Posted by: cherylyoung | May 25, 2013

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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