Buttle Lake is Vancouver Island’s answer to Banff’s famous Lake Louise. It’s a long narrow turquoise lake, bordered on both sites by towering majestic cliffs. It is an amazing place to spend a day or two or more padding and exploring. There are several hiking trails along the west shore that are only accessible by water. On hot days it can be VERY WINDY on account of the convection heat and the steep shoreline. It’s therefore advisable to get out on the water early in the morning and be prepared to spend a leisurely afternoon either hiking or pulled up on the shore enjoying a picnic and/or a swim.
There are two drive in camp sites (Buttle Lake & Ralph River) and three boat launches, although the boat launch at Buttle Lake Campground is restricted to day use only (see link below for map). As Buttle Lake lies almost completely within Strathcona Provincial Park, canoe camping is restricted to the four marine sites. BC parks provides envelopes and a drop box at the boat launchs where you can pay your $10/night BC Parks marine site camping fee which also includes overnight parking at the boat launch.
Size: 3689.6 ha | 9117 ac | 36.9 km²
Direction: The main access to Strathcona Park is via Highway 28, which connects with Gold River on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Follow Hwy 19 north past Courtenay to Campbell River, then follow Hwy 28 west for 48 km. Just after the park entrance (look for the big elk) and just before the Buttle Lake bridge turn onto Westmin Rd.. The Buttle Lake boat launch is about 1 km down on the right. From there it’s a short canoe or Kayak paddle through the narrows into Upper Campbell Lake. There is a second boat launch about 15 km further on.
Blog Posts: Buttle Lake – Strathcona
- Anglers Atlas
- Backroads Map Book – VIBC33 – VIBC34 – VIBC25
- 100 Lakes on Vancouver Island
- PDF Map of Strathcona Park & Buttle Lake
Buttle Lake Map