Comox-Strathcona D, British Columbia

Hike Vancouver Island's King's Peak

9.3 Miles Total - 5905.5 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Rumon Carter

For those either disbelieving that Vancouver Island has "proper" mountains or looking for an introduction once willing to believe, a trip up King's Peak is a great place to start. The route is a relatively straightforward Vancouver Island classic with steep climbing through jaw-droppingly big beautiful trees, past waterfalls, before breaking into the sub-alpine, transiting through a hanging valley then meadows before ascending into the alpine via Queen's Ridge. Atop the King's summit, with the peaks ringing the Elk River Valley filling both your view and, in all likelihood, your bucket list if this has been your first Island Alpine climb, you'll be left with little doubt that Vancouver Island is a more than worthwhile alpine destination.Trailhead coordinates: 49.846798,-125.837419

Our trip, as pictured, was completed as a single-day trail run / hustle. The climb is typically done, however, as a weekend trip with a camp either in the lower meadow, along the ridge leading to the Queen's Face or in the upper cirque.

As for climbs in the Island Alpine, for detailed route descriptions reference Phil Stone’s, guidebook of the same name (at p. 214 for King’s Peak) or his newly-released Island Alpine Select, which goes into greater detail on alpine routes such as King’s Peak.

The trailhead is accessed off Highway 28, west of Campbell River, off the Elk River Timber Co. Road, which leaves the highway 3 km west of Lady Falls. Following a mostly flat/lightly undulating section through the forest, the trail hits a powerline - go right and look to rejoin the well-marked trail on the left a couple hundred metres along the powerline. (We at first somehow missed the massive sign pictured above, hence the goofing expression.) From here the trail climbs steadily then steeply through stands of massive timber, pas waterfalls, before entering a hanging valley just below treeline. Follow the left side of a steep creek up into meadows. At this point options exist to gain the alpine ridge, but those other than the hiker's route are only available to those experienced in glacier travel and, in the case of the gully route, only with sufficient snow / low avalanche hazard. Most hikers will take the appropriately named hiker's route, which travels across the meadows towards lookers right before following flagging into a less exposed gully and up onto the shoulder of Queen's Ridge. For a shorter outing, ending atop Queen's will provide great views. To continue on to King's, traverse around Queen's before following the well-worn route up to the summit. At this point you'll be afforded - in good conditions - stunning views of some of the icons of the Strathona Park high country, including Elkhorn (dominating the view in the first photo above), and Colonel Foster (photo right, just in front of Jennie's face). Careful on the way down the roots back to your car where, hopefully, you left a couple of beers cooling in the river.

For climbers, there are a number of opportunities available - see "Island Alpine" for details.

Read More

Tags

Camping
Photography
Running
Snowshoeing
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Long but worth the challenge

Definitely a long hike to do in a single day. I'm pretty fit (bicycled across Canada to get to Vancouver Island) but hadn't done any alpine hikes in about a year; it took me 12.5 hours and I couldn't walk right for a few days afterwards. Don't let that dissuade you, though, just be prepared for a push if you're going to try to summit in a single day, or do some training beforehand. Keep your eyes out for the trail after the first couple waterfalls—it's marked with flagging tape and cairns that are sometimes hard to follow. Beautiful view of Elkhorn and the surrounding mountain range. Highly recommend this hike as (in my opinion) one of the best on Vancouver Island!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Landslide Lake

    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 ...

    16.2 miles 1968.5 ft gain

  • Hike to Lady Falls

    This waterfall is a pretty stellar sight. Located in one part of Strathcona Provincial Park, it plunges about 90 feet from a small slot canyon into a wide deep canyon. From the view point you can feel the mist from the waterfall on your face. For ...

    1.2 miles 131.2 ft gain

  • Explore Lupin Falls

    The drive to Lupin Falls from Courtenay BC is approximately 1.5 hours. Along the way you will drive past beautiful lakes, forests and mountains. Once at the parking/day use area the trailhead for Lupin Falls is on the opposite side of the road. Ev...

  • Hike through Marble Meadows to the Wheaton Hut

    Though the Meadows can be reached by an alternate (very long) route not requiring a boat, the standard access is had by crossing Buttle Lake from the Augerpoint Day Area parking lot on the Buttle Lake Parkway (turn south towards the Westmin mine a...

    11.8 miles 4593.2 ft gain