The Canyon View Trail in Elk Falls Provincial Park is a six kilometer loop that follows the banks of the Campbell River is spectacular right now and getting better every day. Allow yourself about 1.5 hours to dawdle along looking at spring wildflowers and doing some early spring birding.
You’ve got a couple of options for parking. I parked at the John Hart Generating Station and crossed over the river and walked clockwise back to the parking area. You can also park at the lower bridge on Detwiler Road and walk up to the station and back around.
At this time of year early spring flowers are fantastic. Both Pink Fawn Lily (Erythronium revolutum) and White Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum) are out in bloom. In a couple of sunny places Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria lanceolata) is in bud. Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) is also starting to bloom and should be excellent within a week.
Look along the trail edges for Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) and
Angled Bitter-cress (Cardamine angulata) Slender Toothwort (Cardamine nutallii), especially on the low areas near the river.
Note on identification correction: Sometimes Pojar and MacKinnon falls short, and with this common Vancouver Island plant referring to the Illustrated Flora pointed me in the correct direction. It’s not mentioned in Plants of Coastal BC and definitely should be.
Cow-parsnip (Heracleum lanatum) is plentiful but isn’t quite out yet. The leaves of this plant are large and dramatic. Compare Cow-parsnip with Palmate Coltsfoot (Petasites palmatus) – the leaves look a little similar but the flowers are quite different.
The smell of Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum) is noticeable in most wet areas on the trail and the bright yellow bracts of this delightful plant shine out like lanterns against the dark wet mud.
This loop trail near the city of Campbell River is an excellent short walk for botany and a fantastic way to spend a morning or an afternoon. Take some time over the next couple of weeks to enjoy the wildflower display.
Read more about the Canyon View Trail at Travels with Miranda.
How to Get There:
Park at either the John Hart Generating Station (picnic tables and outhouse) or at the Detwiler Road bridge. The trail follows both sides of the river.