna Island.

 

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve - Official Site
2220 Harbour Road
Sidney, BC
Canada
V8L 2P6
Phone:
250-654-4000


The Gulf Islands National Marine Conservation Area
- Proposed

Parks Canada

Note: The park's islets and reefs as well as three of it's islands are off limits to visitors, these include Anniversary, Brackman and Georgson Islands. In addition the park may encompass or border private property, please make a point of respecting these areas.

Links

Alpine Tours - Provides foot passenger ferry service to Sidney Spit
Gabriola Island Tourism

Galiano Island Tourism
Gulf Islands
Mayne Island Tourism
Pender Islands Tourism
Saanich Pennisula
Salt Spring Island Tourism

Saturna Island Tourism
Sidney Dive & Surf - Saanich Penninsula
Sidney Kayaking Centre
Sidney Island
Town of Sidney


 

PROVINCIAL

North Island

Elk Falls Provincial Park - North Vancouver Island - 122 Campsites, Flush Toilets, Sani Station, Hiking. The campground has sites along the river. From Campbell River follow the 28 towards Gold River. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site BC Parks Reservations

Loveland Bay Provincial Park - North Vancouver Island - 31 Campsites, Group Camping, Lake Canoeing, Swimming. From Campbell River take Highway 28 4km to the west of Campbell River and follow the turnoff to Elk Falls then turn left right after the dam and drive about 12km to the park. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site BC Parks Reservations

Miracle Beach Provincial Park - North Vancouver Island - 200 Campsites, 4 Walk-In Campsites, Group Camping, Showers, Flush Toilets, Sani-Station, Wheel Chair Access From Courtenay follow the old island highway along the coast towards Campbell River. The park is approximately half way between the two towns. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site BC Parks Reservations

Morton Lake Provincial Park - North Vancouver Island - 24 Campsites, Swimming, Canoe Tripping, Hiking, Wheel Chair Access From Highway 19 north of Campbell River head west on the Menzies Main to Morton Lake Road which will take you into the park. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

Schoen Lake Provincial Park - North Vancouver Island - 9 Campsites, Backcountry Camping, Hiking, Lake Canoeing The park is located off of Highway 19 north of Campbell River between Sayward and Woss. For the most current information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks No Reservations

Strathcona Provincial Park - North Vancouver Island - 160 Campsites (Butte Lake & Ralph River), Wilderness Camping, Group Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Canoeing, Climbing, Mountaineering, Mountain Biking, Kayaking Note: This is a true wilderness area and skills and equipment should be up to the challenge. Never hike or paddle alone and always leave a detailed trip itinerary with the responsible authority before setting out. Snow can fly at higher elevations at any time of year - be prepared.

