Forbidden Plateau

Part of Strathcona park, Forbidden Plateau is a scenic 250 sq km alpine plateau of open meadows and lush forest dotted with lakes and framed by majestic mountains. It has some of the most scenic hikes in the world and you may just find some of these comparisons online. The Paradise Meadows hikes and those to Mt Albert Edward are popular on the Plateau.

History of Old Ski lift:

Early in the 1900’s Vancouver Island settlers became very interested in the natural beauty of Forbidden Plateau. By the 1920’s cabins started to appear on the landscape and in the late 1940’s a ski lift was constructed on Wood mountain.

Fast forward to the 1970s. Two businessmen from Campbell River, Henry Norie and Alex Linton, proposed Mt Washington be the first planned ski resort in British Columbia. Mt Washington Alpine Resort opened within the year. Mt Washington was considered state-of-the-art  compared to the other ski lifts on Vancouver Island partly because it included the first indoor washrooms.

Forbidden Plateau ski area became the lesser desired ski area and nn 1999 there was heavy snowfall causing the roof on Forbidden Plateau Lodge to collapse.  Since then vandals torched the part of the buildings and the area now sits with an abandoned ski lift.

Legend of the name origin:

The K’omoks People (more commonly known as the Comox People) took their women and children to the plateau for safekeeping when they faced raids from other coastal tribes. During one raid, by the Cowichan people, the women and children vanished without a trace. One member of the tribe went looking for the them within the Plateau. After much searching, he found some red lichen covering the snow and nearby rocks and concluded the lichen to be blood from the family members. Ever since the plateau became taboo for the native people believed that it was inhabited by evil spirits who had consumed those they had sent.

Time and Distance:

Paradise Meadows:

Helen Mackenzie/Battleship/ Lake Loop:

2.5 hours, 6.8  km

Once on the trail take the second junction toward Battleship Lake. Coming towards the Lake there are  smaller paths that provide great lookouts to the lake.

Paradise Meadows Trailhead to Kwai Lake:

Approx 3 hours, 7 km, Elevation gain: 250 meters. Here you can get some great photos of pristine lakes, Castle Crag and Frink Mountain.

Paradise Meadows Trailhead to Canyon Lookout: 4 hours, 8.5 km: At the first intersection stay right  then follow the trail straight through a couple more intersections to Canyon Lookout.

Mt Albert Edward

Fees: Free Day Hike, $10 overnight per person

The most popular mountain to summit and  one of the easiest in Strathcona Park. The 6th highest mountain on Vancouver Island and the highest summit in Forbidden Plateau. Most people do an over night hike, but it is possible to do in one (really long) day.

Mt Regan

Height: 1975 Meters

This is the 2nd highest in the Forbidden Plateau and the most difficult to climb.

Mt Frink

Frink is the 3rd highest summit in the Plateau and it is about 1.5 km SE of Albert Edward.

Height: 1948 Meters

Castlecrag Mountain

This is usually climbed as part of the Castlecrag Horseshoe Hike though is also a good hike from Circlet Lake.

Height: 1740 Meters

Mt Becher

Height: 1390 Meters

This is the closest mountain in Forbidden Plateau  to Courtney and is a popular place to hike and ski during the winter. Boston Falls is considered one of the best places to ice climb on Vancouver Island, though warmer winters have made it more challenging.

Jutland Mountain

Height: 1830

Distance: 32 km from Paradise Meadows trailhead

There are several different trails to the summit. From the summit there are incredible views east to Georgia Strait and northwest to the Golden Hinde.

Other hikes included Strata Mountain,  Mt Allan Brooks, Mt Elma, Indianhead Mountain and Mt Drabble.