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Vancouver Island BC British Columbia Parks

Southern Vancouver Island BC Area Parks

Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park

This small lagoon serves as a wildlife sanctuary and refuge for a variety of birds.

Web site: Albert Head Lagoon Regional Park

Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park is located along the south shore of Victoria, British Columbia and the Juan de Fuca Strait. It has been a park belonging to the city of Victoria since 1882. A trust was then established for the 62-acre (24.8-hectare) site. Beacon Hill Park was originally called Meeacan (the Salish name for belly) by the First Nations people because from a distance, it looked like the belly of a large man lying on his back.

Web site: Beacon Hill Park

East Sooke Regional Park

West Coast wilderness awaits you at East Sooke Regional Park. Experience it as you hike along the windswept rocky coast, over dry hilltops, through dark rainforest to sheltered coves.

Web site: East Sooke Regional Park

Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park

The lake is used cooperatively by swimmers, windsurfers, sailors, water-skiers, fishers and rowers. Some park trails are designated multi-use, for hikers, cyclists and horse riders, while others are for hiking only.

Web site: Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park

Galloping Goose Regional Trail

This picturesque multi-use trail, formerly a railway line, moves through urban, rural and wilderness scenery on its 55-kilometre journey from Victoria to Sooke. You can cycle, stroll, run, or even ride a horse through the rural sections. Whether you're commuting to work, meandering on a weekend afternoon or pacing yourself from Sidney to Sooke, the trail is yours to enjoy and yours to protect.

Web site: Galloping Goose Regional Trail

Goldstream Provincial Park

Massive trees, majestic waterfalls, a meandering river that meets the sea, flowers, birds and fascinating fish are but a few of the attractions that draw people to Goldstream Provincial Park, a mere 16 km from downtown Victoria on southern Vancouver Island.

Web site: Goldstream Provincial Park

Island View Beach Regional Park

This park offers an expansive beach along the eastern shore of the Saanich Peninsula, and excellent birdwatching.

Web site: Island View Beach Regional Park

Juan De Fuca Provincial Park

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park on the west coast of southern Vancouver Island offers scenic beauty, spectacular hiking, marine and wildlife viewing and roaring surf in its course along the Pacific coastline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There are four main areas to the park: the China Beach Campground, the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, the China Beach day-use area and Botanical Beach.

Web site: Juan De Fuca Provincial Park

Juan De Fuca Provincial Park - China Beach

The fine sand beach is ideal for picnicking, sandcastle building, wading and relaxing. Pack a lunch and your drinking water.

Web site: China Beach

Juan De Fuca Provincial Park - Sombrio Beach

Visitors can explore or hike east or west along the beach, enjoy a picnic or try their hand at surfing in this world-class surfing area. Sombrio Beach is part of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, so please respect trail hikers.

Web site: Sombrio Beach

Juan De Fuca Provincial Park - Parkinson Creek

This moderate section of trail takes hikers through regenerating logged areas and old growth forest fringe and along the beautiful rugged shoreline. Watch for marine mammals that frequent this area.

Web site: Parkinson Creek

Juan De Fuca Provincial Park - Botanical Beach

Botanical Beach affords visitors with access to uniquely rich tide pools and shoreline trails with fantastic geological features. The extensive variety of marine flora and fauna in this colourful intertidal zone includes red, purple and orange starfish and sea urchins, white gooseneck barnacles, blue mussels and green sea anemones and sea cucumbers. Coralline algae, periwinkles, chitons and sea stars can also be seen at Botanical Beach.

Web site: Botanical Beach

Lochside Regional Trail

This picturesque multi-use trail, formerly a railway line, stretches from Swartz Bay to Victoria, past beaches, farmland, and wetlands, down country lanes and beside suburban backyards. The trail has a more civilized personality than its more rural cousin, the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. While some parts of the Lochside Trail are off-road and others downright pastoral, in some places trail visitors must share paved or gravel public roads with motor vehicles and farm vehicles.

Web site: Lochside Regional Trail

Mill Hill Regional Park

Walk through cool woodland along the banks of Millstream Creek or climb to the summit (200 m) for spectacular views.