Hiking Strathcona
Bedwell Lake - Buttle Lake Area - 6 km. The trail provides some excellent vistas. You'll find the trailhead on Jim Mitchell Lake Road. Allow 3.5 hours and expect an elevation change of about 600 metres.
Crest Mountain Trail - Buttle Lake Area - 5km, Difficult This is a climb which presents excellent scenic views at the summit of the trail. The elevation change is approximatley 1,250 meters and it should take about 4 hours to complete.
Della Falls Trail - Forbidden Plateau Area - 16km, Difficult This trail follows along an old railway grade up the Drinkwater Valley almost to the base of the 440 meter Della Falls, one of the 10 highest waterfalls in the world. It should take about 7 hours to complete the trail one way. The elevation change is approximately 350 meters.
Elk River Trail - Buttle Lake Area - 11km, Difficult Following the river valley to Landslide Lake, the trail has an elevation change of about 600 meters and should take about 5 hours to complete.
Helen McKensie/Kwai Lake Croteau Lake Loop Trail - Forbidden Plateau Area - 14km A 14 km loop in the Forbidden Plateau Area that takes you up to overviews of beautiful alpine lakes and mountain vistas. It should take about 6 hours to complete and has an elevation change of approximately 250 meters.
Marble Meadows Trail - Buttle Lake Area - 6.6km, Difficult The trail starts at Buttle Lake and works its way to Marble Meadows, which has beautiful alpine meadows and limestone formations. The trail's elevation gain is about 1,250 meters and should take about 6 hours to compete. Access to the trail is by boat.
Mount Becher Summit Trail - Forbidden Plateau Area - 5km, Moderate-Difficult From the summit of this trail on Becher Ski Mountain you have excellent views of Comox Valley and the northern Strait of Georgia. With an elevation gain of about 650 meters allow about 5 hours for the trail.
Paradis Meadows loop Trail - Forbidden Plateau Area - 2.2km, Easy Located in the Forbidden Plateau Area, this is an easy walk through sub-alpine meadows on a well developed trail. It should take just 45 min. to compete.
Price Creek/Cream Lake Trail - Buttle Lake Area - 8.5km, Difficult Starting at the south end of Buttle Lake the trail follows a dirt road for about 3 km then continues with a strenuous climb on along a rugged section which takes you to Cream Lake. The trail should take about 7 hours and has an elevation change of approximately 1,200 meters.
Tennent Lake/Mount Myra Trail - Forbidden Plateau Area - 7km, Difficult This trail is a very steep, washed out road bed heading to Tennent Lake from the Westmin Resources visitors parking lot. It should take about 5 hours to complete and has a change in elevation of about 1,500 meters.
Upper Myra Falls - Buttle Lake Area - 3km, Moderate This trail starts out on a gravel road then turns onto a forested trail with old-growth and with a beautiful water fall on route. The elevation change is 600 meters and it should take about 2 hours to finish.
In addition to the above there are 8 nature trails which range anywhere from 400 meters to 2 km in length.
Backpacking
Bedwell Lake - Buttle Lake Area - 6 km. The trail provides some excellent vistas. You'll find the trailhead on Jim Mitchell Lake Road, You'll find designated campsites along route. Allow 3.5 - 4.5 hours and expect an elevation change of about 600 metres.
Della Falls Trail - Forbidden Plateau Area - 16km, Difficult This trail follows along an old railway grade up the Drinkwater Valley almost to the base of the 440 meter Della Falls, one of the 10 highest waterfalls in the world. It should take about 7 - 8 hours to complete the trail one way. The trails elevation change is approximately 350 meters. You'll find designated campsites along route.
Elk River Trail - Buttle Lake Area - 11km, Difficult Following the river valley to Landslide Lake, the trail has an elevation change of about 600 meters and should take about 5 - 6 hours to complete. You'll find designated campsites along route.
Maps
National Topographic Series maps (scale 1:50,000), Sheets 92F/5, F/6, F/11, F/12, F/13, K/4, cover the park.
For access to the Buttle Lake Area (Buttle Lake and Ralph River Campgrounds) of the park follow Highway 18 west from Campbell River towards Gold River (Note: There are no services available between the two towns). The highway cuts through the northern section of the park. For access to the Forbidden Platea Area (back country camping only) of the park take Highway 19 and follow the signs to Mount Washington Ski Resort then take exit 130 the Strathcona Parkway At Nordic Lodge Road turn left to the Paradise Meadows parking lot. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

Central Island

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park - Central Vancouver Island - 105 Campsites, Hiking, Swimming (but it's cold) The park has a short hiking trail which takes you around the falls. Follow Highway 4 just north of Nanaimo towards Port Alberni and watch for Errington Road on your left which will take you into the park. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park - Central Vancouver Island - 94 Campsites, Swimming, Lake Canoeing The park is about half way to Port Alberni from the cut off to Highway 4 north of Nanaimo. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Central Vancouver Island - 18 Walk-in Campsites, Group Camping, Flush Toilets, Showers, Swimming, Hiking, Kayaking, The park is extremely popular during the warmer months as a picnic area. The park has 22km of trials which following along the outer edges of the island and criss cross the interior. Cyclists, kayakers and backpackers can take advantage of the parks walk-in campsites which are a short distance from the dock. There is a food concession and gift shop in the park. The island makes for a good base camp for exploring the city of Nanaimo.The park can be reached from Maffeo-Sutton Park in the City of Nanaimo by foot passenger ferry. The trip takes about 10 minutes. Boaters can access the park directly an either moor to a bouy or dock, both of which require the payment of a fee. Maps - Nanaimo Harbour marine chart #3447 BC Parks No Reservations

The island has an extensive trail system which allows you to access almost all of the park. Cycling is allowed on the Mallard Lake and Kanaka Bay trials only. Kayakers have can access the park from Nanaimo.

Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park - Central Vancouver Island - 175 Campsites, 25 Walk-in Sites, Hiking, Swimming, Flush Toilets, Showers, Sani-Station, Group Camping, Picnic Shelters, Nature House, Gift Shop, Concession Well know for it's sandy beaches the park is amongst the most popular on the island so reservations are highly recommended. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

Sproat Lake Provincial Park - Central Vancouver Island - 58 Campsites, Group Camping, Showers, Lake Canoeing, Swimming, Boat Launch The park has ancient petroglyphs. From Nanaimo head north to pick up the 4 west. The park is just a short distance passed Port Alberni. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

Stamp River Provincial Park - Central Vancouver Island - 23 Campsites, Hiking From Nanaimo head north to pick up the 4 west. At Port Alberni follow Beaver Creek Road north into the park. The park is an excellent area to view spawning salmon in the fall. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

South Island

Bamberton Provincial Park - South Vancouver Island - 50 Campsites, Wheel chair Accessible, Reservations From Victoria follow Highway 1 north towards NanaiFor the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

Cowichan River Provincial Park - South Vancouver Island - 72 Campsites, 2 Campgrounds, 4 Walk-in Campsites (Stoltz Pool), Group Camping, Hiking, Swimming, Kayaking, Cycling, Horseback Riding The park is well known for it's water sports and activities including tubing (consult with the park regarding cautions). Cyclists and horse riders can take advantage of the Trans Canada Trail section which is accessible from the park. From Victoria head north on Highway 1 and then west at Duncan on the 18. There are three access points for the park. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

French Beach Provincial Park - South Vancouver Island - 69 Campsites, Group Camping, Sani-station, Hiking, Swimming (it's very cold) From Victoria head towards Nanaimo on Highway 1 then head southeast towards Sooke on the 14. The park lies beyond Sooke just off Highway 14. Reservations

Goldstream Provincial Park - South Vancouver Island - 173 Campsites, Group Camping, Flush Toilets (day use area only) Showers, Hiking, Swimming, Yurts The day use area and the camping area have seperate entrances along the highway into the park. The park has a number of trails for hikers including the Findlayson trail which will take you to the top of Mount Finlayson where you get a spectacular view of the area. From Victoria head towards Nanaimo on Highway 1, the park lies along the highway just passed Langford. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

Gordon Bay Provincial Park - South Vancouver Island - 134 Campsites, Group Camping, Showers, Flush Toilets, Swimming, Lake Canoeing From Victoria head north on Highway 1 and then west at Duncan on the 18 to Lake Cowichan. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

Juan De Fuca Provincial Park (China Beach) - South Vancouver Island - 75 Campsites, Wilderness Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Yurts The park lies along the spectacular 47km Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Wilderness camping areas are available to backpackers along the trail. From Victoria head towards Nanaimo on Highway 1 then head southeast towards Sooke on the 14. The park lies between Jordan River and Port Renfrew just off Highway 14. For the most up to date information on the park as well as maps and photos (where available) see the official park site at BC Parks Reservations

 

Gulf Islands

Bodega Ridge Provincial Park - Galiano Island - Hiking (no camping) The park is well know for it's ridge hikes which will take you up over 240 meters to the top of the cliffs and provide excellent views of Trincomali Channel and Salt Spring Island. From the ferry terminal follow Sturdies Bay Road to Portlier Pass Road which will take you up island and into the park. BC Parks

Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park - Salt Spring Island - Hiking, cycling, kayaking (no camping). The park streaches along the shores of Burgoyne Bay on the islands west side just below the cliffs of Mount Maxwell. You can hike or cycling along the trail just above the shore where you'll have find an nice stand of Garry Oak, or paddle the protected waters of the bay (the waters outside the bay can have strong currents and are best left to the experts). BC Parks

Dionisio Point Provincial Park (Coons Bay) - Galiano Island - Walk-in camping, hiking, biking, sea kayaking, scuba diving, sandy beaches, marine life observation. There are 30 walk-in campsites (no reservations) and a designated sea kayaking camping area. The campsites have acesss to water (in season) which should be boiled before drinking as well as vault toilets. While the park has good sea kayaking and scuba opportunities in the surrounding waters, strong currents require expert skills. The park is located at the northwestern tip of Galiano Island, access is from the water only (marine charts #3442, #3461, 43, 61 and 73). BC Parks

