Landslide Lake (Strathcona Park)

Landslide Lake Strathcona National Park

The Elk River Trail to Landslide Lake is a great day or overnight hike that will give you amazing views of alpine lakes, glaciers, and waterfalls in Strathcona Park. This is probably the best hike in Strathcona Park and certainly one of the best on Vancouver Island. It is long at 24km but well worth it!

Landslide Lake Hike Stats

  • moderate ( easy terrain but long)
  • 24km
  • 600m elevation gain
  • 8-12 hrs
  • great swimming spot
  • backcountry camping
  • Suitable for dogs but beware cougar warnings (keep leashed)

We did this hike as an overnight July 8 2024 and the snow conditions were fine. We left for Strathcona Park super early from Nanaimo, and made our way to start point at the Elk River trailhead.

Landslide Lake Hike Directions

To get there we drove north to Campbell River and took highway 28 on route to Gold River. After passing the large Strathcona Park sign, we saw an obvious sign that led us to the parking lot of the Elk River Trail (Trailpeak). We find that anything over 25km is more enjoyable as an overnight so that’s we did. Staying overnight also gives you the chance to really hang out at the lakes and see them with the different lights of the day.

The Trail Follows the valley all the way to the lakes


If you are up to camp, there are 2 camping spots available on the trail, but you cannot camp at the lake. They are both on the river, but campsite 2 is about 2.3 km away from the lake and it had better views of the mountains. We felt it was better to stay as close to the lake as possible so we chose site 2. You need a camping permit for both campsites that will cost you $10 per person It was nice to see that both sites had bear caches and serviceable outhouses. You can register for camping by going to the BC Parks Camping website to make your reservation. It is also possible to do it the day off at the parking lot. There is a little fill out form and a drop box for cash right at the start of the trail.

The hike up took us less than 4 hours, but we walked quite quickly and did not stop very much along the way. I would definitely give yourself at least 5-6 hours each way if you are doing this as a day hike. terrain map

Once we got to the lake we had a nice lunch break and we even took a swim in the frigid glacier lake. Our recent cold dipping prepared us well and it was actually warmer than expected The view of the lake and Mount Colonel Foster was so picturesque and it felt like such a reward for our long journey. I love going on long hikes to remote areas because it makes you feel as if only a certain number of people have actually seen the same view as your own. It really is a great feeling. The crowds were low here midweek and we only saw 2 other couples the entire hike.

Once you get to Landslide Lake you have the option of continuing to Iceberg Lake which is another 45 minutes past Landslide Lake 2.3km 300m. We were determined to see it all so we continued up to see the lake before the sun hid behind Mt Colonel Foster. The trail here earlier in the season was not great. Lots of stepping over roots and bushwacking to stay on course. A far more difficult hike than the stats would make it out to be.

We were glad we saw the Icebergs on the lake but if we could do it again we would have spent more time swimming and hanging out at Landslide. We have seen many ice covered lakes and felt the poorly defined trail was maybe not worth it so much.

The beginning of the trail is well marked and easy to follow.

Beautiful old growth forests on they way to first camp!

Both campsites had decent toilets, good metal food caches and great river access,

We chose campsite 2 upper gravel bar and it was an amazing place to wake up. There was room for 3 or 4 tents (private) by the river and many more in the forested camp area. We set up camp here and then continued up to Landslide and eventually Berg with lighter packs.

The trail starts to change to rock a couple kilometers after camp 2. When this starts to happen watch for rock cairns to show the way.

First glimpses of Mt Colonel Foster which sits above Landslide Lake

Landslide Lake Views

If you walk a little bit on the trail to berg lake about 100 m down the trail is this great flat rock to hang out and swim at.

The lake looked wildly different at different times of the day but all amazing.

Berg Lake Add-on Hike

We are not going to lie this was way harder than it should of been. At only 2 km extra it felt much harder due to the condition of the trail. It is admittedly still early season but I found myself thinking a machete would of been useful. I insisted on bringing my cooking supplies to make coffee at the top and regretted it every extra step of the way. We personally as people who have been to several glacial hikes with ice found the hike not worth it for. However it was very cool to get to the base of Mt Colonel Foster. If you are going to go make sure you get up earlier in the day so you can see the sun light up the lake blue. We got here closer to sunset and had some great lighting for the mountain views but missed the lit up lake. Check out the photos and make up your own mind. I think it could be incredible if you get there before 3 or so.

Enroute to Berg lake after bushwhacking the entire left side of Landslide lake on what used to be a good trail.

Iceberg (Foster) Lake Views

We had some great views on the way back down to upper camp

Everywhere you look in this park there are awesome views!

Landslide Lake Hike Tips

Parking – This is a remote area with limited spots for parking perhaps 20 cars if placed well. This was no worry at all on the weekdays we were there but I would arrive early if your hiking on the weekend. Don’t leave visible valuables in the car and make sure everything is locked up.

Safety – This is bear country! with the recent incursion of Grizzlys to remote Vancouver Island make sure you practice best hiking practices with waste. Bring Bear spray and know how to use it! The week before we hiked there was a cougar attack on a lady and her dog. Apparently the cougar went for her dog and she managed to fight it off but had to be medivaced out. The wildlife does exsist here. We find Alltrails is great for checking recent comments for trail conditions and updates.

Food At Camp – Whenever we are in remote country we always like to cook and store our food away from our camp. We chose to cook and eat our dinner at Landslide Lake so when we got back to camp we could crash with no worries. The bear bins here are great and have little hooks inside them. If you have a stuff sack or plastic bag you can hang your foodstuff inside the bin to keep it clean.

Photography at Landslide – We found the lake actually looked nicest lit up in early mid day. You can get some great mid morning pictures here (great news for day hikers). How the sun moves across the valley means sunset photos here have you shooting into the sun. Saying this we did not see it at sunrise so that could have been very cool.

Other Great Hikes in Strathcona Area

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