Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.
Experts agree that the Flower Ridge trails are some of the best in Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island.
The up-and-back Flower Ridge Trail:
- 27km return
- 1-3 days
- 1970m elevation gain/loss
- summit of Central Crags 1642m
- no permit needed
- Phillip Stone – Exploring Strathcona Park guidebook
- no electricity nor mobile phone service
If adventurous, you could return via other longer routes including:
- Comox Glacier to Buttle Lake Traverse
- Ash River Horseshoe
- Mt. Rosseau to Cream to Bedwell lakes
- Green lake to Price creek
Good navigation needed on all those options, of course.
I was actually hoping to return via the Henshaw Creek Horseshoe since it returns you to where you started. A perfect loop.
In fact, it’s one of guidebook author Phillip Stone’s favourite hikes in the Park.
But I would have needed a guide and full mountaineering gear to pull that off in June. Perhaps a helicopter, as well. 😀
I was there early season.
Beautiful morning. Ideal campsite in the Marine Park next to Buttle Lake campground.
It was June 14th. Free. ($10/night/site starting June 15th.)
I enjoyed a leisurely morning.
Next cycled to the trailhead, easy access from gorgeous Buttle Lake Parkway.
It’s close to Ralph River campground.
Full Strathcona Park map (PDF).
Strathcona Park had just opened following the COVID-19 shutdown.
The previous day I’d tried King’s Peak with a light day pack. Didn’t get higher than 770m due to high creeks.
Learning my lesson, for Flower Ridge I brought food for up to 3 days. Full pack.
Started up about 5pm.
Like many Strathcona hikes, Flower Ridge starts with a steep climb. But less steep than most others
Not many views early on. When you do, it’s of the the Myra Falls Mine (opened 1959)
The mine is currently owned by Nyrstar and produces zinc, lead, copper, silver and gold concentrates.
Any time you are hiking a ridge, finding running water might be a problem. But my guidebook said there was one reliable creek — I never found it.
No worries. There is plenty of snow to melt. You dig to find the clean white stuff.
I set up 8:30pm at the first obvious campsite. Days are long in Canada in June.
Normally my dinners are based around instant mashed potatoes. But for this trip I went all in for instant stuffing.
I carried my 1.2 pound solar charger for the first time. Normally it stays with my bikepacking gear.
There’s no electricity in Strathcona. No mobile phone service.
I climbed higher next morning. But quickly the snow got too deep. Just like King’s Peak the previous day, I only reached perhaps 800m elevation before turning back.
The ridge is about 1200m. In those meadows I would have found more famed spring flowers.
I really need to return to Strathcona late season: August – September.
If you want to do it right, click over to MBGuiding:
The best hiking guidebook is Exploring Strathcona Park. Dead tree version available only.
See our list of the best hikes in North America.