Upper Myra Falls - Vancouver Island Hike
Updated: Oct 4, 2019
This is one of my 12 Vancouver Island bucket list hikes for 2019. Checkout the full list here.
Access: Westmin Road, through Strathcona Provincial Park near Campbell River
Distance: 7.4 kilometres
Highlights: Old-growth forest, big ol’ waterfall
Strathcona-Westmin Provincial Park is unique because it is encapsulated by Strathcona Park, and contains a working mine. It's a Class B Park that was separated from Strathcona in 1965 for mining operations. So it's pretty wild that you need to pass through the working mine, driving under massive conveyor belts to get to the trailhead.
Westmin Road, winding through Strathcona Park, is a destination of its own. The road hugs the shore of Buttle Lake and offers incredible mountain and lake views that make the long drive worthwhile.
From the parking lot, the real trailhead is about 700-metres up a service road. The road has metal huts that contain explosives, just a reminder that you're right beside a working mine. I'd like to call it a massive mine because it looked quite large to me. However, I don't know anything about mines so it could easily be a small one. I digress. . .
Once we landed on the trail, the real hike began. It's mostly single-track trail that is nicely nestled in with foliage. The surface terrain is very soft and springy, and although it had been raining a lot before we arrived the trail still wasn't flooded (I don't guarantee a dry path for the entire year). The elevation gain for the trail is only around 200 metres (I've read a bunch of different reports, my watch said 218), which is very manageable over the three kilometres to the falls.
We stopped probably 12 times to look at different mushrooms. We admired them instead of picking them because none of us can confidently identify mushrooms (Holly will be able to soon I'm sure).
This forest is a stunner, a real beauty. The single-track path winding through the dense forest felt is very 'on-brand' for our west coast lifestyle. I'm used to the tracks and trails near my house, they’re very nice, but not remote enough or old enough to offer that encapsulating rainforest. Some of the trees here are old-growth giants that you just don't see everywhere. Everything was fresh and wet and rich.
After about an hour and a half, we reached the Upper Myra Falls viewing platform. There's a nice little bench to sit on and take in the roaring falls. It was a long drive from Cowichan to Myra Falls, but the trail was spectacular, and the trip was gorgeous, so in the end, as it usually is, it was worth it.
Other Vancouver Island Hikes