Elk River Trail hike

Strathcona Provincial Park
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Elk River Trail hike

Distance: 24.6km
Elevation: 666m
Time: 6-8h

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9.2 Overall Rating
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The hike along the Elk River Trail to Landslide Lake is a classic Strathcona Provincial Park hike. You can choose to hike the Elk River trail as a day hike or weekend backpacking adventure. Remaining relatively level along a well-maintained trail makes the trek out to see the stunning Mt. Colonel Foster all the easier.

Elk River Trail hike Map

Getting there

From Campbell River head west along the Gold River Highway BC-28 for 47.0km. A few kilometres after you enter the park, turn right to stay on BC-28, following signs for Gold River. Continue along this highway for just under 24.0km, passing over Buttle Lake and heading west along the Elk River Drainage. Watch out for signs for the Elk River Trail on your left. If you see signs that you’ve exited the park, you’ve gone too far.

I’ve done this 7 people have done this
I want to do this 6 want to do this route


When to do

July - October

Backcountry Campsites

Two campgrounds along the trail


At trailhead and campgrounds along route

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels

Moderate to High

Route Type

Out and back

Elk River Trail
Elevation Graph

Route Description for Elk River Trail hike

The Elk River Trail is a pretty hike. It’s also nice as there is only one trail to follow, and you follow it to the end at Landslide Lake.

From the parking lot, start this hike along the wide path and hike up a few switchbacks to gain a small notch. Descend the other side to meet up with the Elk River. Depending on the time of the year the river can be as calm as a cucumber or wildly raging.

Continue along the Elk River Trail which loosely follows the river, winding up the stunning Elk River Valley. Though logged in the 1940’s for the war effort, the Elk River Valley has regenerated and has returned to a beautiful area. With massive trees, stunning mosses and gorgeous wildlife, the ambiance of this hike is truly incredible.

Along the hike you will pass two campgrounds. Each have a bear hang for your food and a toilet. They both offer great spots to camp for those wanting to split up the mileage and make this a backpack.

After the second campground you will come to a wooden bridge and cross the Elk River. On the other side you will find yourself on a rocky slab. Veer to the right here and follow the river, looking out for a large cairn marking the trail.

Finish the hike up to Landslide Lake by switch backing up this final steep leg of the hike. You will eventually crest the ridge and find yourself at the toe of one of the most impressive mountains in the whole park. The Patagonian aesthetics of Mt. Colonel Foster are not to be understated. Like a sharks fin, it juts out of the ground. Looking backwards you will also be able to see the south aspect of Elkhorn Mountain.

Enjoy the ambiance of Landslide Lake then hike back the way you came.

Insider Hints

  • The Elk River Trail is another fantastic backpacking option if you don’t want to do the entire hike in one day.

  • Take note that no camping is allowed around Landslide Lake.


Pete89 2 months ago

I have done it as a day hike but I would not do it again, the mileage was a little bit overwhelming. The hike was great but I did not expect such a long hike that day. And I think it took me longer than 8h.

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9stepsM8 3 months ago

Superb hike!

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Charlie T 3 months ago

I'm glad this park does not get as much attention as some of the ones in Alberta. It's as beautiful, but so much more peaceful. Great hikes, like this one.

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Robert Carlson 4 months ago

Elk River hike was great. Quite strenuous, but manageable and has some nice views.

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HighRyder 5 months ago

Elk river was a good day out. I've done it as a day hike. It's strenuous but not too hard to stay longer than needed.

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stocRob 5 months ago

I thought that the walk itself felt quite monotonic but the end was well worth it. The last bit before reaching the lake is quite steep but I would still recommend this hike though as the lake is lovely

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6h 00m Time Taken

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