Distance

16.2 Miles

Elevation Gain

1968.5 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Sarah Seads

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

If you only have time for one hike on Vancouver Island, let this be it.

The Elk River Trail is one of the most popular destinations in Strathcona Provincial Park and for good reason.  Not only is this one of the only trails in the Park that doesn't go 'straight up' a mountain, but it also takes you to one of the most beautiful spots on all of Vancouver Island.  The Elk River Trail is approximately 13kms (one way) and climbs gradually up 600m to reach the spectacular (and increasingly well known) Landslide Lake.  Teal in colour, perfectly circular and nestled at the base of the majestic peaks of Mount Colonel Foster, this Lake is a tiny piece of paradise that will leave you wondering if you are truly on Vancouver Island at all.  

This is pristine and fragile wilderness and care must be taken to leave no trace, minimize impact and protect this special place from heavy use.  There is no camping allowed at the lake itself for this reason.  There are two campsites at km 6 and km 9 on the trail, which sit alongside the lovely Elk River.  If you are making a multi-day trip of the trail, drop your gear and set up camp at one of these sites and enjoy a light load on your day trip to Landslide Lake...and beyond.  Those who are feeling extra adventurous can bush bash their way through the slide alder and make it around to the back side of Landslide Lake (follow the trail around the left side of the Lake) then follow the waterfalls up to Berg Lake above.  This is another, tinier lake that will dazzle you with its creamy teal colours and fantastic vantage point. 

The journey to this amazing lake is just as rewarding as the destination however.  The trail travels through lush coastal forest, past sparkling waterfalls and over clear mountain streams.  Thick moss carpets the forest floor, wild flowers and tasty wild berries dangle on the sides of the trail where ever the light is able to sneak in.  If you are lucky you might even spot a giant Elk (or two, as I did on my most recent run out to the Lake!)

There are plenty of amazing views to keep you busy and leave you with that lovely sense of wonder in the presence of such a magical wild space.  Take care and be sure to spread the good word about how to 'Leave No Trace' in this special place.  

  • Plan for 4-6 hours each way as a hike or 2-2.5hours each way as an adventure run
  • Camping is only allowed in the two designated camp areas.
  • Fires are not permitted in Strathcona Provincial Park at any time of year.
  • Take only pictures, leave only footprints!  https://www.theoutbound.com/sa...

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Distance

16.2 Miles

Elevation Gain

1968.5 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Sarah Seads

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike Vancouver Island's King's Peak

Adventure

Hike to Lady Falls

Adventure

Explore Lupin Falls

Adventure

Hike through Marble Meadows to the Wheaton Hut

More Nearby Adventures

Related Stories

destinations

A Magical Yosemite Valley Winter Storm

A Yosemite Winter Wonderland

gear

La Sportiva Women's Skwama Climbing Shoe Review

Super sticky, super responsive, and just as badass as the men’s version of the shoe.

travel

A Few Days in Rossland, BC - A Must-Stop on the Powder Highway

If this town of less than 4,000 friendly folks doesn’t charm your socks off, the terrain at RED M...

destinations

WATCH: A Way of Life Under Attack - 'Welcome to Gwichyaa Zhee'

All over this country, indigenous people are literally just fighting for their identity.

More Stories