Strathcona Park Lodge is on the edge of Upper Campbell Lake on Vancouver Island.
Strathcona Park Lodge is an eclectic collection of cottages, chalets and buildings spread on a hillside above mountain-rimmed Upper Campbell Lake. The property is an outdoor playground with hiking trails, rock climbing bluffs, old growth trees, high and low rope courses, zip lines and dozens of boats in all shapes and sizes. During the summer the lake is warm enough for swimming and on a hot day the sandy swimming bay is the busiest place on property. The wood fired sauna is always popular.
The sprawling property has plenty of quiet places and impressive viewpoints to discover and, facing west, one of the best sunset views on Vancouver Island. The golden rays light up Upper Campbell Lake and spray alpen glow across some of the highest peaks on Vancouver Island.
Strathcona Lodge is perfectly positioned for exploring further afield. Overnight and multi-day kayak and canoe trips leave right from our Waterfront Centre down Upper Campbell Lake, Buttle Lake or across to the Elk River Delta. The Brewster Lake Canoe Circuit is a short drive away. Trail heads to overnight and longer backpack trips into the Island Mountains are a 20 minute drive. Crest Creek Crags’ excellent and beginner friendly rock climbing cliffs are just down the road. Whitewater paddling programs take place in Campbell River and Gold River, 40 minutes away. Lastly, Nootka Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island is only two hours away for sea kayaking adventures.
Part of the adventure of a Strathcona Park Lodge vacation is getting here. All routes are incredibly scenic and interesting in themselves.
The Lodge, as it’s affectionately known, is forty minutes by car south west of Campbell River, close to the geographic centre of Vancouver Island. It sits just outside of Strathcona Provincial Park on Upper Campbell Lake and is ideally situated for exploring this exciting and secluded area of Vancouver Island.
From the Campbell River airport and areas south: Do not cross the Campbell River. From Highway 19 the Inland Island Highway or 19A the Old Island Highway follow the signs to Gold River and Highway 28, the Gold River Highway. This leads west out of town, following the Campbell River before climbing a long hill. Drive for about 40 minutes, 42 kilometres, to Strathcona Park Lodge, right on the side of the highway.
From areas north of Campbell River: Drive south on Highway 19 the Island Highway until you reach Campbell River. Immediately after crossing the Campbell River turn right on the Gold River Highway, Highway 28. This leads west out of town, following the Campbell River before climbing a long hill. Drive for about 40 minutes, 42 kilometres, to Strathcona Park Lodge, right on the side of the highway.
Getting to Campbell River
Campbell River is easily accessible by road and air.
Air: Central Mountain Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines and Air Canada all have regular scheduled flights from Vancouver to Campbell River. The Comox Airport, 40 minutes by car further south, is also serviced by WestJet with daily non-stop service from Calgary and Edmonton and connections across Canada. Both airports have rental cars.
Ground: From Vancouver and the British Columbia mainland take BC Ferry’s from Horseshoe Bay or Tsawwassen. The fastest routes are to Nanaimo’s Duke Point (from Tswwassen) or Departure Bay (from Horseshoe Bay). From here follow the signs to Highway 19 North, the Inland Island Highway. Follow this speedy, safe and divided highway north for 1.5 hours to Campbell River and then follow the directions above.
Bus: Transportation rates vary from company to company based on where their buses are based, the size and comfort level of the bus and your group size. It is recommended that you call a few companies to find the best value for your needs.
- Campbell River Airporter: up to 20 passengers 250-286-3000
- Destiny River Adventures: school bus charter 1-877-923-7238 or www.destinyriver.com
- Forest Coach Tours 1-888-248-4525
- Garden City Transportation: school bus charter 250-385-0699 or www.gardencitytransportation.com
- International Stage Lines 604-270-6135 or www.islbus.com
- Pacific Coach Lines 1-800-661-1725 or www.pacificcoach.com
- Smith Transportation 1-877-756-2544
- Wilson’s Transportation: ask for Special Strathcona Park Lodge Pricing 1-800-567-3288
Strathcona Provincial Park
The lodge is named after Strathcona Provincial Park, British Columbia’s oldest park. Enacted in 1911, the park protects the highest peaks on Vancouver Island and vast tracts of wilderness.
As the only accommodation in the area, the Lodge is perfectly positioned for exploring the interior of the park. There are several short interpretive walks along the highways that are well worthwhile, including Lupin Falls and Upper and Lower Myra Falls. Several longer hikes lead to the summit of mountains and ridges and are the jumping off point to challenging but excellent overnight routes, climbs and trails deeper into the park. The best day hike is Bedwell Lake, a couple of tarns in an amphitheater of glaciated peaks. More experienced hikers can try the difficult hike to the summit of Kings Peak.
Paddling trips down Upper Campbell Lake and Buttle Lake are fairly easy, with amazing views looking up to the snow capped peaks. There are several provincial park campgrounds comfortably spread along Buttle Lake. The fishing here for cutthroat and rainbow trout can be excellent.
Click here for more information on Strathcona Provincial Park.
Running past Strathcona Park Lodge and Strathcona Provincial Park, between Campbell River and the small towns of Gold River and Tahsis, Highway 28 is more than an access route between the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island, it is an artery to incredible wilderness and adventure.
Campbell River is a bustling town during the summer. Long known as the Salmon Capital of Canada, ocean and river fishing is excellent, see for yourself on a snorkel trip down the Campbell River in August and September. There’s a great museum that traces the logging and First Nation history of the area and the pleasant ocean side is accessible along an extensive pathway system.
Outside of Campbell River is the Snowden Demonstration Forest, a maze of hiking and mountain biking trails. There’s also Elk Falls, a thundering cascade that feeds the Campbell River and is surrounded by massive trees. To the north is the Brewster Lake Canoe Circuit, a four day paddling route on par with Ontario’s Algonquin Park except with mountains in the background. Dozens of other fish-filled lakes are just off the highway between Campbell River and the Lodge.
Beyond Strathcona Park Lodge are the northern accesses to Strathcona Provincial Park, including the hike to Landslide Lake and the rock climbing at Crest Creek Crags. Running right through the town of Gold River is the river of the same name with good white water paddling, salmon and steelhead fishing. This is also an access point to the rugged west coast. Jump aboard a float plane, water taxi or the supply ship, the MV Uchuck, to access Nootka Sound, an excellent fishing and sea kayaking destination and the home of the Nootka Island Trail, a world class coastal backpacking route. Nootka Sound is also a good place to spot whales.
After Gold River, Highway 28 turns to dirt and continues to Tahsis, an end-of-the-road town on the ocean. Along the way you’ll pass the Upana Caves, a collection of caverns and disappearing streams, private and public marinas in Nootka Sound and plenty of good fishing spots.
From the trails of Snowden to the beaches of Nootka Island, no one knows this exciting wilderness as well as Strathcona Park Lodge. For more than 50 years we’ve been guiding trips to just about every trail, put-in, campsite, beach and peak.
Further afield, Vancouver Island has more to offer in a smaller area than almost anywhere else. There’s the English-style charm of Victoria in the south, the surfing beaches of Tofino, the wilderness of the north island and the eclectic charms of the other island communities. Go rafting on the Nimpkish River with Destiny River Adventures or whale watching from Telegraph Cove with one of many operators. Art lovers will enjoy a self-guided artist studio tour on Quadra Island, a short ferry ride form Campbell River.
We’ve got lots of other ideas too and are happy to help you plan and book your adventures.