Jul 1, 2003 | Marmot, Summer 2003

Buttle Lake 2003 Map & Trail Guide

Strathcona Park’s Buttle Lake is easily accessible in forty-five minutes from Campbell River on highway 28. The drive takes you alongside the Campbell and Upper Campbell Lakes ending with views of the expansive waters and dramatic mountains of the Buttle Lake corridor.

The beauty of this peaceful place will take your breath away, and you will find great opportunities for camping and recreational pursuits.

People come to fish for trout, and to swim, canoe, kayak, board sail, picnic, sunbathe and waterski on the 25 km of lake, while others enjoy the easy and interesting nature walks, or more challenging back country hikes. Local guides and club members rock climb at Crest Creek Crags. Some visitors just sit quietly in the shade of ancient trees and enjoy the fresh air.

Camping facilities include 85 sites at Buttle Lake Campground on the lake at the North end, and 75 sites at Ralph River Campground with both lake and river access at the south end of the lake. Driftwood Bay Campground, an excellent facility for groups, is located separately on the northern end of the lake. You will also find simple wilderness camping opportunities for boaters on the western shoreline.

A pleasant white sand beach and a playground for children are available at Buttle Lake Campground. There is a concrete boat- launch ramp within two kilometres, and also an undeveloped gravel launch nearby. The lake levels are controlled by hydro electric dams and tend to be low during the winter but normally rise for the summer months.

Ralph River Campground is shaded by the graceful beauty of an ancient forest of cedar, hemlock and fir trees underneath which you will likely see the resident blacktail buck grazing. This peaceful campground borders both the lake and a lovely clear river, which is at times alive with spawning trout. It’s a popular spot for both fishermen and hikers of all levels. Many of the trails are easily accessible from Ralph River Campground.

There are interesting trails to explore, some less strenuous and others more challenging, and each with unique features to enjoy. Opportunities abound for everyone throughout the Buttle Lake corridor. For further information refer to the map on the next page. If you are at Buttle Lake go to park headquarters, where volunteers from the Strathcona Wilderness Institute will assist you Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check out the Parks web site at www.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/. Come to the campgrounds at anytime as there are almost always sites available on a first come first serve basis at both major campgrounds. If you would like to make a reservation at Buttle Lake Campground call Discover Camping at 1-800-689-9025, or link up to website at www.discovercamping.ca. To book Driftwood Bay group campground call 250-337-8550.

Editorial: Elizabeth Purkiss

The trails are graded as follows: (1) Easiest (2) Moderate (3) Difficult
Length: 11 km. Suggested time: 4-5 hrs. Elevation change 600 metres. Trail starts at Hwy. 28 and follows the Elk River Valley for 10 km before climbing up to Landslide Lake. Bare rock sections. Camp in designated camping areas only.

Length: 5 km. Time: 3-4 Hrs. to the tarn. Steep with an elevation change of 1,250 metres. Caution required on single log creek crossing (the last good water). The snow stays late into the year on top. Random camping allowed.

Length: 6 km. Time to the subalpine ridge: 3-5 Hrs. Steep with an elevation change of 1,040 Metres. The trail begins at Westmin Rd., climb an additional 200 metres from the top of trail to flat ground for tents. Poor water. Panoramic views. Camping possible at halfway point.

Length: 6.5 km. Time: 2-5 hrs with an
elevation change of 800 metres. This is a well graded trail beginning at Westmin mine. Observe old growth forest, a waterfall, and alpine meadows. Designated camping area. Bear cache.

Length: 3.3 km from the parking lot past the yellow gate. Drive through the mine area to find the parking lot. Time 2 hrs. Elevation change: 100 metres. Trail follows gravel road for approx. 800 metres to the sign. Large trees. Views of Mt. Myra and a waterfall. No camping.

Length: 4 km. Estimated time 2-4 hrs. with an elevation change of 840 Metres. Trail access is from the parking lot at the mine. Walk past the yellow gate on the gravel road for 1 Km and across a bridge to the start of the trail which is a rough, rocky, steep old roadbed. Old- growth forest to sub-alpine. There is an undefined route to access Mt. Myra from here. Tennant Lake is dammed. Random camping is permitted.

Length: 6 km. Drive over the Thelwood River bridge at the south end of Buttle Lake, and turn left immediately onto the Jim Mitchell road for 6.8 Km. This is a rough gravel road not suitable for small vehicles. Trail elevation change: 600 metres. Time 3-4 hrs. Features river valley and old growth forest then rocky out cropping and a sub-alpine environment with excellent hiking and views. Camp in designated areas at Baby Bedwell and Bedwell Lakes. Fires are not permitted.
Be aware of bears.


