Mount Albert Edward is a highly popular destination with climbers and backpackers because it's the sixth highest peak of Vancouver Island that can be hiked relatively easily. Named for Alber Edward, Prince of Wales the mountain reaches 2,093 m (6,867 ft) into the sky and guards the eastern entrance of the Strathcona Provincial Park, British Columbia.
The trail can be accessed by car by a paved road from the coast (the Inland Island Highway BC-19 S). A 10-km Mount Albert Edward trail winding along the edge of the Forbidden Plateau can be hiked in one day, however, lots of people split it into two- or three-day hikes. There is an opportunity to camp overnight at Circlet Lake or Kwai Lake campgrounds.
The hike starts with Paradise Meadows trail. The trailhead is located at the parking lot near Raven Lodge. First, the path winds down to Lake Helen MacKenzie with a picturesque outlook of nearby Mt. Elma and Mt Brooks. Turn right and keep walking around the lake to the Brooks-Elma pass and across the plateau. From there, you will see your destination—Mt Albert Edward. After crossing alpine Whiskey Meadows and passing Circlet Lake, the trail starts climbing quite steeply.
From the top hikers are rewarded with stunning views of Mt. Castlecrag, Mt. Frank and down on Strathcona Provincial Park. The route down from the summit is the same as the route up, but adventurous spirits might complete a circular route via Battleship Lake instead of Lake Helen MacKenzie route.
If you are a single-day hiker, there are no fees that need to be paid. If you opt for camping at Kwai or Circlet Lakes, there is a $10/person/day fee. You will find a self-registration box and payment slot at every trailhead within the designated core area of Strathcona Park. Payment can be done in cash or by cheque. Camping is permitted only in the designated areas, which usually have a pit toilet and bear-proof food cache. Each campsite provides about a dozen wooden platforms. Fires are strictly prohibited so you need to pack a stove.
Hiking season in the area usually lasts from late June to early October. It is also possible to climb the mountain in winter and spring on snowshoes and skis.