A thundering waterfall and some of the finest year-round salmon fishing in Canada are just two of the reasons Elk Falls is one of the most popular provincial parks on Vancouver Island. Add to that the extensive network of forest trails, the nearby Quinsam salmon hatchery and, in the fall, the sight of spawning salmon in the Quinsam and Campbell Rivers, and it’s easy to see why this provincial park is considered one of the best campground accommodations in the “Salmon Capital of the World.”
This convenient location, just 2 kilometres from downtown Campbell River on central Vancouver Island, provides quiet riverside camping in the heart of a world-renowned fishing area. And you don’t have to go far to find fish, from November to March, the steelhead run right by the campsites on the Quinsam River. As spring progresses, lakes in the area, many of which have been stocked, ripple with rainbow, cutthroat and dolly varden trout. During late spring and through the summer, fishermen head to the tidal waters to fish for chinook or coho salmon.
After a morning of fishing, pack a picnic lunch and take a cool stroll to the Elk Falls day-use area. Just 3km from the campground, this picnic area contains easy walking trails and the plunging 25 metre waterfall that gives this park its name. Hiking trails also lead to other areas in the park, which is home to the only significant stand of old-growth Douglas-fir north of MacMillan Park.
The large campground at Elk Falls Park provides a convenient base camp for day tripping. Gold River, destinations in the Sayward Forest, Kelsey Bay, Rock Bay, and the parks of Quadra and Cortes Islands are within easy reach.
All campsite reservations must be made through the BC Parks reservations system. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first come, first served.
Campsite reservations are accepted and first come, first served sites are also available.
This park offers 122 vehicle-accessible campsites. Approximately 25 of these sites border the Quinsam River; the rest are set in a second-growth forest. The Quinsam campground entrance is located on the west side of the Quinsam Bridge. Campsite reservations are accepted and first come, first served sites are also available.
This park offers winter camping, but no services are available during the off-season.
Winter vehicle accessible camping fee: $11.00 per party per night
Several facilities in the park are wheelchair-accessible or have been designed for park visitors with mobility challenges.
There is more Elk Falls Park accessibility information on our accessibility site.
Cold water taps are located in the campground. Taps are shut off during the winter season.
There is an adventure playground with barrier-free play structures included. There is also a nearby play field at the campground in this park.
A sani-station is located in the campground. The sani-station is closed in the winter season.
While fires are allowed, we encourage visitors to conserve the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using stoves instead. Campfire rings are provided at each campsite. Firewood can be purchased from the park facility operator. Fees for firewood are set locally and may vary. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don’t gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act ). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil. You can conserve firewood and air quality by keeping your campfire small. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking.
This park has a day-use area, located 3km west of the campground off Highway 28. This is the closest trail head to the suspension bridge.
Pit toilets are located throughout the campground and day-use area. Flush toilets are located at the sani-station in the campground.
An extensive 6km trail system offers a variety of hiking opportunities within Elk Falls Park.
In the day-use area there is a short trail to the magnificent old growth Douglas-fir forest. Another system of trails will take you to Elk, Moose and Deer Falls, found along this portion of the Campbell River. Detailed trail maps are located at the day-use areas and in the campground.
For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
There are no lifeguards on duty. There are swimming holes near the falls at the day-use area of the park.
Freshwater fishing in Quinsam and Campbell River, as well as, saltwater and ocean fishing near the town of Campbell River. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate fishing licence.
Viewing platforms are located at the day-use area near the falls, as well as along the Canyon View Trail. These sites offers spectacular views of the deep rock canyons and waterfalls.
Pets and domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
Cycling is permitted on roadways in the park and mountain bike opportunities exist on the pumphouse trails, which connect to the Snowden demonstration forest trail network. The pumphouse trail network is best accessed from near the water tower uphill of the logging road bridge over the Campbell River.
Trail and stunt construction is prohibited.
Please note that bicycles with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are permitted on signed or designated trails within Elk Falls Park, provided they meet the definitions and criteria for e-bike use as outlined in the BC Parks cycling guidelines.
Quinsam Campground at Elk Falls Park is located 3km north of Campbell River on central Vancouver Island on Hwy 28 toward Gold River. The Elk Falls day-use areas are located 3 km west of the campground off Hwy 28.
This park proudly operated by:
Quality Recreation Ltd.
In the campground, each of the campsite posts identifies a tree, shrub or flower growing adjacent to the post or near the campsite.
Wildlife in Elk Falls Park includes a variety of small mammals and birds. Great blue herons, killdeer, Glaucous-winged gulls, crows, Chestnut-backed chickadees, Golden-crowned kinglets and starlings are the most abundant resident bird species. Mammals include deer, bears and cougars, as well as shrews, squirrels, voles, raccoons, mink, river otters, muskrat, and beaver. A beaver dam and pond are located west of the campground. Roosevelt elk also utilize portions of the park for winter range. Fish species include steelhead, cutthroat and Dolly Varden trout, three spine stickleback, fresh water Sculpin and chinook, chum, coho, pink and sockeye salmon.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.