Thursday, 12 November 2015

Picturesque fall hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island

Buttle Lake is surrounded by scenic mountains

by Keith and Heather Nicol
   On Wednesday November 11 with the sun shining we headed for a trip into the main part of Strathcona Provincial Park. We drove from Courtenay through Campbell River and then turned off on highway 28 toward Upper Campbell Lake and Buttle Lake.  Snow had fallen along the mountain tops which added to the striking scenery. The last time we had been through this area was about 40 years ago and we were looking forward to hiking some of the easier trails near Buttle Lake. We had searched out some likely hikes on the Strathcona Provincial Park web site ( but discovered that at this time of year some signs have been removed so you need to watch more carefully for trailheads in the offseason. We have also noted GPS locations to help interested hikers find the trail starting points.  Our first hike was to Lower Myra Falls which is a fine hike for a variety of ages. The trail is well marked  and descends downhill from the trailhead at 10 U 0314536E and 5494800N. There are a series of falls here and the main trail gives views of both the upper and lower falls. Overall the trail is about 1 km so allow 30 -40 minutes to complete it. 

Lower Myra Falls is well worth checking out
   The next trail we walked was the Karst Creek Trail and the trail head is at: 10 U 0317626E 5503853N. You can park your car in the parking lot on the opposite side of the road. This trail is definitely rougher than the preceding trail but it is still easy to follow. It is about 1.5 km long and features many aspects of karst (limestone eroded) terrain. For instance, the trail passes by a sinkhole where a stream disappears and in another place a stream appears out of nowhere. This trail also features a small waterfall. Note that you do have to cross a stream which may be a problem in higher water. Allow about  45 minutes for this walk.
Heather walking through the leaves on the Karst Creek Trail
   Our final trail of the day was the Lupin Falls Trail (10 U 0313036E 5519487N) which is about 600 meters long and features a tall, skinny waterfall. This trail is the easiest of the 3 trails and would suit a wide range of walkers from young children to older adults. Allow about 20-25 minutes to walk this loop. There are still some nice fall colours out there and we noted quite a few other short nature trails that we plan to do on our next visit to this area.
Lupin Falls is striking