Ready to explore a wilderness playground right here in BC? Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island is not only the oldest park in the province (designated in 1911), but is home to one of the highest waterfalls in the country. Della Falls has a drop of 440 metres over three beautiful cascades, and is definitely a huge draw for those visiting the park.

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Spanning a total of 250,000 hectares, Strathcona Park offers nature enthusiasts and adventurers plenty of rugged mountains, ancient forests, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear lakes to explore. Hikers can backpack through an extensive network of trails along riverside paths, or challenge themselves at summit ascents, like Golden Hinde. The latter offers the most daring explorers stunning panoramic views from its summit.

In terms of wildlife, visitors can spot everything from black bears to Roosevelt elk. And if you’re in search of a lake day, you can check out the pristine Buttle Lake and Upper Campbell Lake for all of your favourite water sports and activities.

strathcona park bc
Photo via BC Parks

Facilities include designated picnic areas, Elk Portal, Buttle Lake boat launch, Lupin Falls, Auger Point, Karst Creek, Lady Falls and Crest Lake. As well, you’ll find a playground for the kiddos at Buttle Lake Campground.

For those looking for a day hike, check out the popular Paradise Meadows. There are no designated picnic tables, but the area is accessible via a trailhead at Mount Washington and the centennial trail, which leads you to the Forbidden Plateau.

Camping & info

For campers, Strathcona Provincial Park has a total of 96 reservable front-country sites, including one yurt. But it’s the backcountry opportunities that abound here – with tent pads ready for use. Although visitors are not allowed to camp in any day-use areas, they can set up their gear at Bedwell Lakes/Cream Lake trail, Elk River trail, and the Forbidden Plateau core areas – the maps of which you can find via BC Parks.

So there you have it, BC. Another gem of a park to check out this summer. Remember to tread lightly and respect the park’s delicate ecosystems during your visit!