If you’re planning a visit to Campbell River, make time to see Elk River Provincial Park. This lushly forested slice of heaven covers 1,087 hectares and was established in 1940. The location couldn’t be more convenient; it’s just two kilometers north of downtown Campbell River on Highway 28
Although its Quinsam campgrounds, situated between the Quinsam and Campbell Rivers, are well-equipped, the Park holds plenty of appeal for those preferring the comforts of nearby lodging on vancouver island. The Park’s day-use area, where you’ll find the trailhead to the Park’s namesake Elk Falls, is just three kilometers from its Quinsam campgrounds. Drive to the day-use area and park in one of its two parking lots, which are linked by a trail. The first is next to a scenic overlook. The second has picnic tables, an information shelter and pit toilets.
Picnic at The Falls
Consider packing a lunch to enjoy on the rocks near the stunning 25-metre waterfall of the Campbell River. Take a dip in the swimming hole near the falls, but keep in mind that there are no lifeguards on duty at Canada’s provincial parks. A wildlife viewing platform near the falls offers spectacular views of the falls and canyon.
Take a Hike!
Are you up for a hike? The Park’s extensive system of trails spans six kilometers.
Bone up on your knowledge of the local flora and fauna by looking for posts identifying the Park’s trees, shrubs and flowers. Sharp-eyed bird watchers might spot great blue herons, chestnut-backed chickadees, golden-crowned kinglets and killdeer.
This Wildlife is Not in a Zoo
The Park is also home to a variety of mammals, including deer, squirrels, voles, raccoons, mink, river otters, muskrat and beaver. As you might expect, bears and cougars also call the park home, so be Bear Aware and check with the Park to learn details of recent sightings.
How About a Bike Ride?
If you bring your bicycle or mountain bike, don’t forget your helmet; they are mandatory in British Columbia. Bicyclists have to keep to roadways and mountain bikers must use authorized trails or risk an $86 fine.
Autumn is salmon-spawning season, and because the Park’s campground straddles the Quinsam and Campbell Rivers, it offers outstanding fresh water fishing. But don’t forget your fishing license!
If you would rather watch than catch Pink, Coho, Chinook, Steelhead, Cutthroat salmon, take a self-guided tour of the Quinsam River Hatchery. From the campground, follow the Quinsam Nature Trail to the Hatchery. It’s open year-round from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Optimum viewing times vary by species; pink salmon is September; Chinook is October to November; Coho is October to December. The Hatchery conducts egg-takes and group tours can be arranged.
LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION
The Elk River Provincial Park is open all year. For more details, visit http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/elk_falls/. Learn more about the Quinsam River Hatchery at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/sep-pmvs/projects-projets/quinsam/quinsam-eng.htm.
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