Section 4: Cumberland to Strathcona Dam
Length: 109 km
Elevation: 160 to 1,800 metres
Total Ascent/descent: 4,950 / 4,890 metres
Proportion: 80% trail and 20% road
Status: Not officially open north of Strathcona Park. A land use agreement over private forest lands remains to be finalized.
Trail standard: Well-defined single-track, mostly Park trails to near Mt. Albert Edward. North from there a mix of light single- track with a forest floor tread, becoming merely a route requiring route finding in the treeless terrain at the highest elevations north and south of both Mt. Jutland and Mt. Adrian.
Difficulty: After a short, somewhat steep trail up to the Plateau, long established but heavily impacted park trails lead across Forbidden Plateau to the Circlet Lake area. The middle section becomes decidedly mountainous with steep climbing sections and rubbly trails towards Albert Edward, over Jutland Mtn., and near Mt. Adrian, including the ‘end-run’ trail around a band of cliffs north of Adrian. North of Mt. Beadnell, the route past Lupin Mountain down to Upper Quinsam Lake can be tiring. Easy single-track trail and roads then take you to Strathcona Dam.
Character: Several distinct sections:
After a climb up through managed forest, proceed through old subalpine forests, wetlands and lakes of the rolling Forbidden Plateau.
- From Circlet Lake proceed through steep, mountainous terrain along the Albert Edward Trail and north along Jutland ridge. Then, after a short section back down in managed forests of the upper Oyster valley, back up to mountainous terrain of Adrian and Beadnell mountains.
- Then a descent of the linear ridge to and past Lupin Mountain, still in mature forest of mostly dry and rocky sites.
- Lastly a section of low elevation, rolling terrain past Upper Quinsam Lake and the Quinsam River, through managed forests to Strathcona Dam.
Facilities: Designated campsites within Strathcona Park at McKenzie, Kwai and Circlet Lakes. North of the park, hikers typically bivouac near water sources. At lower elevations are developed campsites managed by Mosaic Forest Management on Upper Quinsam, Wokas and Gooseneck Lakes and at Upper Campbell Lake by BC Hydro. Water sources are not plentiful on the dry, high elevation ridges. Many hikers make a side trip to Campbell River to re-supply.
Short Description: Section 4 includes two high elevation sections through scenic mountain hemlock forest and parkland. First the Forbidden Plateau trails of Strathcona Park to near Mt. Albert Edward & a rough route along Jutland Ridge. Second the Mt. Adrian, Rogers Ridge and Lupin Ridge trails. These are interspersed at lower elevations with mixed single-track and logging road sections on the approach to Forbidden Plateau, in the upper Oyster River and Pearl Lake area, and from Upper Quinsam Lake to Strathcona Dam.
Highlights & Lowlights: The subalpine forests and wetlands of Forbidden Plateau. 2,093 metre Albert Edward, Gem Lake and Mt. Jutland. Azure waters of Pearl Lake and spectacular Mt. Adrian and Rogers Ridge as well as numerous lakes and tarns. Expansive views over Buttle Lake and to the north from Lupin Ridge over Upper Quinsam Lake. The steep, rocky slope from north of Pearl Lake up to Mt. Adrian is a demanding climb.