Outdoor Enthusiasts will Love Campbell River, BC
Campbell River is the third largest city on Vancouver Island and is literally surrounded by nature. It sits on the 5oth parallel about a 3 hour drive north from Victoria. The waters of the Discovery Passage separate it from the mainland whose majestic mountains form a spectacular backdrop. For the outdoor lover, Campbell River has an abundance of things to do during the warmer months, including hiking, biking, boating, camping, eco-adventures and internationally renowned salmon fishing. During the winter, there is skiing at nearby Mount Washington. For those less inclined to outdoor adventure there is fine dining, boutique shopping, resorts, museums and golfing.
Hiking & Outdoor Attractions
Elk Falls Provincial Park Day Use Area
Some of the attractions you’ll definitely want to check out include the Elk Falls Provincial Park Day Use Area. There are some easy walking trails and a spectacular 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.
There are numerous parks around Campbell River, including Baikie Island Nature Reserve and Dick Murphy Park on “The Spit, both are very close to downtown and have some easy level paths to walk.
The section of Campbell River along the road leading to Elk Falls Provincial Park is very popular with fisherman seeking salmon and steelhead. Another very popular fishing destination is Discovery Fishing Pier located in the heart of downtown Campbell River at Fisherman’s Wharf. As well, many of the local lakes are stocked with rainbow, cutthroat and Dolly Varden trout.
There are numerous commercial RV parks in the area including Salmon Point Resort just south of town and the Thunderbird RV Park Resort right on the water near downtown Campbell River. If you are into more wilderness camping, there is nearby Elk Falls Provincial Park and the lakes region is also not far away and includes lower Campbell Lake, and Upper Campbell Lake. Good logging roads provide access to a large number of Forest Service Recreation Sites. Just be warned that during the summer months they can fill up quickly.
Campbell River Museum
The Campbell River Museum is a real treasure which includes a spectacular interactive exhibit showcasing a First Nations mask display. You will also see a working logging steam donkey, logger’s cabin, replica of the Willow’s Hotel and history of commercial fishing in the area. They also have a theatre room showing the film footage of the legendary explosion of “Ripple Rock” in 1958. Well worth the $8.00 admission fee.
Maritime Heritage Centre
Maritime Heritage Centre at Fisherman’s Wharf is home to BCP45, the only known example of a wooden seiner in its original configuration still in existence. This is a class of vessel intimately associated with the commercial west coast fishery during the 20th century and has all but disappeared from use. Canadians may remember seeing an image of the BCP45 on the Canada five dollar bill from 1972 to 1986. The fully restored BCP45 is now a designated National Historic Site.
You’ll find fine examples of First Nation’s art all over Campbell River, but make sure you check out the mask exhibit and other artifact exhibits at the Campbell River Museum.
The Campbell River Art Gallery in downtown Campbell River has two exhibition spaces that features work by mid-career and senior contemporary artists, with exhibitions changing every five to six weeks throughout the year. Exhibited work includes painting, sculpture, drawing, glass, metal, video, fibre art, multi-media, ceramics, photography and more.
Shopping & Dining
Colourful crosswalks, sculptures, restaurants, including a craft brewery, and boutique shopping await you downtown. In fact, the whole downtown waterfront is an wonderful area to explore with Fisherman’s Wharf, which includes the Maritime Heritage Centre, the Campbell River Museum and Discovery Pier. You will find parks, walkways and informational plaques about the history of Campbell River.
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