Vancouver Island’s Newest Campsite: Croteau Lake

Are the first signs of spring getting you excited to plan your summer getaways? If you’re anything like us you’re already planning summer escapes: new hikes to tick off, peaks to summit, and camping spots to check out.

One campsite worth putting on your list is BC Parks’ newest group campsite at Croteau Lake in Strathcona Provincial Park. It’s the first backcountry group site to accept reservations, and features a cool, brand new yurt that is the first of its kind in Canada. This makes it a perfect space for school groups, family reunions, retreats, and outdoor education initiatives.

The new Croteau Lake site is remote hike-in only, located approximately one and a half hours from the Forbidden Plateau trailhead. You can access the trailhead from Mount Washington Ski Resort’s Nordic road. During summer months, don’t forget to stop by the Strathcona Wilderness Institute hut at the trailhead. They run interpretive walks, sell maps, and answer questions about the unique ecology of the Forbidden Plateau.

The Croteau Lake campsite location is built on the original site of legendary local Eugene Croteau’s guest lodge, which was erected in the 1930s. The area was famous for drawing thousands of guests who wanted to explore Strathcona by horseback, and appreciated Croteau’s laidback mountainside hospitality. During the building of this new group site in October of 2017, the crew of three builders set up their tent on the exact foundation of the first cabin!

At the new site, you’ll find 12 tent pads, a large yurt, composting toilet facilities, bear caches, and a small dock to access water. It can accommodate up to 25 people and can be booked from June 15-September. 15.  The best part? Being the only campground on the lake, you’re sure to find a quiet, secluded atmosphere.

Hikes from Croteau Lake

Nestled in the sub-alpine of Strathcona, the Forbidden Plateau is home to many picturesque lakes, rare wildflowers, and an astounding network of trails. The entire area is surrounded by the jagged peaks of mountains, such as Mount Albert Edward, the area’s most popular overnight hike. Mount Albert Edward is a 32-kilometer round-trip hike from the Paradise Meadows/Forbidden Plateau trailhead. When camping at Croteau, the hike and ascent is roughly a half day from the site, and approximately the same to return.

There are many other popular hikes that are accessible from Croteau Lake: Castlecrag Mountain, Cruickshank Canyon, and Circlet Lake are all moderate day hikes from the Croteau basecamp or consider a day hike loop excursion taking in Kwai Lake, Murray Meadows, Helen Mackenzie Lake, Battleship Lake, Kooso Lake and Lady Lake. Prefer fishing or swimming instead? You’re in luck. Within a short distance of Croteau, you’ll find over 20 crystal clear lakes.

Free Weekend Camping – Croteau Lake Campsite Draw!

UPDATE: We are extending our promotion to May 31, 2018! See below for additional details. 

All bookings made for the Croteau Lake group campsite before May 15th will be entered into a draw to win a FREE weekend of camping at any eligible BC Park available through Discover Camping. Please refer to the terms and conditions below.

  • All bookings for Croteau Lake campsite made before May 15 are entered into a draw to win a free weekend camping at any eligible BC Park available through Discover Camping.
  • Only the primary reservation holder for the Croteau Lake campsite is eligible to be entered
  • One entry per person; entries are only valid up to midnight on May 15, 2018.
  • Prize is non-transferrable and valid for the 2019 calendar season, pending availability of eligible, reservable BC Parks.
  • Prize eligible for two people, two-night stay at any campground of your choice (pending availability) during the 2019 season.
  • Prize includes two-night stay only; all expenses and additional activities are to be covered by the prize winner.

To book your stay at Croteau Lake, please visit Discover Camping. Have a wonderful summer and enjoy the trails!

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15 responses to “Vancouver Island’s Newest Campsite: Croteau Lake

  1. Heather

    Love it! Camping here is the greatest

  2. Kelsey

    I am trying to book the site but can’t seem to find it on the list of campsite options ? Please help!

    1. Bryan

      I couldn’t either

      1. jcrawfor

        Sorry to hear that! As this is a group campsite (with a yurt), make sure you select “Group Campgrounds” in Step 1 of the reservation process.

  3. M.P.

    Looking to book a yurt at Crotus – it’s not a possibility on the website. There is no yurt option at all (not even searching under cabin). Tried a number of different options… help?

    1. jcrawfor

      Sorry to hear that! As this is a group campsite (with a yurt), make sure you select “Group Campgrounds” in Step 1 of the reservation process.

  4. Aleyna

    Thanks for the post

  5. Natasha

    How much is it per night at Croteau lake

  6. Nora

    Hi there. I’m wondering about the wording of this.. it says that you have 12 camping pads but it can only accommodate 25 people. Is that a hard limit? We have booked it but have a number of small children coming with us as it’s a reasonable length of hike.

    1. behoskin

      Thanks for your question, sorry for the delay in responding. There is flexibility in group size as long as no one is camping off of the tent pads. We use an average of 2 people per tent to determine the 25 person max, but understand that with small children, numbers may be higher. Have a great trip!

  7. Connie

    Looking to book the group site but cannot accept the booking site. Can I please book the group site?

    1. Kealey

      Hello Connie,
      I looked up the information on Strathcona Park page and it states this, “Group campsites have been repurposed at this park. Due to ongoing operational changes as part of our COVID-19 response, group campsites have been repurposed at this park for new family camping opportunities.” If you are still having trouble booking, I suggest you call the Call Centre for Discover Camping and they can assist you. All the best,

  8. KenD

    I’m wondering if there is a fire pit for cooking food? Or are there amenities in the yurt for that?

    1. Kealey

      Hello Ken,

      The Strathcona park page states this, “Fires are not permitted anywhere or at any time
      Fires are not permitted anywhere or at any time (all seasons) within Strathcona Park, except in authorized and provided BC Parks steel fire rings. This regulation is in effect at all times of the year. No open fires are allowed in any backcountry areas.” As well, here is a link to the brochure on the Croteau Lake camping area:
      If you still have questions, I suggest you contact the park operator here: 43K Wilderness Solutions