Mount Maxwell Provincial Park - Salt Spring Island - Hiking (no camping) The park is located on Salt Spring Island in the Gulf Islands. The park has exceptional viewpoints which overlook Fulford Harbour and Sansum Narrows providing a broad view of the Gulf Islands as well as parts of Vancouver Islands coastline. There are a number of connections to other area trails which lead down the mountain many of which are not shown on the island maps so make careful note of your route if you wander off to explore. Take Fulford-Ganges Road from the Fulford ferry terminal and head towards Ganges. About 1.5km before Ganges (approximately 11km from Fulford) head west along Cranberry Road and then continue on along Maxwell Mountain Road to the parking lot. The parking area is about 9km from the Fulford-Ganges Road and a part of this section is not paved and can be rough. From the Fulford ferry terminal follow Fulford Ganges Road towards Ganges and watch for the sign for the turn off on Cranberry Road. Head west on Cranberry to Maxwell Road (at this writing the upper part of which is not paved) which will take you into the park. BC Parks

Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park - Galiano Island - Front country camping, walk-ins, (no backcountry), hiking, sea kayaking, white shell beaches. The park has 25 front country campsites as well as 15 walk-ins - reservations are accepted. The campsites have access to water (in season) but there are no showers or sani-dump. You'll also find a group camping site, contact the park for details. The park has recorded over 125 bird species and is a stop over point for many during the migration periods. 35 anchor points are available in Montague Harbour for boaters (the maximum length for boats at the dock is 11 metres or 36 feet) - there is a fee for achorage or docking. From the ferry terminal follow Sturdies Bay Road and bare right on Montague Road which will take you into the park. BC Parks

Pirates Cove Marine Provincial Park - De Courcy Island - Camping, Hiking, Kayaking, Whale watching (seasonal) Located south east of Nainaimo just to the south of Gabriola Island. The park has 12 campsites, hiking trails and areas for swimming. BC Parks

Ruckle Provincial Park - Salt Spring Island - Front country camping, walk-ins (no backcountry), hiking, sea kayaking. The park has over 15km of interconnected trails which will take you along the ocean shore, through wooded areas, wetlands and beside the heritage farm where you can take in the pastoral scenes of sheep grazing beside split rail fences. There are 78 walk-in campsites in the park overlooking the ocean and running along the forests edge. The park also has 8 front country sites which are accessible by car. The campsites have picnic tables, access to water and pit toilets. Reservations are not accepted for the camping sites. The park is located on Salt Spring Island in the Gulf Islands. From the Fulford ferry terminal take Fulford Ganges Road a short distance, then turn right on Beaver Point Road (there are signs for the park) which will take you into the park. BC Parks

Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park - Wallace Island - Camping, Hiking, Sea Kayaking Located between Galiano and the north end of Salt Spring Island in Trincomali Channel. The park has three campsites accessible by water at Chivers Point, Cabin Bay and Conover Cove. The best sea kayak approach is probably from Salt Spring Island from the Fernwood area. Please respect the private property on the island. BC Parks

 


 

REGIONAL

Regional Parks - Capital Regional District, Vancouver Island South


Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park
Bear Hill Regional Park
Coles Bay Regional Park
Devonian Regional Park
East Point Regional Park
East Sooke Regional Park - Exceptional Hiking
Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park - Swimming, Hiking, Cycling
Francis/King Regional Park
Gonzales Hill Regional Park
Horth Hill Regional Park
Island View Beach Regional Park
Lone Tree Hill Regional Park
Matheson Lake Regional Park
Mill Hill Regional Park
Mount Parke Regional Park
Mount Wells Regional Park
Mount Work Regional Park - Exceptional Mountain Biking
Roche Cove Regional Park
Sooke Potholes Regional Park - Great Swimming
Thetis Lake Regional Park - Hiking, Lake Canoeing
Witty's Lagoon Regional Park - Nature Observation

Regional Park Reserves - Capital Regional District, Vancouver Island South

Ayum Creek Regional Park Reserve
Brooks Point Regional Park Reserve
Kapoor Regional Park Reserve
Matthews Point Regional Park Reserve
Mill Farm Regional Park Reserve
Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt Regional Park Reserve
Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park Reserve

Descanso Bay Regional Park - Gabriola Island - 32 Front County Campsites, 595 Taylor Bay Road, Open All Year. From the Ferry the turn off for Taylor Bay Road is less than a kilometre on your left as you drive onto the island.


