Posted by: cherylyoung | March 25, 2012

To see and enjoy the scenic splendour of Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island should be put on everyone’s bucket list

Strathcona Provincial Park is a rugged mountain

wilderness of over 250,000 hectares that dominates

central Vancouver Island.

Created in 1911, Strathcona is the oldest provincial

park in BC and the largest on Vancouver Island.

The triangular shaped park practically spans the

entire width of Vancouver Island, in that it borders

on Herbert Inlet off Clayoquot Sound on the

Pacific Coast, and extends eastwards to within

13 kilometres of the sea near Comox.

Mountain Peaks, some eternally mantled with snow,

dominate the park while lakes and alpine tarns dot

a landscape laced with rivers, creeks and streams.


In the valley and lower regions of the park stand

forests that were already old in 1778 when Captain

James Cook of the Royal Navy landed at Nootka Sound

on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Della Falls, the highest waterfall in Canada with an

overall drop of 440 metres in three cascades, is located

in the southern section of the park.


Fed by glaciers and alpine streams, the crystal clear

waters of Della Lake spill over the edge of a rocky

cliff and cascade into the valley of Drinkwater Creek.

Nearly eight times higher than Niagara Falls and

amongst the top ten highest falls in the world, Della Falls

are only seen by the few adventurers who undertake

the arduous hike through Strathcona Provincial Park.

Many pretty little lakes dot the Forbidden Plateau area,

providing good fly fishing for rainbow trout during



The Forbidden Plateau region of Strathcona has the

origin of its name in Indian legend.


The plateau was believed to be inhabited by evil spirits

who consumed women and children who dared

to venture into the area.

The reward for those who venture onto Forbidden

Plateau today is an area of subalpine beauty.


Views of glaciers, mountains and verdant forests

stretching eastward to the Strait of Georgia are

visual highlights.

A prominent site from summits in the park is the

Golden Hinde, the highest point on Vancouver Island

at an elevation of 2,200 metres

. The Golden Hinde stands almost in the centre of

Strathcona Park, at the head of the Wolf River to

the west of Buttle Lake.

The park extends from sea level to above 1,800 metre

in elevation, and therefore supports a great variety

of forest and plant life


Douglas-fir, western red cedar, grand fir, amabilis

fir and western hemlock of the coast forest cover much

of the valleys and lower mountain slopes, giving way

to subalpine fir, mountain hemlock and creeping juniper

in the subalpine areas.



Through summer months the park offers a spectacular

floral display in various areas.


Found at varying heights are heather, lupine,

monkey flowers and violets, as well as Indian paintbrush,

phlox and moss campion.

Vancouver Island’s separation from mainland British

Columbia by Johnstone Strait and Georgia Strait has

resulted in many mammal species common to other

parts of the province not been found on the island.


Chipmunks, porcupines, coyotes, foxes and grizzly bears

are absent, while species such as the wolf, Roosevelt elk,

the Vancouver Island marmot and the coastal black-tail

deer are different from their mainland relatives.

Strathcona has a large deer and elk population, with

year-round viewings of Roosevelt Elk possible, while

wolves and cougars, though present, are not frequently



Strathcona Park also supports a rather varied population

of birds, including the chestnut-backed chickadee,

red-breasted nuthatch, the winter wren, and the kinglet.

The Steller’s jay, which is the provincial bird of

British Columbia, the gray jay, and the band-tailed

pigeon are also likely to be encountered when hiking

through Strathcona Park.


The park also protects blue grouse, ruffed grouse and the

unique Vancouver Island white-ptarmigan.

Buttle Lake, named for Commander John Buttle who

explored the area in the 1860s, is the major body of

water in the park.


Buttle, and the many other lakes and waterways in

the park can provide good fishing in season for cutthroat

trout, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden.

Summer in Strathcona Provincial Park is usually

pleasantly warm while winters are fairly mild,

with the exception of the higher levels where heavy

snowfalls are quite common.


From November through March, snowfalls are general

on the mountain slopes and alpine plateaus.


Snow remains all year on the mountain peaks and may

linger into July in the higher elevations.


Summer evenings, as elsewhere in the coastal areas

of British Columbia, can be cool and rain can be expected

at any time of the year.


The Buttle Lake and Forbidden Plateau areas have

some visitor-orientated developments, but the rest of the

park is largely undeveloped and appeals to people

seeking wilderness surroundings.


To see and enjoy much of the scenic splendour of

Strathcona requires well-prepared hiking or

backpacking  into the alpine regions.


The park offers various types of water activities,

cross-country skiing, wildlife viewing and excellent

wilderness camping, hiking and fishing adventures

in the alpine wilderness.


The multitude of lakes and rivers in Strathcona attract

kayakers and anglers wanting to get away from it all

to regain their senses in the remote tranquility offered

by the likes of Buttle Lake, Megin River and Megin Lake.





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