Sproat Lake to the West Coast
Sproat Lake is nestled between the vibrant Port Alberni Valley and the expansive West Coast. The journey from Sproat Lake to the West Coast is a winding and beautiful one, covering over 100km of breathtaking forests, creeks, lakes, and mountains.
Sproat Lake to the West Coast
Vancouver Island is known for its old growth forests, especially in the interior and West Coast of the Island. From Yellow Cedars, to Sitka Spruce, to the infamous Arbutus Trees, the massive forests never fail to disappoint, especially on the drive between Sproat Lake and the West Coast. The most beautiful times of the year to venture highway 4 are between spring and autumn. The regrowth after winter, complete with wildflowers blooming and new leaves filling in the trees will leave you appreciating this beautiful Island. The summer months offer full and lush forests, almost overflowing with foliage, in early summer the invasive broom blooms with it’s yellow flowers, as the summer continues, purple loosestrife and blackberry can be seen blooming along the highway. As summer turns to autumn, the maple and oak leaves begin to change colour. The forest transforms into warm oranges, coppers, and browns, before the leaves fall and winter sets in.
Through the forest and along the highway runs Wally Creek, which opens up into Kennedy Lake. Wally Creek is a crystal clear aquamarine colour, with many spots deep enough for a cooldown swim. This creek spans 75km of highway 4 between Sproat Lake and the West Coast, and even houses its own Love Lock Fence, where you can stop and add a lock to symbolize a love of your own. This creek is almost spellbinding, capturing your attention anytime the trees open up for a glimpse of it. It’s aquamarine hue looks chilly year round, but especially during fall and winter.
Rounding the corner to Kennedy Lake is breathtaking. The entire stretch of the highway will have you holding your breath (at least until they finish construction), as one side hugs the mountain face and the other opens up to an ocean sized lake. Kennedy Lake is the largest lake on Vancouver Island, spanning 6,475 hectares and 145m deep at its deepest part. The lake is formed mainly from the Clayoquot and Kennedy Rivers, and outflows via a short stretch of the Kennedy River into the Tofino Inlet. Highway 4 spans along the south east and southern side of the lake, and offers the only highway access. This lake is mesmerizing to say the least, it almost looks as though it should be a part of the ocean, it is so expansive. Kennedy Lake Provincial Park is an ideal place to spend the day enjoying the beach and water with family and friends.
Highway 4 has been carved through the many mountains that lay between Sproat Lake and the West Coast; Klitsa Mountain, Pogo Mountain, Triple Peak, and Hidden Peak are the four main mountains you’ll pass on your way to Tofino or Ucluelet. Travelling from Sproat Lake to the West Coast, Klitsa Mountain is the first on our list and is the highest summit south of Sproat Lake at 1639m tall. Pogo Mountain is next, coming in at 1030m tall, and can be found near Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park. Triple Peak and Hidden Peak stand almost parallel to each other on opposite sides of the highway. Triple Peak is 1525m tall offering spectacular views and brilliant waterfalls. Lastly, Hidden Peak is 1467m tall and is aptly named, as the peak is hidden from view north of Mt.Maitland.
The hour and a half drive goes by in a blur of winding roads, looming mountains, and the best of BC’s rainforests. Some days the drive can feel never ending, while others go by too fast. Regardless, it is one of the most beautiful trips you can make while on Vancouver Island.
Written by Mike Youds, at the Valley Vibe. Port Alberni’s fast growing community and online magazine. The passion here at the Valley Vibe is to showcase the beautiful of our valley for all who live here, and travel through. Working together with many talented writers, we at the Valley Vibe love to explore, discover and uncover secret jewels about Port Alberni and Sproat Lake.