Mount Erskine Provincial Park
About This ParkLocated on Salt Spring Island in the South Gulf Islands off the east coast of Vancouver Island the park contains a variety of features including the summit of Mount Erskine, coastal Douglas-fir forests, moss covered rocky outcrops and bluffs, dry southwest facing Garry oak ecosystems and riparian wetlands. In addition, the park preserves an excellent example of the red-listed arbutus/hairy manzanita plant community as well as other species and habitats at risk.
It is recommended hikers access Mount Erskine Provincial Park via the Mount Erskine Upper Access Park Reserve owned by the Capital Regional District (CRD). This access is located in the Rainbow Grove Subdivision at the end of Trustees Trail. From this point Dodds Trail enters the park and provides linkage to the rest of the Mount Erskine trail system.
** Note: There is no provision for vehicle parking at this access.
Hikers using these trails pass through mature Douglas-fir forests to a rocky summit where they are rewarded with wonderful views of Booth Bay and Sansum Narrows. At the summit, visitors can view Vancouver Island, north towards Mount Arrowsmith, Chemainus and Nanaimo and east across Trincomali Channel to Galiano Island and the Lower Mainland.
Park Size: 107 hectares
Know Before You Go
- For your own safety and the preservation of the park, keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
- Some sections of the trails travel close to the cliff edge; use extreme caution in these areas.
- Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Mount Erskine Provincial Park is relatively isolated, and due to its rugged terrain, lack of road access and the surrounding private lands, the park is relatively pristine in nature.
Nature and Culture
- History: Mount Erskine Provincial Park was established as a Class A Provincial Park in 2006. The campaign to establish Mount Erskine Provincial Park was supported by many individuals, local businesses, and non-government organizations.
Culture: Mount Erskine Provincial Park is within the traditional territory of the Chemainus First Nation, Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Lake Cowichan First Nation, Lyackson First Nation and Penelakut First Nation (all members of the Hul qumi num Treaty Group) and the Tsawwassen First Nation. The west side of Salt Spring Island from Burgoyne Bay to Vesuvius Bay was part of the traditional summer gathering area for the Cowichan Tribes. There are no recorded archaeological sites in the park.
Europeans first settled the area in the mid 1800s. Mount Erskine was named around 1859 by Captain George Richards of the British Royal Navy and labelled as such on British Admiralty Chart 2840, 1861. The name honours Admiral Elphinstone Erskine, who was then Commander-in-Chief of the North American Squadron. Captain Richards named several of the mountains in the area while conducting surveys for the British Admiralty along the west coast of Canada during 1858-1860.
Early recorded settlers to this isolated part of Salt Spring Island included many solitary bachelors like Charlie and Albert Toynbee, uncles of well-known islanders Dick, Manson, and Tom Toynbee. Charlie and Albert were thought to have lived in a cabin on the southeast edge of Mount Erskine Provincial Park, not far from the end of present-day Toynbee Road.
- Conservation: Mount Erskine Provincial Park supports a unique series of ecosystem types that have very restricted distribution on Salt Spring Island. All but the western most side of the park is within the Coastal Western Hemlock Biogeoclimatic Zone [CWH] although, in most of this ecosystem, Douglas fir is the dominant tree species. A very small section of the park is in the Coastal Douglas Fir [CDF] and is characterized largely by Douglas fir and western red cedar forests and the occasional grand fir. In addition, the park preserves an excellent example of the red-listed arbutus/hairy manzanita plant community as well as other species and habitats at risk.