Welcome to the North Central region’s unofficial “Outdoors HQ,” located in a natural wonderland famed for its kayaking, hiking, caving, wildlife viewing and, above all, sports fishing. Anglers from the world over have been reeling in all five species of Pacific salmon here ever since author Roderick Haig-Brown put Campbell River on the fishing map a century ago. Purists join the Tyee Club and stand thigh-deep in fast-flowing rivers. Parents and kids cast lines from Canada’s first saltwater fishing pier. Some visitors simply enjoy takeaway fish-and-chips by the sea or when dining on the catch of the day in a cozy restaurant. Didn’t bring your fishing rod? No problem, just head over to the Discovery Fishing Pier or the Campbell River Visitor Centre to rent one.
Visit Destination Campbell River to learn more.
Things to do in Campbell River
Campbell River is the gateway to Strathcona Provincial Park and the mazy waterways of the Discovery Islands. The city serves as a great base for regional day trips and is also worth exploring in its own right. Local highlights include the Maritime Heritage Centre, the Museum at Campbell River, the Discovery Passage Aquarium, and the Rotary Seawalk.
Visit renowned Elk Falls Provincial Park
A thundering waterfall and some of the finest year-round salmon fishing in Canada are just two of the reasons Elk Falls is one of the most popular provincial parks on Vancouver Island. Add to that the extensive network of forest trails, the nearby Quinsam salmon hatchery and, in the fall, the sight of spawning salmon in the Quinsam and Campbell Rivers, and it’s easy to see why this provincial park is considered one of the best campground accommodations in the “Salmon Capital of the World.”
After a morning of fishing, pack a picnic lunch and take a cool stroll to the Elk Falls day-use area. Just 3 km from the campground, this picnic area contains easy walking trails and the plunging 25-metre waterfall that gives this park its name. Hiking trails also lead to other areas in the park, which is home to the only significant stand of old-growth Douglas fir north of MacMillan Provincial Park.
Visit the Discovery Fishing Pier
This fully accessible fishing pier has a gourmet concession stand with ice cream cones and wraps bigger than your head! The perfect stop for the whole family, the pier is fully accessible and offers stunning views of the Discovery Passage, Quadra Island, and it is not uncommon to see sea life passing by! Try your luck and drop a line into the waters of the Salmon Capital of the World, with rod & tackle rentals, built-in rod holders, bait stands, fish cleaning tables, covered areas, picnic tables, and more. The concession is open 7am-dusk from May-October.
Explore the Beaver Lodge Lands
Take a stroll through the vast network of trails in the Beaver Lodge Lands and enjoy the various ecosystems. Bikes, boots, horses, and pets are all welcome. To get started, Discover Campbell River suggests the Rail Trail, which is roughly 3 kilometres long and takes approximately 40 minutes to walk one way. This trail was developed on an old logging road, which created a path that is fairly wide and level.
Visit the Maritime Heritage Centre or the Museum
Campbell River’s award-winning museum is not to be missed. See, hear and touch the coastal history. Explore the vibrant and contemporary exhibits of First Nations cultures, sit behind the wheel of an early logging truck, step aboard a float house raft, and learn about early days of recreational and commercial fishing. View the film about the destruction of Ripple Rock in the 30-seat vintage theatre. Browse through the Museum Gift Shop, which features First Nations carvings and jewelry, local art and books about the coast. Open Year round.
The Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre is home to the historic BCP45 seine fishing boat. The boat was pictured on the Canadian five dollar bill from 1972 to 1986. She was brought to the centre in 2002 and was restored on site by a crew of volunteers. Today visitors can go aboard the BCP45 and explore the galley, bunks, engine room, the head(bathroom) and wheelhouse. In addition to the BCP45 the centre boasts a large collection of marine related artifacts ranging from vintage outboard motors, weapons, navy paraphernalia and navigational instruments.
Hike the Ripple Rock Trail
This popular hiking trail overlooks the site of the famous 1958 Ripple Rock blast, which was the largest non-nuclear explosion in the world at the time. While the detonation was dangerous, the trail is the opposite. At 4 kms long in each direction, this moderate trail provides scenic viewpoints overlooking Menzies Bay and the Seymour Narrows. Located 16km north of Campbell River on Highway 19.
Indulge at Beachfire Brewing
Craft beer and tasty food, need we say more? Offering a relaxed, open environment to meet old and new friends.
Its tasting room and lounge was designed around sharing with communal harvest tables and a food menu that features small plates good for a light meal or as part of an assortment of tasty options shared among friends.
Both the food and the beer are made in-house from scratch, incorporating local ingredients wherever possible, including honey from local bee-keepers, local fish and shellfish, and produce grown in urban gardens or nearby farms.