photo of Lake Helen MacKenzie toward Mt. Washington

Strathcona Provincial Park: Forbidden Plateau Area

  • School groups planning to hike in Strathcona Park are asked to register with the Vancouver Island Region.
  • Paradise Meadows trailhead and parking lot

    Visitors wanting to access the area, please refer to the winter parking restrictions.

    This new access trail has been designed for disabled access with grades averaging approximately 5% (there are some very short steeper sections that have been mitigated with flat landings and side pull-outs). The new trail has been constructed using both extra wide boardwalk in the wetter areas, as well as hard-packed gravel in the drier zones. The trail should be suitable for most types of wheelchairs and battery powered scooters.

  • Comox Valley Nature Viewing Guide

Trails from Paradise Meadows Trailhead:

  • Paradise Meadows Loop Trail: Length, 4.2 km. (return). Suggested hiking time, 1.5 hours minutes. An easy walk through sub-alpine meadows on a disabled access boardwalk and gravel trail; in season the meadows are lushly carpeted with lupines, heathers, paintbrush, monkey-flowers and violets. The trailhead is located at the parking lot of the Mount Washington Nordic ski area, 25 km from Courtenay.
  • Helen MacKenzie-Battleship Lake Loop Trail: Length, 8 km. Suggested hiking time, 3 hours. Elevation gain: 70 m. An easy hike on well-developed trails through a mixture of sub-alpine meadows carpeted with pretty flowers and forests of yellow cedar, amabilis fir and mountain hemlock.
  • Helen MacKenzie-Kwai Lake-Croteau Lake Loop Trail: Length, 14 km. Suggested hiking time, 6 hours. Elevation gain: 185 m. This trail offers hikers access to beautiful sub-alpine lakes and mountain vistas. Designated camping is available at Kwai Lake and represents an easy family destination.
  • Helen MacKenzie to Circlet Lake: Length, 9.5 km. Suggested hiking time, 4 hours. Elevation gain: 270 m. From Lake Helen MacKenzie the trail follows forested slopes over rougher terrain before rising to a rolling sub-alpine area. The Hairtrigger Lake area provides spectacular mountain views. Designated camping available at Circlet Lake.

Other Trails - From Kwai Lake

  • Cruikshank Canyon Lookout: Length, 1.5 km. Suggested hiking time, 1 hour. Elevation gain: 60 m. Trail passes Mariwood Lake and Lake Beautiful.

Other Trails and Routes – from Circlet Lake

  • Moat Lake: Length, 2.5 km. Suggested hiking time, 1 hour. Elevation gain: 70 m.
  • Amphitheatre Lake: Length, 1.6 km. Suggested hiking time, 1 hour. Elevation gain: 80 m.
  • Mount Albert Edward: Length, 6.5 km. Suggested hiking time, 5 hours. Elevation gain: 935 m. This route begins as a trail, but after the Moat Lake Trail the route climbs steadily onto the ridge and continues to the summit.