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Elk Falls Provincial Park and Protected Area
Attention Park Visitors –
As a result of BC Hydro construction activities for the John Hart Replacement Project the following trail advisories have been issued for public safety.
Temporary public safety controls will be in place for public accessing these locations.
- Canyon View Trail and Station View Trail Areas – beginning August 26th
- The Elk Falls Day Use Area (Suspension Bridge Area) - beginning September 9th
Thank you for your cooperation. Please see the following for more detailed information.
Trees are set to be removed in two locations at the John Hart property and this work for the John Hart project will provide minor delays along the site trail systems.
“The bird nesting season closed on August 25 so InPower BC, our project contractor, will begin removing trees near the John Hart generating station on August 26,” says BC Hydro spokesperson, Stephen Watson. “It will last for about a week or so, and people should expect delays of about 10 minutes to safety allow us to fall the trees.”
Traffic control people will be situated along the Station View Trail and Canyon View Trail intersection area. The trees are being removed to allow for the construction of the water discharge outlet from the underground powerhouse. It’s located beside and just upstream of the existing generating station.
On or about September 9, after the Labour Day long weekend, trees will be removed along an access road that travels along the John Hart penstocks. Also, lasting for about a week, people walking from the Elk Falls parking lot down to the suspension bridge may be stopped for up to 10 minutes while the tree falling takes place near the trail system. This work is to allow equipment to get in to begin construction of a surge tank. The surge tank will provide tunnel pressure control and serve the same purpose as the three, current, 90-metres tall, surge towers that protect the three penstocks. “This is for public safety and we appreciate people’s understanding while this tree falling work takes place,” adds Watson.
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 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.
Size: Park – 1,055 hectares; Protected Area – 16 hectares
Date Established: Park – December 20, 1940; Protected Area – March 3, 2013
| 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 13 – September 6|
|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
Winter Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $11.00 per party / night