School groups planning to hike in Strathcona Park are asked to register with the Vancouver Island Region.
Trails from Paradise Meadows trailhead
Paradise Meadows loop trail
Length, 4.2km. (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.
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.
The trailhead is located at the parking lot of the Mount Washington nordic ski area, 25km from Courtenay.
Helen MacKenzie to Battleship Lake loop trail
Length, 8km. Suggested hiking time, 3 hours. Elevation gain: 70m.
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 to Kwai Lake to Croteau Lake loop trail
Length, 14km. Suggested hiking time, 6 hours. Elevation gain: 185m.
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, 9.5km. Suggested hiking time, 4 hours. Elevation gain: 270m.
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.
Paradise Meadows parking restrictions for the winter season
For those wishing to park vehicles overnight or for multiple days, visitors must follow the process below or risk the potential of having your vehicle towed away at the owner’s expense. Prior to leaving vehicles overnight, visitors must obtain a parking pass from Mount Washington’s Raven Lodge. We recommend that visitors carpool from the base lot as much as possible and pre-book a parking pass, when possible.
Mount Washington's raven lodge staff will direct overnight park visitors to an appropriate parking site and provide them with a no fee parking pass for the dashboard of their vehicle.
While overnight backcountry visitors must make direct contact with Raven lodge staff regarding where they can park, Mount Washington resort has agreed to accommodate those visitors who may be starting their trip outside the operating hours of 9am to 4pm at the lodge.
For those expecting to arrive when the Raven Lodge is closed, overnight park visitors must phone 250-338-1386 prior to their trip, to discuss parking requirements and obtain the parking pass from Raven Lodge staff who will place it in a drop box outside the lodge. The pass will have a simple parking lot site plan where staff can illustrate an approved parking area.
Designated parking sites will change at the discretion of Mount Washington in order to address snow-clearing concerns.
Any unauthorized (non-permitted) vehicle using Mount Washington’s parking lots overnight will be towed at owner’s expense.
- Paradise Meadows parking restrictions for the Winter season [PDF] (November 10, 2021)
Trails from Kwai Lake
Cruikshank Canyon lookout
Length, 1.5km. Suggested hiking time, 1 hour. Elevation gain: 60m.
Trail passes Mariwood Lake and Lake Beautiful.
Trails from Circlet Lake
Length, 2.5km. Suggested hiking time, 1 hour. Elevation gain: 70m.
Length, 1.6km. Suggested hiking time, 1 hour. Elevation gain: 80m.
Length, 6.5km. Suggested hiking time, 5 hours. Elevation gain: 935m.
This route begins as a trail, but after the Moat Lake Trail the route climbs steadily onto the ridge and continues to the summit.