 

Parks in the Surrounding Region - Vancouver Coast and Mountains

Garibaldi Provincial Park - Backcountry Camping (no front country), huts, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing Located in the Sea to Sky corridor of the Coast and Mountains off Highway 99. The park surrounds and forms the back drop for Whistler resort. A spectacular unspoiled wilderness area it is readily accessible to those with the back country skills and stamina... more

Cypress Provincial Park - Backcountry Camping (no front country), hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding and downhill skiing The park is 3,012 hectares in size and is located within a stones throw of the city of Vancouver off Highway 99. On a clear day, the lookout situated on the road into the park provides a spectacular view of the city and beyond... more

Mount Seymour Provincial Park - Backcountry camping (no front country), hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, horse trails, snowshoeing, snowboarding and downhill skiing The park overlooks Vancouver and on a clear day provides a spectacular view of the city and if you're lucky the 10,000ft peak of Mount Baker. The park is located on Mount Seymour Road just north of the parkway, 15 km north of Vancouver, just off of Hwy 1 in North Vancouver. Outside of the ski centre this is wilderness area just 30 minutes from Vancouver... more

Golden Ears Provincial Park - Reservations, front country camping, backcountry camping, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, horse packing, canoe camping, sea kayaking, swimming A spectacular park 48km east of Vancouver off highway 7. The park has easy car access with trails into the backcountry and several significant peaks which can be reached by park trails. The park butts up against Mount Garibaldi Park at its north boundary providing a seamless corridor of untouched wilderness surrounding the populous lower mainland... more

Note: Golden Ears isn't in the Sea to Sky corridor but it's listed here since it forms the southern boundary with Garibaldi Park and along with Garibaldi it provides some of the most accessible wilderness recreation possibilities in the lower mainland.

Alice Lake - Reservations, front country camping, hiking, swimming The park has 88 front country campsites. The park has its own trail network and with a short drive you can easily get access to the backcountry trails which will take you to the Black Tusk and Diamond Head areas of Garibaldi Provincial Park. The park is fften used by campers intending to visit Whistler, which is less than and hour by car. Make sure you have reservations in the high season. From Vancouver take the Lions Gate Bridge into West Vancouver then head up Taylor Way to the Upper Levels Highway and head west towards Whistler. The park is just off Hwy 99, approximately 13km north of Squamish.

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park - Reservations, Front country camping, hiking trails, waterfall The park is located just 11km south of the town of Whistler on Highway 99 from Vancouver. The waterfalls are spectacular and well worth a visit. The park is perhaps the best base base camp you'll find for exploring Whistler, Garibaldi and the surrounding areas. Reservations are a must in high season. From Vancouver take the Lions Gate Bridge into West Vancouver then head up Taylor Way to the Upper Levels Highway and head west towards Whistler.

Nairn Fall Provincial Park - Front country camping, hiking, swimming, waterfall The park has over 80 front country campsites available. The Nairn Falls after which the park is named are a spectacular site at 60m in height. The park along with Brandywine Falls and Alice Lake are often used by campers who need a base station from which to explore Garibaldi Park or Whistler. Reservations are a must in high season. The park is located just off Highway 99 approximately 32km north of Whistler. From Vancouver take the Lions Gate Bridge into West Vancouver then head up Taylor Way to the Upper Levels Highway and head west passed Whistler.

Porteau Cove - Reservations, front country camping, scuba diving, sea kayaking There are 44 Front Country and 15 Walk-in. A lot of the parks campsites are situated right on the water. The park and the surrounding area are well know to have great scuba diving. The park is locate on the shores of Howe Sound on Hwy 99 south of Squamish about 9km from Britannia Beach. From Vancouver take the Lions Gate Bridge into West Vancouver then head up Taylor Way to the Upper Levels Highway and head west towards Whistler.

Shannon Falls - Hiking, water falls From Vancouver take the Lions Gate Bridge into West Vancouver then head up Taylor Way to the Upper Levels Highway and head west towards Whistler.

Stawamus Chief - Front Country Camping, Climbing, Hiking A world class climbing destination, the park has some of the best, most accessible big wall climbing in North America. From Vancouver take the Lions Gate Bridge into West Vancouver then head up Taylor Way to the Upper Levels Highway and head west towards Whistler. The park is just across from Squamish.

