7 Incredible Backcountry Hikes on Vancouver Island

7 Incredible Backcountry Hikes on Vancouver Island

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One of the best ways to discover British Columbia is through the eyes of BC locals. Here, Vancouver Island-based photographer @stasher_bc shares photos of some of his favourite backcountry hiking spots around the Island.

A stunning sunset over a rolling mountain landscape.

Mount Arrowsmith lies between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni towering over the popular Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island.  This photo was taken during a beautiful summer morning as the sun rose looking back across the Strait of Georgia and to the mainland of BC in the distance. The truly unique experience with being in the alpine on Vancouver Island is the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.”

A rocky landscape and mountain peak under a blue sky.

“The pinnacle for hiking and alpine enthusiasts on Vancouver Island is to hike and summit its tallest peak , the Golden Hinde. The trek typically takes five days with 60 km (37 mi) of remote rugged terrain where you can marvel at untouched and seldom-visited Island alpine.  These remote and pristine destinations embody the need to practice Leave No Trace principles so those who visit in the future experience the same beauty we see today.”

Hikers traverse a snow-filled landscape.

“With its relatively easy access and countless trail systems and climbing routes, Mount Arrowsmith sets the field for many to develop their alpine skills before tackling larger expeditions. Popular in winter conditions is the Climbers Trail and climbing what is known as the Snow Gully, only for mountaineers with the right equipment and experience. Crampons, ice axe, helmet, and ropes would be the typical gear for an experienced climber.”

A man wearing a white helmet stands next to a tent set up in a rocky landscape at sunset.

“To sleep under the stars and wake up to an alpine sunrise among the tallest peaks on Vancouver Islands is a special feeling. Here the sun is rising with Kings Peak and Elkhorn mountains in the distance as we stand at the foot of Colonel Foster, which we would spend the next 16 hours climbing. No mountain on the Island requires the use of a complete mountaineers’ tool chest quite like ‘The Colonel.’”

A hiker traverses a snow-covered rocky landscape with snow-capped mountains in the background.

“Located at the end of the Bedwell Lake Trail and venturing further down the Cream Lake Trail stands the remote beauty of Mount Septimus. In this image a fellow climber makes the final ascent to its summit with Mt Rosseau towering in the distance. This is another fine example of the Strathcona backcountry loved by so many.”

A sweeping, snow-capped mountain range under a clear blue sky.

“Strathcona Provincial Park, founded in 1911, is located in the heart of Vancouver Island and is the oldest provincial park in BC. It contains some of the largest mountains on the Island and is home to countless lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and beautiful forests. The view here is looking west towards Elk Pass as we stand on summit of the Golden Hinde, Vancouver Island’s tallest peak.  This is a region so diverse and pristine that it must be experienced to be fully appreciated.”

A sprawling mountain range and blue sky are reflected in still waters nestled in a lush valley.

“There are many iconic lakes throughout BC, but Landslide Lake takes the crown on Vancouver Island. In 1946, an earthquake sheared a massive slab of Mt. Colonel Foster and caused a slide that went crashing down the valley and through the lake. Thus the lake earned its name and the scars of the landslide can still be seen on the mountain and on the side of the lake.”

About @stasher_bc:

My name is Chris Istace and I make my home in Chemainus, the beautiful and well-known mural town on Vancouver Island. I occupy my time as a small business owner of a local surf and skate shop, as director of the non-profit Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society, and as an active member of the Alpine Club of Canada – Vancouver Island Section. I’m passionate about freelance photography and writing.

I love spending time in the outdoors, exploring remote, seldom-seen places and reconnecting with the simplicity of nature. I then try to capture this feeling through photography and writing to inspire others with genuine and authentic content on my website and social media channels. I follow a motto of “Explore Beyond the Usual” in life and in nature.

Twitter : @stasher_SK

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Originally published in November, 2016.

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