Technical climbing only. Picnic facilities. Climbers can explore a number of rocky bluffs in this area which is easily accessible from alongside Highway 28. Climbers using the area do so at their own risk. It is each climber’s responsibility to climb safely and ensure that they have the necessary skills to do so. Camping and fires are not permitted.

Length: 900 metres. Time: 20 mins. The trail starts at Hwy. 28. Enjoy the cool spray from the falls. Picnic facilities at trailhead. No camping.

Length: 400 Metres. Time: 15 mins. The trail starts at Hwy. 28 and accesses a viewing platform where you may be able to see Vancouver Island’s unique Roosevelt elk. No camping.

LUPIN FALLS (1) Loop Trail
Length: 800 Metres. Time: 15 mins. Access from the Westmin Rd. Walk a circular trail through a cool forest to the waterfalls. No camping. Picnic facilities at the trail-head and a canoe and kayak launch access for Wolf River and Titus Mt. marine campsites.

AUGER POINT (1) Loop Trail
Length: 400 Metres. Time: 15 mins. This forest is recovering from the fire of 1982. No camping. Picnicking facilities at trail-head and a canoe and kayak launch access for Marble Meadows trailhead.

Length: 6.6Km. Time: 4-5 hrs to the Alpine meadows. Elevation change: 1,250 Metres. Steep, some bluffs. Trail starts at Phillips Creek marine campsite on Buttle Lake. Access by boat from Auger Pt. or Karst Creek day use areas. Be aware of submerged stumps in the lake. Random camping is allowed in the meadows. Marble Meadows features wonderful viewpoints, alpine meadows and limestone formations.

A good concrete ramp located 4 km from Ralph River Campground, and accessible from the Westmin Rd. There is a large open grassy area plus several picnic tables and fire pits, and lots of room for parking. Karst Creek trail is a 1.3 km loop. Time: 45 mins. Observe Karst geological formations such as sink-holes with disappearing and reappearing streams. No camping.

WILD GINGER (1) Loop Trail
Length: 800 metres. Time: 20 mins. Access is across the road from Ralph River Campground. The trail follows the Ralph River. No camping.

Length: 1.5 km. Suggested time: 1 hr and 15 mins. Access is across the road from Ralph River Campground. A shady walk along the Ralph River then ascending to pass a lively marsh. See Dogwood trees in the spring.
No camping.

Suggested time: 3-4 hours. railhead can be accessed near the Thelwood Creek Bridge. Originally the only access route to Cream Lake and still only suitable for Advanced Hikers, this trail can make a pleasant day hike through varying timbered areas if you turn around at or before the log crossing. The router beyond this log crossing is extremely rough ad steep and snow lingers late into the summer.

Length: 800 metres. Time: 30 mins. Steep descent. Enjoy several beautiful water cascades.
Use caution when approaching the creek, and supervise small children. No camping.

A good, recently lengthened concrete launch. Located 1 km south of the bridge at the junction and only 1.5 km from Buttle Lake Campground. No camping. The launch provides immediate access to the Rainbow Island marine campsites.

Refer to a separate flyer in “The Marmot” publication for information about this area which is accessible from Mount Washington.

• Ancient forest, lake and river.
• Gates are open all summer until Sept. 30th.
• Picnic tables, fire rings, water pumps and pit toilets.
• Fee: $12.00 per party per night, $6.00 for extra vehicles.
• B.C Senior Citizens $7.50 during the spring and autumn.
• Firewood: $5.00 per bundle.
• Reservations are NOT taken, however the campground is rarely full.

• Sand beach and playground.
• Three easy nature trails begin here. Fish in Darkis Lake.
• Gates open all summer until Sept. 30 th.
• Picnic tables, fire rings, water pumps and pit toilets.
• Fee: $15.00 per party per night. $7.50 for extra vehicles.
• B.C Senior Citizens $7.50 during the spring and autumn.
• Firewood: $5.00 per bundle.
• Some campsites can be reserved ahead of time by contacting Discover Camping at 1-800-689-9025 or by going online at www.discovercamping.ca

• Private, covered shelter with woodstove and tables, large grass field, fire pit, pit toilets, wheel chair access pit toilet, water pump, swimming area.
• Fee: $15.00 per party per night. $7.50 for extra vehicles.
• Firewood $10.00 per night
• The minimum number of parties allowed is 5 and the maximum is 25.
• Fee for non profit youth and school groups $50.00 per night.
• Tel. 250-287-2942 to book the campground.

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