Web site: Mill Hill Regional Park

Mount Work Regional Park

Mount Work is one of the largest regional parks, and is the dominant hill on the horizon from many vantage points in Saanich, Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula. This popular recreation spot offers a variety of landscapes and activities.

Web site: Mount Work Regional Park

Roche Cove Regional Park

Hike along a cool creek at midday or paddle still waters in early morning light at this serene West Coast park.

Web site: Roche Cove Regional Park

Thetis Lake Regional Park

This regional conservation area was established as Canada's first nature sanctuary in 1958. The park offers outdoor activities in a natural setting.

Web site: Thetis Lake Regional Park

Witty's Lagoon Regional Park

Visit this oceanfront park and discover its charm.

Web site: Witty's Lagoon Regional Park

Western Vancouver Island BC Area Parks

Tofino BC has some of the most spectacular wilderness parks. There are so many areas to enjoy, we have listed but a very few. Please visit the Pacific Rim National Park web site for more information about the myriad of areas included in that UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, you can visit the Provincial Parks by Geographic Location page to view some more of the parks not included here.

Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park

Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park encompasses the lower Clayoquot River, Clayoquot Lake and the forested slopes northwest of the Clayoquot Arm of Kennedy Lake. The park protects rare old-growth forests of Sitka spruce - a tenacious conifer able to grow in salty, magnesium-rich soils where most other seedlings die.

Unique flora and fauna, pristine old-growth forests, secluded sandy beaches, uninhabited islets, First Nations cultural sites and a fresh water lake can all be found in the park, which is accessed by boat from Kennedy Lake. Clayoquot Arm Park offers many recreational opportunities, including hiking and wilderness camping along the shores of Kennedy Lake, the largest body of fresh water on Vancouver Island. Visitors to this park can fish for Cutthroat trout, canoe or kayak paddle along the scenic shoreline or observe wildlife in its natural habitat. An unusual phenomenon occurs in Clayoquot Arm. Sockeye salmon spawn 20 meters below the water surface making for a great viewing opportunity.

Web site: Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park

Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park

Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island is a high elevation plateau protecting rare plant species, undisturbed old-growth forests, fragile karst features, sinkholes and a number of small lakes.

This rugged, remote and undeveloped park is extremely difficult to access, but can be reached by the adventurous through a series of logging roads. There are no developed trails in the park, but determined visitors will find a pristine forest of Sitka spruce, hemlock and cedar. Spectacular views of Clayoquot Sound can be enjoyed from the Plateau’s summit.

Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park contains an extensive cave system suitable for exploration by experienced cavers only. Although there may be potential for caving opportunities in the future, this area is sensitive and its use is not recommended until a management plan is complete

Web site: Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park

Flores Island

Flores Island is one of the most popular destinations in Clayoquot Sound. Here, visitors can enjoy hiking, whale watching, fishing, kayaking, beach camping and more. This vast, untamed wilderness area protects undisturbed watersheds with old-growth forest stands of Sitka spruce, as well as representative coastal and marine ecosystems, including excellent spawning conditions for coho salmon, exposed rocky coasts, sandstone reefs, beaches, sheltered channels and bays, fast narrows, mudflats and shallow banks.

One of the main attractions of Flores Island is the Walk the Wild Side Trail, a developed trail with boardwalk sections that extends 10 km from the village of Ahousat to the top of Mount Flores. First Nation peoples have used this route for centuries to reach the wild beaches on the west side of the island, and this vital circuit has now been restored as a spectacular hiking trail. Most of the route follows sandy beaches, and trails cut across headlands to join with the next beach. The trail can be accessed from any of the beaches in Flores Island Provincial Park.

The park offers excellent opportunities to see Gray whales, who pass by the Island in their annual migration from Baja California to Alaska. Seasonally resident Gray whales also use the bays for feeding during the summer. Visitors come from around the world to see the whales and kayak the waters in Clayoquot Sound, and a trip to the area would not be complete without discovering all that beautiful Flores Island has to offer.

