Mount Arrowsmith is the most prominent visual focal point for most of the south central portion of Vancouver Island. It is situated along Highway 4 between Qualicum Beach/Parksville and Port Alberni.
The native people from the Alberni area call this mountain Kuth-Kah-Chulth, which means “that which has sharp pointed faces”. In the mid 1800s the English named it Arrowsmith after two cartographers, Aaron Arrowsmith and his nephew John Arrowsmith.
The Mount Arrowsmith area offers good hiking and rock climbing, with superb views of Vancouver Island. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice-climbing. There are no facilities in the 1,300-hectare park.
The trailhead for the Arrowsmith Trail is at the Cameron Lake picnic site. The trail ascends the lower slopes of the mountain to the site of the old ski resort, and winds up to the 1,829-metre (6,000-foot) summit of Mt. Arrowsmith. The hike is strenuous, and do not set off without a trail map. Arrowsmith Trail is the oldest intact trail on Vancouver Island. Other trails include the Rousseau Trail, and the Lower Ski Area Trail.
Evidence of a forest fire that roared through here 300 years ago is still visible on the thick bark of the tallest Douglas fir, and windstorms during the winter of 1997 toppled hundreds of trees.
A ski hill was operated on the adjacent Mount Cokely in the past, with several commercial ventures offering downhill skiing without success. The ski hill is not in operation now, and the road is not maintained.
The Mount Arrowsmith Regional Park is located approximately 12 miles (20 km) from Highway 4 along a gravel logging road. Access to the mountain is located near the summit of Highway 4, nine kilometers east of Port Alberni.
Nearby Regions & Towns
This park is a Regional Park, Municipal Park, or proposed park, and does not fall under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada (National Parks) or the BC Ministry of Environment (BC Parks).
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