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Elk Falls Provincial Park and Protected Area
High river flows continue as BC Hydro spills from the John Hart Dam and higher than normal rainfall is anticipated through this week.
Please use caution along the Campbell River and Quinsam Rivers. Some areas are flooded and inaccessible.
The Elk Falls suspension bridge and viewing area has been very busy, this past week to view the falls.
Park visitors are to stay clear of the river upstream of Elk Falls. Please obey all safety signage.
Attention Park Visitors:
Elk Falls Day-Use Area
Winter hours take effect starting November 6th for the main day-use parking and trailhead area from 8:00am to 5:00pm daily.
Notice of work: BC Hydro is conducting geotechnical assessment work as part of the John Hart Dam Seismic upgrade project. Some trails and access roads at the upper day-use area adjacent to the old growth parking area will be temporarily closed for short periods, through October 31 to December 31, 2016.
Please adhere to site closures and use alternative trails in the area. This work does not affect access to the suspension bridge or viewing platforms.
Summer hours for the main day-use parking and trailhead area are from 8:00am to 9:00pm daily.
Canyon View Trail, Elk Falls Provincial Park
Construction is now complete on the new stairs and bridge sections of the Canyon View Trail to enhance public safety.
The trail is now open in all areas and ready for your enjoyment. See photos.
BC Hydro John Hart Replacement Project
As a result of BC Hydro construction activities the following advisories have been issued for public safety.
Temporary public safety controls may be in place at these locations;
- Canyon View Trail, Station View Trail, Millennium Trail – At areas adjacent to blasting activities for the BC Hydro Tailrace.
- The Elk Falls Day-use Parking Area (Suspension Bridge Area) – Temporary access closures on the trail approaches to allow for road building.
- John Hart Dam Area – Public are asked to stay clear of the approaches to the John Hart Dam from the Brewster Lake Road, Upper Elk Falls Park Area trails, Dolphin Pool and Moose Falls areas – please adhere to closures and stay behind safety fences around blasting and construction sites.
Important Notices Concerning Public Access
There are several changes to public access at Elk Falls Park as a result of the BC Hydro John Hart Generation Station Replacement Project.
For your safety, park visitors are reminded to adhere to all road and trail closures, please watch for increased heavy traffic while driving to the park and stay on designated trails while hiking in the park.
The key changes to public access and restrictions include:
(Access to the Upper Elk Falls Day-Use Area)
The Brewster Lake Road is closed to the two existing parking lots at Upper Elk Falls day-use area. To accommodate this and provide for future parking at the park, BC Hydro has constructed a new parking area capable of safely accommodating park visitor vehicles. The walk-in access to the park is now via a hiking trail from the new parking area to the new Suspension Bridge, viewing areas and beyond to the old growth trail loop trails.
All trails in the park remain open, but may be subject to short term closures for public safety during construction activities.
This map shows the new parking and trail locations [PDF 3.45MB] within Elk Falls Park and located on BC Hydro property.
Alternate route along Hwy. 19 to access to Northwest areas of Elk Falls Park, The Snowden Forest and Loveland Bay.
Access will be restricted as above from the Brewster Lake road across John Hart Dam. The recognized route for public recreational traffic to access these areas follows Hwy. 19 North to Duncan Bay, Gordon Road, Snowden Road and reconnects to Brewster Lake-Loveland Bay Road.
About This Park
This convenient location – just 2 kilometres from downtown Campbell River on central Vancouver Island – provides quiet riverside camping in the heart of a world-renowned fishing area. And you don’t have to go far to find fish – from November to March, the steelhead run right by the campsites on the Quinsam River. As spring progresses, lakes in the area – many of which have been stocked – ripple with rainbow, cutthroat and dolly varden trout. During late spring and through the summer, fishermen head to the tidal waters to fish for chinook or coho salmon.
After a morning fishing, pack a picnic lunch and take a cool stroll to the Elk Falls day-use area. Just 3 km from the campground, this picnic area contains easy walking trails and the plunging 25-metre waterfall that gives this park its name. Hiking trails also lead to other areas in the park, which is home to the only significant stand of old-growth Douglas fir north of MacMillan Provincial Park.
The large campground at Elk Falls Provincial Park provides a convenient base camp for day tripping. Gold River, destinations in the Sayward Forest, Kelsey Bay, Rock Bay, and the parks of Quadra and Cortes Islands are within easy reach.
Date Established: Park – December 20, 1940; Protected Area – March 3, 2013
Size: Park – 1,055 hectares; Protected Area – 16 hectares
| Campground Dates of Operation
All dates are subject to change without notice
|Opening and Closing Campground Dates:
(campground is accessible but may not offer full services such as water, security, etc.)
|Open year round (Winter fee from October 16 to April 28 with no services provided)|
|Campground Dates with Full Services and Fees:||Year round|
|Campground Reservable Dates:||May 12 – September 3|
|Total Number of Vehicle Accessible Campsites:||122|
|Number of Reservable Campsites, if applicable:
(all remaining sites are first-come, first-served)
|Note: The above information is for the campground only. Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit. Check the "Attention Visitor Notice" above for park alerts.|
ReservationsAll campsite reservations must be made through Discover Camping. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite reservations are accepted and first-come, first-served sites are also available.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Maps and BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Nature and Culture
- In the campground, each of the campsite posts identifies a tree, shrub or flower growing adjacent to the post or near the campsite. Here is a Guide [PDF 15KB] explaining the plant names and additional comments.
- Wildlife: Wildlife in Elk Falls Park includes a variety of small mammals and birds. Great blue herons, killdeer, Glaucous-winged gulls, crows, Chestnut-backed chickadees, Golden-crowned kinglets and starlings are the most abundant resident bird species. Mammals include deer, bears and cougars, as well as shrews, squirrels, voles, raccoons, mink, river otters, muskrat and beaver. A beaver dam and pond are located west of the campground. Roosevelt elk also utilize portions of the park for winter range. Fish species include steelhead, cutthroat and Dolly Varden trout, three spine stickleback, fresh water Sculpin and chinook, chum, coho, pink and sockeye salmon.
Management PlanningManagement Planning Information
- The approved management plan [PDF 1.02MB] for Elk Falls Provincial Park is available in PDF format.
This is NOT the original management planning product. This document has been scanned from the original format of the plan. It may contain some formatting changes, however the content is consistent with the original.
Activities Available at this Park
In the day-use area there is a short trail to the magnificent old growth Douglas fir forest. Another system of trails will take you to Elk, Moose and Deer Falls, found along this portion of the Campbell River. Detailed trail maps are located at the day-use areas and in the campground.
For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
- Elk Falls Day-use Area – Viewpoints and Suspension Bridge approach:
The paved parking includes stalls that are designated for people with mobility challenges, all pit toilets and most picnic tables are wheelchair accessible. The trails accessing the first set of viewpoints are designed to a 5% grade or less and have hard packed trail surfaces, park bench resting spots, and safety fencing.
Please note: The stairs, suspension bridge and the lower viewing areas are not classified as wheelchair accessible.
- Quinsam River Fishing / Viewing Platform:
A flat concrete platform just below the Quinsam River Highway Bridge provides access to a holding pool for salmon before it enters into the Campbell River. In the fall it holds pink, coho and chinook while on their way upstream. The trail is graded at more than 5% but it is smooth and can be accessed with wheelchairs, it is a short 60m. away from the parking area, and is located across from the Quinsam River Campground.
- Quinsam River Campground:
A number of campsites have wheelchair accessible picnic tables. The entire campsite has wheelchair accessible pit toilets located throughout.
Winter Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $11.00 per party / night