Web site: Flores Island

Kennedy Lake Provincial Park

Kennedy Lake Provincial Park is a popular day-use destination for lake and beach-based recreation. This park is comprised of two sites along the south shore of Kennedy Lake, adjacent to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Visitors come to swim, kayak, fish, water-ski and windsurf at this beautiful park, where in the fall it is possible to view beach spawning of sockeye. Black bears are frequent visitors at this time. Due to the steep-sided mountains surrounding Kennedy Lake, the largest body of fresh water on Vancouver Island, winds whip up across the main part of the lake and Clayoquot Arm with little warning, requiring extreme caution by paddlers and boaters.

Web site: Kennedy Lake Provincial Park

Maquinna Marine Provincial Park

Visitors from around the world flock to Maquinna Marine Provincial Park in Clayoquot Sound to soak in the natural hot mineral spring pools. These geothermal hot springs cascade down a waterfall into half a dozen rocky pools. The delightful hot pools flow from one level to the next, gradually becoming cooler as the fresh spring water is cooled by ocean swells.

The park, located northwest of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, also encompasses a significant wilderness area known for coastal hiking, wilderness camping, sea kayaking and wildlife viewing.

Numerous tourism companies in Tofino and Ucluelet offer tours to Hot Springs Cove, which is only accessible by boat. A pleasant half-hour along a boardwalk trail through old-growth rainforest leads to the hot pools, which remain at an average temperature of approximately 50 degrees Celsius.

Web site: Maquinna Marine Provincial Park

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada

Backed by the Insular Mountains Range of Vancouver Island and facing the open Pacific Ocean, Pacific Rim presents the rich natural and cultural heritage of Canada's west coast. Its cool and wet maritime climate produces an abundance of life in the water and on land. Lush coastal temperate rainforest gives way to bountiful and diverse intertidal and subtidal areas. These natural wonders are interwoven with the long and dynamic history of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations and European explorers and settlers.

Web site: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada

Tranquil Creek Provincial Park

Tranquil Creek Provincial Park is comprised of steep forested slopes and alpine meadows surrounding Paradise Lake, a pristine mountain lake at the head of Tranquil Creek. There are no trails in the park, however the open terrain allows for easy access from Paradise Lake into the alpine meadows.

Recreational opportunities include hiking and rustic camping in this very remote, hard to reach wilderness area. Access to the park is by float plane only.

Web site: Tranquil Creek Provincial Park

Vargas Island Provincial Park

Due to its close proximity to Tofino, Vargas Island Provincial Park in Clayoquot Sound is a very popular paddling and wilderness camping destination. Visitors also come here for the exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities offered, including the chance to see Gray whales in the area around Ahous Bay. Naturalists are drawn to this area every spring as the Gray whales pass by the island on their way to summer feeding grounds in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea.

Vargas Island Provincial Park protects the rugged western portion of Vargas Island, Blunden Island and the tiny La Croix Group of islands immediately northwest of Tofino. Much of the island is relatively flat and its interior features a number of bogs.

Marine features including exposed rocky coast, sandy beaches, sheltered channels and bays, an intertidal lagoon and mudflats are all protected within the park’s boundaries. The park is also home to ancient sand berms - rows of crescent-shaped sand mounds that indicate earlier sea levels. These berms can be seen on the historic 3-km telegraph trail, which crosses the island from east to west. The trail leads to spectacular Ahous Beach on the island's west coast, an excellent camping location.

The park area also includes the Cleland Island Ecological Reserve, home to a great diversity of nesting sea bird colonies including the Rhinoceros auklet, Cassin's auklet, Pigeon guillemot and the Black oystercatcher. Access to the Ecological Reserve is prohibited, as the breeding seabirds are very sensitive to disturbances.

Web site: Vargas Island Provincial Park

Northern Vancouver Island BC Area Parks

Strathcona Provincial Park

Located almost in the centre of Vancouver Island, Strathcona is a rugged mountain wilderness comprising more than 250,000 hectares. Mountain peaks - some perpetually mantled with snow - dominate the park. Lakes and alpine tarns dot a landscape laced with rivers, creeks and streams. Summer in Strathcona is usually pleasantly warm, while winters are fairly mild except for the higher levels, where heavy snowfalls are the norm. From November through March, snowfalls can be expected on the mountain slopes and alpine plateaus. Snow remains all year on the mountain peaks and may linger into July even at moderate elevations. Summer evenings, as elsewhere in the coastal regions of BC, can be cool and rain can be expected at any time of the year.

