Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
783.00 m (2,568.90 ft)
Trail type
21.50 km (13.36 mi)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Circlet Lake is a popular site for hikers and mountaineers on Vancouver Island. Lakes, waterfalls, alpine meadows, and easy alpine access are what attract people to the area. The campsite sits under waterfalls near the base of Mount Albert Edward, a well-known peak in eastern Strathcona Park. Circlet Lake can be your next 2-, 3-, or 4-day backpacking trip in Strathcona Park's Forbidden Plateau.

Circlet Lake is a popular spot in the summer months. Try to visit midweek or arrive early on weekends to secure your campsite. Backcountry permits can be purchased online ahead of time through Discover Camping or at the trailhead. A loop trip is best to see as much of Forbidden Plateau as possible. Follow signage to Battleship, Croteau, and Kwai Lake on the eastern side of the loop going toward Circlet. On the return, a left turn toward Helen Mackenzie Lake completes a loop on the west side. There is clear signage at every trail junction including distances to each lake. When in doubt, follow the signs.

The campground has approximately 20 campsites. However, nearby Duck Pond has overflow sites as well for busy weekends. Tent pads vary; some are on the lake, while others are more secluded off the water. Come early if you want a lake site.

Many hikers choose to use Circlet Lake as a basecamp to make climbing Mount Albert Edward more manageable. It can also be a stop on the way to explore Cruikshank Canyon, other nearby alpine lakes, or Castlecrag Mountain. The campsite at Circlet Lake may be the most remote, but those that arrive are rewarded with views of huge waterfalls and a stepping stone to the alpine. Check with B.C. Parks for trail conditions before going. The last 2 to 3 kilometers can be very muddy from snowmelt until early summer.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Backcountry BC Parks Pass

Open Year-round





Easy alpine access. Varied campsite views. Waterfalls.


Busy on summer weekends. Muddy trails.

Trailhead Elevation

3,576.12 ft (1,090.00 m)

Highest point

4,173.23 ft (1,272.00 m)


Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Family friendly
Backcountry camping

Typically multi-day


Permit required


Permit self-issue on site



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Cortes Island, British Columbia


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