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Elk Falls Provincial Park
Caution: Elk Falls Day-Use Area
High river water flows, wet and often icy conditions along trails and river side areas.
Park visitors need to take great caution while in the park, particularly the area above Elk Falls and all river side areas. It is recommended that park visitors do not venture out on the rocks at areas above Elk Falls but if you do: Please stay away from the waters edge, wear appropriate footwear, walk slowly and cautiously. In an effort to improve public safety and increase hazard awareness - improvements have been made to alert visitors to these hazards. Please refer to these maps and local safety messages prior to your visit.
BC Hydro is set to commence its first fish migration and spawning flow down Elk Falls Canyon as operations shift to follow the Water Use Plan.
The five water releases will begin February 19-20 and continue each Tuesday and Wednesday until completion on March 20. A public river safety advisory is in place from John Hart Dam to Elk Falls during the migration flows.
The minimum fish habitat flow down Elk Falls Canyon is 4 m3/s. For the migration flows it will be increased to 10 m3/s. Out of consideration for public safety, BC Hydro will increase the water discharge from the dam on Monday nights. The highest public safety risk is when water flows are increasing. BC Hydro advises the public to stay away from the river from John Hart Dam to Elk Falls, on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, until March 20. The river flow may not be noticeably higher but this is when it can be the most dangerous with the stronger currents.
This fish migration flow is intended to attract steelhead to spawning habitat within the canyon up to Elk Falls.
Elk Falls Upper Day-Use Area - Parking / Trails [PDF 219KB]
Click here for a map with important information regarding trail improvements. [PDF 2.55MB]
About This ParkA thundering waterfall and some of the finest year-round salmon fishing in Canada are just two of the reasons Elk Falls is one of the most popular provincial parks on Vancouver Island. Add to that the extensive network of forest trails, the nearby Quinsam salmon hatchery and, in the fall, the sight of spawning salmon in the Quinsam and Campbell Rivers, and it’s easy to see why this provincial park is considered one of the best campground accommodations in the “Salmon Capital of the World”.
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.
Park Size: 1,087 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|
|Campground Dates with Full Services and Fees:||May 1 – October 15|
|Campground Reservable Dates:||May 15 – September 1|
|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.|
ReservationsReserveable, vehicle accessible campsites must be reserved through Discover Camping.
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.
- General Wildlife, Marine & Outdoor Ethics Information
Management PlanningManagement Planning Information
- The approved management plan for Elk Falls Provincial Park is available in PDF format. [PDF 1.02MB]
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
Winter Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $11.00 per party / night