A Favourite Camping Spot
There's a brilliant ride south along the east shores of Upper Campbell then Buttle Lakes, on a paved, sparsely trafficked road. The road south of the Gold River turn-off was built to service the dormant Westmin mine up behind Lower Myra Falls (which rumour has it may be reactivated in 2018?).
This is all in spectacular Strathcona Provincial Park, BC's oldest provincial park, and a Vancouver Island treasure. So there's no logging or hunting, and hiking, camping and boating opportunities abound. Ralph River, down along the SE of Buttle Lake, is a big (75 sites) provincial campground, with the usual spacious, well treed (BIG TREES!) layout, with some sites along the lakeside or up along the banks of the Ralph River. There's a great sense of being out in the forest wilderness, and there are spectacular views out over the valley from a number of the choice sites.
APRIL 2019 UPDATE: I was back at Ralph River, and it is clear the Westmin Mine has reopened. One has to be a little more cautious when on the roads, particularly at the early start and end of the working day. You may also want to choose a campsite at Ralph River that is well back from the road, so early truck traffic will not wake you.
Lakeside camping site at Ralph River Provincial Park
As a more remote campground, Ralph River does not have showers or power, and is closed off season. There are hiking trails nearby (a number of trails up from the east shores of Buttle Lake). You're a fairly short ride away from scenic Lower Myra Falls along the SW corner of Buttle Lake (see photo below). There are a number of Rec sites or informal camping options in the neighbourhood, as well as Buttle Lake Provincial Park Campsite to the north where Hwy28 branches west to Gold River along the bridge between south Upper Campbell and north Buttle Lakes.
Check out this Fav ride into Strathcona. It's got an add on section if you want to head further west out to Gold River.
Lower Myra Falls, SW end of Buttle Lake, viewed from across the lake. The mine is up in behind here, but currently inactive. There's a Rec site (day use) and trailhead at the falls.
You can also connect to trails on to Upper Myra Falls (the big falls!)
My last trip to this area was November 2016. Riding north in the early morning, I saw deer almost everywhere along the roadside. I branched east on Berry Creek Main off Upper Campbell Lake, to try out a rougher backroads route. It was hunting season, with hunters out (I had my bright reflective vest). But, as soon as I got outside the park boundaries, I did not see a single deer. It's like they know where they are safe.
Sweet riding road along east Buttle Lake - paved, little traffic, no big hills, gorgeous scenery, and on top of everything - in Strathcona Provincial Park