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Vancouver Island’s Newest Camp Site: Croteau Lake

Are the first signs of spring getting you excited to plan your summer getaways? If you’re anything like us you’re already planning summer escapes: new hikes to tick off, peaks to summit, and camping spots to check out.

One campsite worth putting on your list is BC Parks’ newest group campsite at Croteau Lake in Strathcona Provincial Park. It’s the first backcountry group site to accept reservations, and features a cool, brand new yurt that is the first of its kind in Canada. This makes it a perfect space for school groups, family reunions, retreats, and outdoor education initiatives.

The new Croteau Lake site is remote hike-in only, located approximately one and a half hours from the Forbidden Plateau trailhead. You can access the trailhead from Mount Washington Ski Resort’s Nordic road. During summer months, don’t forget to stop by the Strathcona Wilderness Institute hut at the trailhead. They run interpretive walks, sell maps, and answer questions about the unique ecology of the Forbidden Plateau.

The Croteau Lake campsite location is built on the original site of legendary local Eugene Croteau’s guest lodge, which was erected in the 1930s. The area was famous for drawing thousands of guests who wanted to explore Strathcona by horseback, and appreciated Croteau’s laidback mountainside hospitality. During the building of this new group site in October of 2017, the crew of three builders set up their tent on the exact foundation of the first cabin!

At the new site, you’ll find 12 tent pads, a large yurt, composting toilet facilities, bear caches, and a small dock to access water. It can accommodate up to 25 people and can be booked from June 15-September. 15.  The best part? Being the only campground on the lake, you’re sure to find a quiet, secluded atmosphere.


Hikes from Croteau Lake

Nestled in the sub-alpine of Strathcona, the Forbidden Plateau is home to many picturesque lakes, rare wildflowers, and an astounding network of trails. The entire area is surrounded by the jagged peaks of mountains, such as Mount Albert Edward, the area’s most popular overnight hike. Mount Albert Edward is a 32-kilometer round-trip hike from the Paradise Meadows/Forbidden Plateau trailhead. When camping at Croteau, the hike and ascent is roughly a half day from the site, and approximately the same to return.

There are many other popular hikes that are accessible from Croteau Lake: Castlecrag Mountain, Cruickshank Canyon, and Circlet Lake are all moderate day hikes from the Croteau basecamp or consider a day hike loop excursion taking in Kwai Lake, Murray Meadows, Helen Mackenzie Lake, Battleship Lake, Kooso Lake and Lady Lake. Prefer fishing or swimming instead? You’re in luck. Within a short distance of Croteau, you’ll find over 20 crystal clear lakes.

Free Weekend Camping – Croteau Lake Campsite Draw

All bookings made for the Croteau Lake group campsite before May 15th will be entered into a draw to win a FREE weekend of camping at any eligible BC Park available through Discover Camping. Check out the BC Parks blog post to enter to win!

Have a wonderful summer and enjoy the trails!