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Landslide Lake in British Columbia

One of the best hikes on Vancouver Island

Landslide Lake
Landslide Lake

Landslide Lake is hidden among towering mountains in the center of Vancouver Island. It was named after the landslide which was caused by the 7.3 magnitude earthquake in 1946, when the northeast face of Mount Colonel Foster fractured off and fell into the lake. Now it's a popular trekking site, and hikers climb the landslide's path up and down to turquoise waters of the lake.

There are a few popular trails leading to Landslide Lake. The Landslide Lake via Elk River Trail is the most common day or overnight hike. The trail runs through the Strathcona Provincial Park. The distance is 21.2 km (13.17 mi) round trip with an elevation gain 1,027 m (3369 ft). The trail is rated as difficult and is best to be hiked from June to September when the weather conditions are more comfortable for hiking, all the trails are clear of windfall, and park staff are regularly in the area to maintain the trail. The trail highlights some of the most beautiful spots of Vancouver Island. There are two campsites at the trail, both located on the banks of scenic Elk River, where hikers can stay overnight.

The trail takes you through lush forest, passing some waterfalls and clear mountain streams. Wildflowers, thick moss carpets, and tasty wild berries frame the sides of the trail wherever the light manages to sneak in. Lucky hikers may even be able to spot a giant elk.

Practical info

When is the best time to hike to Landslide Lake?

Landslide Lake is best hiked between June and September when the weather is perfect for trekking. During this period, park staff maintains the trail, making hiking more comfortable. Rugged trails and fallen trees can make hiking challenging outside of this time. Show more

Where is Landslide Lake located?

Landslide Lake, which is in British Columbia, is within Strathcona Provincial Park, the largest on Vancouver Island. Elk River Trail is the route to follow to reach the lake, an hour away from Campbell River. Parking is available at the trailhead, which also serves as the starting point for several other hikes. Show more

How long is the distance to Landslide Lake via the Elk River Trail?

Hiking the Elk River Trail to Landslide Lake covers a round-trip distance of 21.2 km (13.17 mi) and requires 7-9 hours. Though scenic, the trail is classified as difficult and is commonly used for overnight or day hikes. It features some narrow and steep areas, but the lake's picturesque view is the ultimate reward. Show more

Can hikers camp overnight on the trail?

Hikers can camp overnight along Landslide Lake via Elk River Trail. The area features two campsites set against the Elk River's banks; however, camping gear is a requirement. The campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and no booking is necessary. These campsites are an ideal and serene location for hikers to relax, complete with campfire rings. Show more

What other wildlife can be spotted on the trail to Landslide Lake aside from elk?

Hikers should expect wildlife encounters when journeying to Landslide Lake via Elk River Trail, including black bears, cougars, and wolves. Smaller animals like chipmunks, rabbits, and squirrels may also be present. Individuals should practice caution when in regions with known wildlife activity, maintaining sharp vigilance, hiking in groups, and carrying a bear spray or other deterrents. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin