Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Hiking in Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Provincial Park

by Keith and Heather Nicol
Much of the Paradise Meadows loop is boardwalk
       On Wednesday April 8th with sunny skies beckoning with decided to head to Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Provincial Park which is just a 30 minute drive from Courtenay, B.C. We drove to the trailhead which is located next to Raven Lodge (the Nordic skiing centre at Mt Washington Alpine Ski area).  The fact that you can drive to over 1000 meters means hiking through sub alpine meadows is possible for a wide variety of people and one trail (the Centennial Trail) is even wheelchair accessible. Since it was late in the day we walked part of the Centennial Loop first and then when we saw that much of the snow was gone from the boardwalk we decided to walk the Paradise Meadows loop as well. The combined loop is about 4 km and much of it is on boardwalk.

Heather at the trailhead near Raven Lodge with Mt Albert Edward in the distance
     The hiker gets various views of the Mt Washington ski area and ski chalets as well as vistas of the snowy Mt Albert Edward and Jutland Mountain. We found more snow on some of the shaded areas but most of it is easily negotiated. However we noticed one group with a wheel chair that couldn’t get past a snow covered portion of the Centennial Loop. We were surprised that so many groups were out enjoying the trails and when we arrived there were 12 cars in the parking lot. We fully recommend the trails in their present state – just be prepared for some snow covered sections and that the board walk might be slippery in the morning if it has dipped below freezing over night. We can’t wait to return to see the area after the snow has melted and also explore some the many other trails that extend off of the Paradise Meadows loop. The trail to Battleship Lake and Lake Helen Mackenzie look like a great next hike in this area. Strathcona Provincial Park is B.C.’s oldest park and is over 250,000 hectares in size. For more information see:
A ice covered pond with Mt Washington ski runs in the background

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