Vancouver Island Hiking

summer hikers and the scenic chairlift

From gentle explorers to avid hikers, Mount Washington is a great summer destination with hiking trails around the mountain and from the Paradise Meadows trailhead, gateway to Strathcona Provincial Park. Whether you take a chair lift up and enjoy the stunning views, then amble down the mountain, or hike the loops of Paradise Meadows, Mount Washington has trails to suit your interest and ability.

If you’re interested in multi-day hiking expeditions or climbing, Strathcona’s hiking trails and back country offers an incredible wilderness experience with lakes, waterfalls, alpine meadows and wildlife.

In the summer, Mount Washington’s chairlifts will take you up the mountain with spectacular views of the Comox Glacier, the Strait of Georgia and Strathcona Park, including the tallest peak on Vancouver Island, the Golden Hinde. Keep your eyes open for bald eagles, whiskey jacks and the Vancouver Island marmot. One day lift passes are $16 for adults.

Choose from seven alpine trails on Mount Washington (42% beginner, 29% intermediate, 29% expert) serviced by the Eagle Express chairlift. As you trek along the mountain’s bark mulch trails, interpretive signs identify the natural attractions of the Mile High Alpine.

Just steps from the resort, Paradise Meadows trails wind their way through ragged alpine trees and flower-dotted meadows. Accessed from Mount Washington’s Raven Lodge, there are a choice of trails that includes a wheelchair accessible boardwalk. Loops around the meadows range from 3 km trails with little or no elevation to the 6.8 km loop to Helen MacKenzie-Battleship Lakes. The hiking trails through the Paradise Meadows and Strathcona Provincial Park offer the opportunity to see some of Vancouver Island’s abundant wildlife including deer and black bear.

If you’re hoping to get a bit further afield in the Vancouver Island alpine, the Paradise Meadows trailhead also provides a gateway to the extensive hiking trails of Strathcona Provincial Park. Set out on scenic routes for the traverse to Buttle Lake, Mount Albert Edward or Comox Glacier. BC’s oldest provincial park, Strathcona, is 250,000 hectares of mountain wilderness that offers a wide range of outdoor summer activities, including hiking, camping, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, swimming and wildlife viewing.

Strathcona Provincial Park is also home to Della Falls, its 440 meter drop making it one of Canada’s highest waterfalls; and Vancouver Island’s highest peak, the Golden Hinde, elevation 2200 meters.

The Strathcona Wilderness Institute Information Centre at the trailhead offers maps and information to visitors during the summer months. NEW this year is a complete summer schedule of one day and multi-day guided hikes. For further information and information centre opening hours, please visit:

For hiking trail map download, click here

Within an Easy Drive of Mount Washington

Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre offers outdoor education and wilderness skills training. Boating, fishing, swimming and waterskiing are available at Buttle and other lakes, while some of the best Canadian hiking trails are located throughout the park.

  • Canoeing and kayaking – Buttle and Upper Campbell Lakes
  • Climbing – Crest Creek Crags has more than 150 climbing routes for various skill levels
  • Fishing – angling for Cutthroat, Dolly Varden and Rainbow trout on Buttle Lake. Catch and release fly fishing on the Elk River.
  • Hiking – 20 minute walks, day hikes and multi-day backpacking excursions throughout the park
  • Horseback riding – in the Kunlin area north of the Ucona River only
  • Hunting – restricted hunting permitted in the McBride Creek and Megin-Talbot area only
  • Swimming – in Buttle Lake and all other lakes except Kwai Lake
  • Waterskiing and windsurfing – Buttle Lake
  • Wildlife Viewing – unlimited opportunities to view wildlife including bald eagles, Whiskey Jacks, deer, squirrels, swans, Roosevelt elk, the rare Vancouver Island marmot, black bears and cougars.

    Park Facilities

  • Boat Launches
  • Cabins/Hut/Yurts
  • Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre offers outdoor education and wilderness skills training and accommodation
  • Vehicle Accessible and Walk-in/Wilderness Camping Areas
  • Picnic Areas
  • Playground at Buttle Lake campground

For more information about Vancouver Island’s Strathcona Provincial Park, please visit the
BC Parks website.

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