Two areas - Buttle Lake and vicinity and Forbidden Plateau – offer a variety of visitor-oriented developments. The rest of the park is largely undeveloped and appeals primarily to people seeking wilderness surroundings. To see and enjoy much of the scenic splendor requires hiking or backpacking into the alpine regions.

Web site: Strathcona Provincial Park

Schoen Lake Provincial Park

With its superb scenery and countless opportunities for wilderness hiking, backpacking, boating, fishing, swimming and camping, Schoen Lake is one of the most beautiful parks on Vancouver Island. Located northwest of Campbell River in the Nimpkish Valley, Schoen Lake is a little more primitive than some parks, but the chance to view nature in all its glory more than makes up for the lack of modern amenities.

You’ll find peace and quiet at your campsite in this wilderness park - one of the few that offers vehicle-accessible camping on northern Vancouver Island. Within the park’s protective boundaries are old-growth forests, waterways, meadows, small lakes and essential deer, Roosevelt elk and fish habitat.

Web site: Schoen Lake Provincial Park

Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park

Explorer Captain Cook called Brooks Peninsula, located on northwest Vancouver Island, the “cape of storms”, however this provincial park also offers shelter, sandy beaches and a world-class wilderness experience to visitors. The unique geography of Brooks Peninsula offers everything from inter-tidal marine life to a sub-alpine mountain environment. This peninsula is distinctive in that it is the only part of Vancouver Island unaffected by the last ice age. Today, this coastal glacial refugium is home to a variety of rare plant species and unique geologic formations.

Recreational opportunities include hiking, kayaking, boating and wildlife viewing. Visitors can see a variety of marine mammals in the area, including Gray whales, sea lions and sea otters. Seabirds, including Rhinoceros auklets and Marbled Murrelets, are found in abundance in this park, which features miles of remote, uninhabited sandy beaches and an old growth coastal rain forest.

Web site: Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park

Broughton Archipelago Provincial Marine Park

Broughton Archipelago Provincial Marine Park, BC's largest marine park, consists of a wonderful collection of dozens of undeveloped islands and islets situated at the mouth of Knight Inlet on the west side of Queen Charlotte Strait near the north end of Vancouver Island.

Established in 1992, Broughton Archipelago Provincial Marine Park offers excellent boating, kayaking and wildlife viewing opportunities. A multitude of islands provides park visitors sheltered waters and anchorages with a backdrop of the magnificent coastal mountains to the east and the waters of Queen Charlotte Strait to the west. These islands have been utilized by First Nation peoples for generations and there is ample evidence of their extensive use of the area. Kayakers and boaters can easily “discover” white midden beaches, culturally modified trees, clam “terraces” and even a petroglyph while exploring the park.

This park is extremely popular with sea kayakers from around the world. Most kayakers prefer the southern portion of the park, though increasing numbers are starting to discover the beauty of the northern islands and their protected waterways.

Web site: Broughton Archipelago Provincial Marine Park

Cape Scott Provincial Park

Cape Scott Provincial Park is a truly magnificent area of rugged coastal wilderness that is located at the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, 563 kilometers from Victoria.

Established in 1973 and named after the site of a lighthouse that has guided mariners since 1960, Cape Scott is characterized by more than 115 kilometers of scenic ocean frontage, including about 30 kilometers of spectacular remote beaches.

The park stretches from Shushartie Bay in the east, then westward around Cape Scott and south to San Josef Bay. Rocky promontories, salt marshes and jagged headlands punctuate the fine-textured, white-sand beaches. The most impressive of these beaches, Nels Bight, stretches more than 2,400 meters long and 210 meters wide at low tide, and is one of the Park’s most popular camping destinations. Other significant beaches include San Josef Bay, Guise Bay, Experiment Bight, Lowrie Bay and Nissen Bight.

Visitors can choose between a day hike or a backpacking excursion to explore the sandy beaches, rainforests and lowland bogs and muskeg of this wilderness park.

Web site: Cape Scott Provincial Park