Strathcona Provincial Park
Guide

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Introduction

The snow-covered mountains, alpine tarns-dotted landscapes, beautiful lakes, rivers, creeks and streams in Strathcona Provincial Park make it the perfect destination for RV camping trips. Located on Vancouver Island, around Campbell River and Comox Valley, this 2,500 sq km (965 sq mile) provincial park was designated in 1911, making it the oldest provincial park in British Columbia.

Featuring two well developed areas – Buttle Lake and Forbidden Plateau – the park offers a variety of fun and recreational opportunities for campers including hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, climbing, swimming, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, wildlife viewing, and windsurfing. Lovers of wilderness adventures also find Strathcona Provincial Park perfect for their desired explorations.

Facilities and amenities at Strathcona Provincial Park include RV campsites, boat launch, cabins/yurts, campfires, drinking water, toilets, group camping, picnic areas, amphitheater, playgrounds, day-use areas, and parking lots.

Strathcona Provincial Park was named for Donald Alexander Smith, First Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, a Canadian pioneer and one of the principals in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre, a nearby commercial facility to Strathcona Provincial Park offers outdoor education and wilderness skills training.

RV Rentals in Strathcona Provincial Park

Transportation in Strathcona Provincial Park

Driving

Strathcona Provincial Park is located on Vancouver Island, around Campbell River and Comox Valley which are the major access points to the park. The two major parts of the park are easy to access by RVs, trailers, and other motorized vehicles; Buttle Lake is accessible via Highway 28, while Forbidden Plateau is accessible via Paradise Meadows. Local paved and gravel roads are found within the park connecting to different areas. Driving speed limit in the campground in the park is 10 km/h (6 mph).

Parking

There are six parking areas in Strathcona Provincial Park for RVs, trailers, and cars, hence campers have options to choose from to park their rigs. You’ll find parking lots around Gold Lake in the north, and five in the central part of the park. One parking area is located around Ralph River Campground.

Public Transport

Ambassador Shuttle Service runs public transit service from Comox, Courtenay and Campbell River to Strathcona Park Lodge, just nearby the park.

Campgrounds and parking in Strathcona Provincial Park

Campsites in Strathcona Provincial Park

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Ralph River Campground

Ralph River Campground in Strathcona Provincial Park features 75 pet-friendly campsites available for RVs and tents. There are no RV hookups in the campground. RV length limit at the campground is 32 ft (10 m). Amenities available at the campground include toilets, drinking water, Information Center, parking lot, access to trailheads, and waterfront access. The campsites at Ralph River Campground are first-come, first-served with some reservable sites available. Maximum stay is 14 days.

Buttle Lake Campground

Buttle Lake Campground in Strathcona Provincial Park features 85 pet-friendly campsites available for RVs and tents. There are no RV hookups in the campground. RV length limit at the campground is 32 ft (10 m). Amenities available at the campground include toilets, playgrounds, drinking water, access to a swimming area and trailheads, and waterfront access. A boat launch ramp is located nearby. Campsite reservations are accepted in the campground, and first-come, first-served campsites are also available. Maximum stay is 14 days.

Seasonal activities in Strathcona Provincial Park

In-Season

Canoeing/Kayaking

Interesting canoeing and kayaking opportunities are available for RV campers and visitors at Strathcona Provincial Park on the Buttle Lake and Upper Campbell Lake. Campers enjoy paddling across these lakes as they enjoy views of the landscapes and magnificent features of the park from their canoes and kayaks. Paddling on small craft on the Buttle Lake is not recommended due to the strong afternoon winds that are prominent on the lake. As a result, all canoeists and kayakers are advised to exercise caution always.

Fishing

Buttle Lake, as well as other lakes and waterways in the park provide amazing angling opportunities for RV campers and visitors at Strathcona Provincial Park. The primary fish species in the park are cutthroat and rainbow trout. Fly fishing opportunities are available at Elk River. A fishing license is required to engage in fishing at the park.

Hiking

Strathcona Provincial Park features more than 50 km (31 miles) of trails in Buttle Lake and about 50 km (31 miles) of trails in Forbidden Plateau for RV campers to hike on and explore the park. These hiking trails range from simple to arduous hikes, multi-day hikes, and mountaineering adventurous walks. You’ll want to pack your best hiking boots on your way to the park to enjoy as many trails as you can.

Off-Season

Winter Activities

Various winter activities are available at Strathcona Provincial Park, including backcountry skiing and boarding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Cross-country skiing is a popular activity in Paradise Meadows, as well as snowshoeing. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available at and around the park at commercial outlets.

Swimming

Buttle Lake offers good swimming opportunities for RV campers. Other swimming areas near the Buttle Lake Campground and Driftwood Bay Campground are also available for campers take a dip into the cold waters of the park. All the backcountry lakes in the park are also available for swimming. However, there are no lifeguards on duty anywhere in the park.

Climbing

More than 150 climbing routes are available for RV campers of all climbing skill levels at Crest Creek Crags in Strathcona Provincial Park. This climbing zone can be accessed in the park via Highway 28, and all campers who wish to partake in the adventure are required to have climbing partners and possess necessary climbing skills, experience, and equipment.

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