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Salt Spring Island
 
    Located on the southeastern shores of Salt Spring Island along Swanson Channel, Ruckle Provincial Park is a shining example of the areas natural beauty. Rugged shorelines alternate with beaches and rocky headlands giving way to the forest and fields as you approach the interior. Windswept Arbutus trees, found nowhere else in Canada, except along the shores of the Georgia Straight are a common sight here. The red bark of these beautiful trees, contrasts with the broad green leaves, which they keep throughout the year, losing them only briefly in late summer. Along the shore, tidal pools provide nature lovers a fascinating glimpse into the life and interaction of the species of the inter-tidal zone. Colourful starfish, sea anemones, barnacles and oysters, as well as the comical crabs, will fascinate and entertain children and adults alike. Park Map  
 
 

On the shorelines keep you're eyes open for river otters, mink, sea lions and perhaps if you're lucky killer whales which are sometimes seen plying the waters off shore. Coves and bays give way to an interior which is a mix of meadows, fields, coastal and rain forest. In the park's interior watch for raccoons and the islands deer which are commonly sighted, particularly at dawn and dusk.

 
 
    Rum runners were known to use the area in and around the park in the nineteen twenties to hide their contraband as they tried to smuggle it across the nearby American border. The park's land once belonged to the Ruckle family, which donated it to the park system. An area adjacent to the park still supports the families working farm, providing some wonderful opportunities for photographers.  
 

Camping

The park has eight front country campsites which are accessible by car as well as seventy eight walk-in sites, many of which are just a short distance from the parking lot. The walk-in sites are nicely located just above the parks shore or at the forests edge. The shoreline sites are an excellent choice, providing wonderful views but may be exposed to strong winds rolling in from the channel. Campsites are available on a first come, first served basis (there are no reservations available for the park) and are at a premium during high season. As of this writing the park supplied wheel barrows if you've got a lot of gear and you don't have a backpack. Note: There are no backcountry campsites in the park.

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Cycling

While there are no cycling trails in the park, the campgrounds are often used by cyclists while touring the islands. Fulford Harbour and Ganges (via Stuart and Beddis roads), two of the islands most popular villages, are within an hour to a few hours peddling. You'll find artists studios, beautiful beaches, parks and historic sites scattered along route, making for an interesting outing all of which help to attract a lot of cyclists to the island. You can rent bicycles in Ganges if you haven't brought your own.

Note: While the islands country roads are a popular cycling destination, you'll find a a fair bit of traffic in the summer months. In addition many roads have blind corners as well as significant hills.

Hiking

The parks seven kilometres of coastline, forested interior, meadows and working sheep farm provide interesting contrasts for hikers as they make their way along the parks fifteen plus kilometres of trails. The island has a number of other excellent trails which provide wonderful views of the Gulf Islands region, these include the trails to Mount Maxwell, Reginald Hill and Mount Erskine. Park & Hiking Trail Map Salt Spring Island Map

Paddling

The Gulf Islands are one of North America's best areas for sea kayakers, with fascinating coves, bays, beaches and reaches in a protected ocean setting. The park campsites lie along Swanson channel, an open body of water which can present challenges to unseasoned ocean paddlers. Located between Fulford and Ganges harbours (where kayaks can be rented) the park can be used as an overnight destination for a week end paddle or a longer outing which takes in some of the areas other islands. If you're not an intermediate or expert paddler, you should think about hiring a guide.

Diving

Divers are attracted to the area by the undersea caves which make for some interesting exploration. Consult with the islands diving companies for details regarding access, currents and areas of interest.

Winter Adventure

While the park is open in the winter, it is located in an area of British Columbia that sees little or no snow in an average year. Better to bring your hiking boots rather than you're cross country skies. Kayakers with cold weather experience and the proper equipment may find the park of interest in the winter. Be aware that winter weather is generally more extreme than what you'll find in the warmer months and a whole lot wetter.

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Salt Spring Island

 

 

Resources

   

Getting There

Salt Spring Island is accessible only by water or by air. Regular scheduled ferry service is available from Swartz Bay (Victoria) or Crofton (Duncan) on Vancouver Island as well as from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) on the lower mainland of British Columbia. A short hop in a small plane will also take you to the island from Victoria, Vancouver or even Seattle. Many people access the area (particularly in the summer) by private boat as well. Victoria can be accessed from Washington State via regularly scheduled ferry service.

 
 

Ruckle Park is located at the south eastern corner of the island. From the Fulford ferry terminal take Fulford Ganges Road a short distance (watch for the signs) then turn right on Beaver Point Road which will take you into the park. From Ganges follow Fulford Ganges Road south to the turn off on Beaver Point Road just before the Fulford ferry terminal.

Ruckle Heritage Farm - 1801 Beaver Point Road, Salt Spring Island
Ruckle Park Map

Salt Spring Island Map

Note: Please respect the farms private property and buildings.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island - Main Page

Features

Gulf Island Scenes
Gulf Island Life
Salt Spring Directory
Salt Spring Fall Fair
Salt Spring Market Photo Gallery
Salt Spring Studio Tour

Regional Links

Gulf Islands
Gulf Islands Guide
Gulf Islands Online
GulfIslandsBC.com
GulfIslands.ca
Discover Vancouver Island - Gulf Islands

 

Surrounding Regions

Out-There's Gulf Islands
Out-There's Vancouver Coast and Mountains
Out-There's Whistler
Out-There's Vancouver Island
Out-There's Victoria

Out-There's Pacific Rim

Tourism Victoria
Tourism Vancouver
Vancouver Island

Vancouver Coast and Mountains

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Salt Spring Island

 


Ruckle Provincial Park

Salt Spring Island
British Columbia

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