Lake Helen MacKenzie hike

Strathcona Park
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Lake Helen MacKenzie hike

Distance: 8.9km
Elevation: 249m
Time: 2-3h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
8.5 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

The hike to Lake Helen MacKenzie is a quintessential Vancouver Island hike. The well-maintained hiking trail out to Lake Helen MacKenzie comes fully equipped with board walks and wide, gravel walkways. As you venture through old growth forests, the incredibly beautiful ambiance of the plateau fills your heart with delight and wonder.

Lake Helen MacKenzie hike Map

Getting there

If coming from Campbell River, head south along the Inland Island Highway (BC-19 S). Turn west onto the Strathcona Parkway, following signs for Mt Washington Resort. Follow this road for 19.0km as it gains approximately 1000m of elevation. When you arrive at the junction beside the ski resort, hang a left towards the Raven Lodge. Park near the Raven Lodge where you will also find a large map and the Strathcona Wilderness Institute, where you can buy a map or some treats.

I’ve done this 4 people have done this
I want to do this 5 want to do this route


When to do

June - October

Backcountry Campsites

Yes, many camping opportunities throughout Forbidden Plateau


At trailhead and Lake MacKenzie

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back

Lake Helen MacKenzie
Elevation Graph

Route Description for Lake Helen MacKenzie hike

The hike out to Lake Helen MacKenzie is a great one, not too tough and a classic, family-friendly Vancouver Island hike.

Head down from the parking lot and begin on the trail. The first section of trail heading out to Lake Helen MacKenzie is very well maintained, including raised wooden walkways. At the numerous junctions follow the signs for Helen MacKenzie and Mt. Albert Edward.

As you hike you will pass by numerous sub-alpine glades and small ponds. There are many other lakes on the plateau, all a short way from the trailhead, so the possibilities for exploration are endless.

Quite quickly you will arrive on the northwest shore of Lake Helen MacKenzie. You can continue to the left to enjoy numerous other views, and to find the campground. The rugged face of Mt. Elma and Mt Brooks loom over the opposite side of the impressively large lake.

Insider Hints

  • Stop in at the Strathcona Park Wilderness Institute and pick up a map.

  • There are numerous short trails from the trail head. These trails connect the myriad of lakes on the plateau, so you can hike for as long as you like.

  • You can usually find great deals to stay at Mount Washington in summer, check out Airbnb for more.


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aarondav 3 months ago

Nice walk, beautiful lake. Not too hard so lots of families

8.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2h 30m Time Taken
stocRob 3 months ago

Pleasant nice walk to the lake. We've seen lots of families and old folks too as it's too steep

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2h 00m Time Taken

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