 

Forests in British Columbia

BC Forest Service Recreation from the BC Forest Service

BC Forests have over eleven hundred camping sites scattered throughout the province. Some are managed and some are user managed, with some of the managed sites charging a fee for camping. In addition the Forest Service has a large network of trails it oversees, which include some of the finest hiking in the province.

Vancouver Island has a wealth of forest campgrounds and hiking trails. You'll find a phenomenal concentration of them just north of Cambell River a short distance inland from the from the coast.

Be aware that many of these sites may be in areas with active logging roads, practice extreme caution or even consider changing you're plans. Contact the forest service for more information.

Lakes and Rivers

Vancouver Island

The islands rugged shorelines are largely made up of rocky headlands interspersed with beaches of sand, crushed shell or storm pummeled pebbles. As you move inland the temperate rain forest gives way to alpine meadows and a backbone of snow capped peaks overlooking finger lakes and rushing rivers.

  • Alice Lake
  • Amor Lake
  • Atluck Lake
  • Bonaza Lake
  • Brewster Lake
  • Buttle Lake
  • Cameron Lake
  • Campbell Lake
  • Comox Lake
  • Cowichan Lake
  • Donner Lake
  • Easter Lake
  • Fourth Lake
  • Georgie Lake
  • Great Central
  • Henderson Lake
  • Horne Lake
  • Jump Lake
  • Kain Lake
  • Kathleen Lake
  • Kennedy Lake
  • Mohan Lake
  • Nanaimo Lakes
  • Nintinat Lake
  • Nipkish Lake
  • Pretty Girl Lake
  • Pye Lake
  • Quatse Lake
  • Roberts Lake
  • Sooke Lake
  • Sproat Lake
  • Stella Lake
  • Victoria Lake
  • William Lake
  • Woss Lake

    This list is by no means exhaustive.

Gulf Islands

Most of the Gulf Islands are without fresh water lakes (swimmers shouldn't worry since ocean beaches abound) with the exception of Salt Spring (which has several) and Gabriola Island. St Mary Lake in the northern region of Salt Spring is the areas largest, and along with lovely beaches for relaxing, provides a great place for an easy paddle in a canoe. There are a number of resorts along the lakes shoreline but be forwarned, they may be booked long before high season in the summer. Early reservations are a must to avoid disappointment.

 

Blackburn Lake - Swimming, Salt Spring Island
Bullocks Lake - Salt Spring Island
Cusheon Lake - Swimming, Salt Spring Island
Ford Lake - Salt Spring Island
Hoggan Lake - Gabriola Island
Lake Maxwell - Salt Spring Island
Lake Stowell - Swimming, Salt Spring Island
Lake Weston - Swimming, Salt Spring Island
Roberts Lake - Salt Spring Island
Roe Lake - North Pender Island
St Mary Lake - Swimming, Salt Spring Island

There are no real rivers on the islands, although you'll find streams and creeks, several of which have hiking trails following along side.

 

Mountains and Hills

Vancouver Island

Coming soon... like most areas of British Columbia suffice it to say there are a heck of a whole lot of them.

Gulf Islands

  • Baynes Peak (Mount Maxwell) - 605m, Hiking, Climbing, PPK, Salt Spring Island
  • Bruce Peak - 709m, Hiking, Salt Spring Island
  • Burchell Hill - 800ft, Thetis Island
  • Hope Hill - 648m, Hiking, Salt Spring Island
  • Lively Peak - 650ft, North Pender Island
  • Mexican Hill - 835ft, Valdes Island
  • Mount David - 935ft, Saturna Island
  • Mount Erskine - 440m, Hiking, Salt Spring Island
  • Mount Galiano - 1090ft, Galiano Island
  • Mount Maxwell - See Baynes Peak, Salt Spring Island
  • Mount Norman - 890ft, Hiking, PPK, South Pender Island
  • Mount Parke - 840ft, Mayne Island
  • Mount Sullivan - 630m, Salt Spring Island
  • Mount Tuam - 630m, Hiking, Salt Spring Island
  • Quadra Hill - 745ft, Galiano Island
  • Reginald Hill - 235m, Hiking, Salt Spring Island

 

 

Resources

Vancouver Island and Victoria

Tourism Vancouver Island - Victoria & the Gulf Islands
Out-There's British Columbia
British Columbia Tourism

 

Vancouver Coast & Mountains

Whistler

Out-There's Whistler Main Page
Whistler Tourism

 

Out-There's Destinations

 

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