This weekly series aims to inspire you to go out there and experience amazing backpacking locations in person. Simply looking at them on your phone or monitor is not enough. Feel the wind, breathe the air and bask in the sun.
Our hike this week is the popular and gorgeous Della Falls Trail in Central Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Why this Hike?
This multi-day hike takes us through the rich forests and up a mountain on the Della Falls trail in Strathcona Provincial Park.
- Total distance is 29 kilometers.
- 4 days are recommended to complete this hike.
- Several smaller falls and creeks along the trail.
- You will have the chance to ride a cable car.
- You may have the chance to see wolves, deer, elk and other uncommon wildlife.
Take note of these factors before starting your adventure:
- Parts of the trail may be steep and you will need to cross creeks.
- The trail will take you through the forest and up the mountain so expect some climbing.
- Expect sudden rains with cold weather. This trail is best hiked between June and October.
- Pack light, the trail takes you through valleys and up a mountain.
- Several bridge crossings; steel, wood and even log bridges
- Cell Phone service is difficult at the park but satellite phones should work.
- The park has a LEAVE NO TRACE policy.
How do I get there?
The Della Falls trailhead is only accessible by water through Great Central Lake. You have the option of paddling a canoe or taking the Della Falls Water Taxi. Reservations have to be made in advance and are available from May to September. There are daily trips which would normally take around 50 - 60 minutes one way, depending on the weather.
Prices are as follows:
- $135.00 per adult round trip for groups of 2 or 3
- $125.00 per adult round trip for groups of 4 to 7
- $70.00 per child under 12 years old round trip
- Prices include 5% GST
- One-way trips are available
You could contact them through dellafallswatertaxi.com, or 1-250-723-4720 and 1-250-720-5363.
Here’s a map of our recommended route:
- Day 1: Trailhead to Della Falls Camp
- Day 2: Della Falls Main Camp to Love Lake
- Day 3: Love Lake to Della Falls Base Camp
- Day 4: Della Falls Base Camp to Trailhead
We start off our hike from the BC Parks Dock trailhead. The trail is relatively easy for the first 14 kilometers with stone and soil trails. It is advisable to have a break and take your lunch at Margaret Creek because the trail will get a bit difficult with landslide areas, muddy creeks, boulder fields and a ride on a cable car. This will also be the start of an increase in elevation. But once you reach the Della Falls camp at the banks of Drinkwater Creek, you’ll get a chance to rest and set up camp for the night.
Start off your next day early and enjoy the wild flora around you. You may even have the chance to pick some blueberries to add to your breakfast. From here you will be hiking further up the mountain and get a view of Della Falls, Della Lake, Beauty Falls, Nine Peaks, and Big Interior Mountain. Continue the climb up until you reach the gorgeous Love Lake. We suggest spending the 2nd night here so you have enough time to enjoy the lake.
From Love Lake, head back south on the trail until you reach Della Falls Trail again. From there head west up to the base of Della Falls. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the falls and set up camp.
The last part of the hike takes you back down through Della Falls trail to BC Parks Dock trailhead. You have the option of cutting down the hike to 3 days by skipping the Love Lake leg of the trail.
What will I need?
The hike is best between June and October but you will still need to wear warm clothes and waterproof hiking boots because of unexpected rains and muddy trails. If possible, bring an extra pair of footwear.
Bug spray is also important for this trek. Puddles and wet areas can be breeding grounds for mosquitos. It would be best to spray early on and not wait for them to attack.
Although there are a lot of creeks on the trail, we recommend all water be treated before you drink it or use it for cooking. It is also advisable to fill up your containers whenever you have the chance because water may be difficult to get at some parts of the trail especially in summer.
We recommend oatmeal for breakfast because there are blueberries on the trail which would be perfect to pair it with. For snacks or lunch, your own trail mix or sandwiches would be great and warm meals for dinner.
For more gear recommendations on what to bring to a multi-day hike like this, refer to our Ultimate Backpacker's Packing List.
Do I need a permit?
There are no camping fees or permits necessary for this trail. The park has a LEAVE NO TRACE policy in place so bring your own trash bags. Camping is only allowed on the designated campgrounds:
- Great Central Lake
- Margaret Creek
- Drinkwater Creek Gravel Bar
- Della Falls Main
- Della falls Base
Have you explored Della Falls? Do you have other outstanding hikes that you'd like us to write about? Please share your feedback in the comments.