Sproat Lake in Port Alberni. Vancouver Island View
Sproat Lake

S – Provincial Parks

Sandwell PP: This 17-hectare park on Gabriola Island is a great place to picnic, walk or suntan on the beach. At low tide, you can also search for the petroglyph.

Sandy Island (Jáji7em and Kw’ulh) PMP: Located off the northern tip of Denman Island, this 30-hectare park includes Sandy Island, known locally as Tree Island, and the Seal Islets. The area is accessible by boat from Union Bay or by foot from Denman when the tide is out. It’s a lovely spot to swim and sunbathe.

Schoen Lake PP: This large 8,430-hectare remote park near Woss offers fantastic trails to view glaciers and wildlife. Schoen Lake is a popular boating, fishing, swimming and camping area.

Smelt Bay PP: Located at the south end of Cortes Island, this 20-hectare park offers 22 spacious campsites overlooking the bay for both tents and smaller RVs.

Sooke Mountain PP: This 450-hectare undeveloped wilderness park north of Sooke has no vehicle access, making it a popular location for hikers and mountain bikers.

Sooke Potholes PP: This 7.28-hectare day-use park in Sooke is ideal for watching the annual salmon spawning run in the fall. Nearby is a series of deep, naturally carved rock pools that photographers love. During the summer, the polished rocks provide a great sunbathing platform and the deep pools of water a spectacular spot to swim.

Spectacle Lake PP: Another popular Sooke area park is Spectacle Lake. This 67-hectare park provides an excellent trail system and a small lake to swim, canoe, kayak, fish, or picnic.

Spider Lake PP: Located near Qualicum Beach, this 64.59-hectare park features a beautiful lake and picnic area. Swimmers love the warm water, and fresh-water anglers enjoy trying to catch the stocked smallmouth bass and rainbow trout.

Sproat Lake PP: This Port Alberni park is a popular spot for campers and boaters. The 43-hectare park offers two campgrounds and a large day-use area. It is also home to one of the finest panels of petroglyphs in British Columbia.

Squitty Bay PP: This small 12-hectare day-use park is located near the southeast tip of Lasqueti Island. The park offers rocky headlands and arid terrain that includes prickly pear cacti and Rocky Mountain juniper. 

Stamp River PP: Another beautiful park in Port Alberni is Stamp River. This 327-hectare park comes to life in the fall with the annual salmon run and the colour change of the big-leaf maples. The waterfall is also a wonderful attraction.

Strathcona PP: Designated in 1911, this is BC’s oldest Provincial Park and at 248,669-hectares, one of the largest. The park is divided into two areas: Buttle Lake and vicinity and Forbidden Plateau.

Boat Only Parks

Sabine Channel PMP: Located between Lasqueti and Texada Islands, this 95-hectare park encompasses an area of more than 30 islands and rocky islets. Jervis, Bunny and Jedediah are three of the largest of the group.

Santa Gertrudis-Boca Del Infierno PP: Part of the popular Nootka Sound, this 440-hectare park is popular among kayakers and boaters. The area offers excellent opportunities for wilderness camping, fishing and wildlife viewing. Sheltered anchorages in Boca de Infierno Bay and Santa Gertrudis Cove make it a popular stopover on the route through Nootka Sound. The park is also adjacent to Yuquot (Friendly Cove), which was the sight of the first formal contact between European explorers and First Nations.

Small Inlet PP: Located on the northern tip of Quadra Island, this 487-hectare park provides well-protected anchorages for boaters. A small lake is accessible onshore via a rough 1.5 km portage trail. This same trail will eventually connect you to Octopus Islands PMP (mentioned above).

Sulphur Passage PP: This 2,232-hectare undeveloped wilderness area is situated in the northeast portion of Clayoquot Sound. It’s a popular kayaking destination due to the number of birds, fish and marine mammals the park helps to protect.

Surge Narrows PP: On the south end of Maurelle Island, just east of Quadra, this 488-hectare area offers a unique tidal change passage. The tidal currents are powerful, and travel through the narrows should only occur at slack tide.

Sydney Inlet PP: This 2,774-hectare park in northern Clayoquot Sound provides one of the best examples of a fjord on Vancouver Island. This makes it a popular boating and kayaking destination. The park also protects a large old-growth Sitka spruce and Douglas fir forest.

Wakes Cove on Valdes Island

T – Y Provincial Parks

Tahsish-Kwois PP: This isolated 10,972-hectare park in the Kyuquot Sound area is accessible by boat via the Tahsish Inlet or by hiking. The area features two lakes, a large old-growth forest, a scenic river canyon, river valleys and an Ecological Reserve.

Taylor Arm PP: Found on the north shore of Sproat Lake, this 71-hectare forested park offers six group campsites, an undeveloped beach and two day-use areas.

Tribune Bay PP: This popular white sand beach and turquoise-coloured bay on Hornby Island is nicknamed “Little Hawaii.” The 95-hectare park is also a great place to swim as the shallow waters provide one of the warmest saltwater swimming areas in BC.

West Shawnigan Lake PP: This small 9.7-hectare day-use area provides access to beautiful Shawnigan Lake, a popular spot to swim, waterski, and windsurf.

Weymer Creek PP: Located 5 miles southeast of the village of Tahsis, this 316-hectare park is known for having some of the deepest and longest caves in Canada. However, these caves should only be explored if you have caving experience and the right equipment.

White River PP: Nicknamed “Cathedral Grove of the North,” this 72-hectare undeveloped wilderness area protects an old-growth forest. It’s also an important habitat for Roosevelt Elk and black bears. White River PP is located 7 km west of Schoen Lake PP, mentioned above, and accessed by gravel logging roads.

Woss Lake PP: This undeveloped wilderness park totalling 6,634 hectares is situated on the southern portion of Woss Lake, so typically only accessible by boat from the launch at the north end of the lake. However, walk-in access is possible from logging roads on either the west or east side of the lake. For those who do make the journey, there is a beautiful waterfall to view, as well as permanent snowfields in the steep forested slopes above the lake.

Yellow Point Bog ER: This 137-hectare Ecological Reserve in Yellow Point offers visitors a 5.3 km loop trail and the possibility to view beautiful wildflowers in the spring.

Boat Only Parks

Thurston Bay PMP: Located on the northwest side of Sonora Island, this 531-hectare park provides sheltered anchorage for boaters. The protected bay makes it an ideal location to paddle, swim, fish, or explore the beach. There is a rough trail onshore that leads to Florence Lake.

Vargas Island PP: Located near Tofino, this 5,805-hectare park and Island is a very popular paddling and wilderness camping destination. Gray whales and wolves are frequently seen in the area.

Wakes Cove PP: This 205-hectare park on Valdes Island offers sheltered anchorage, rustic hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities. The area is surrounded by private property, so visitors must be aware of park boundaries when onshore.

Wallace Island PMP: Located between Salt Spring and Galiano Islands, this 89-hectare park and island is a popular destination for boaters and kayakers. Numerous beaches and coves provide sheltered anchorage for day-trippers and overnight campers.

Whaleboat Island PMP: This small 10-hectare islet in the DeCourcy Group provides boaters and kayakers picturesque views of interesting geological formations. However, the island’s steep rocky banks make this small island extremely difficult to access, so best viewed from the water.

Now, that’s a list! How many of these parks have you been to? Which one is your favourite to explore? Let us know in the comment section below.

To save this article for future use, please pin any of these images on Pinterest: (Images represent parks found in all four regions of Vancouver Island; South, West, East and North).

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