Just after the north end of the Malahat drive is Spectacle Lake Provincial Park, a small nature park with a lot of personality. Spectacle Lake is spring-fed, and offers the only site on the island for Eastern Brook trout fishing. The lake is also stocked regularly with Cutthroat Trout, adding a little more variety to the fishermen’s quarry. This little park may not be big enough to allow for overnight camping, and some of its facilities may be slightly different from the norm because it is actually run by the Cowichan Valley Regional District instead of the province of B.C, but fishing is definitely not all there is to enjoy here.
Highlights of Spectacle Lake Provincial Park
- Canoeing/ kayaking
- Short hikes
- Wheelchair accessible boat launch
- Pit toilets at the beach
The area surrounding Spectacle Lake was logged before the 1960’s, with the lake itself being dammed and used to boom logs that were about to be put through the sawmill that operated there in the 1940’s. In fact, the lovely sandy beach that you see when you first approach the lake is a recent addition to the park. Underneath the sand is a thick layer of sawdust that stems from the decades of logging that this area has witnessed. In the 1950’s most of the forest around Spectacle Lake was cut down and milled— it has since been replanted, and is now a lush, mature forest with plenty of natural beauty.
Activities at Spectacle Lake Provincial Park
One of the best things about Spectacle Lake Provincial Park is its accessibility. All of the facilities are wheelchair and stroller friendly, as well as many of the activities (such as the boat launch). Even the trails around the lake are short and easy, even allowing families with strollers to enjoy a pleasant walk. Like many of the Capital Regional District’s lake parks, Spectacle Lake Provincial Park can accommodate the usual water activities, which include swimming, canoeing, and fishing. The big difference is, since Spectacle Lake is one of the first to freeze in the winter, it is also popular for ice skating in the winter. On the southern tip of Vancouver Island, where winters are often too mild for snow, bundling up in warm clothes and bringing your loved ones to the lake for a few hours of old-fashioned skating is something special.
In spite of the fact that the forest around Spectacle Lake is not the original one, it is still a beautiful and inviting park with a lot to offer. Whether you are looking to spend time with your loved ones enjoying the summer sun, or you come in warm clothes and ice skates, and whether you spend an hour or several hours, Spectacle Lake Provincial Park is a small park that leaves a lasting impression. It will certainly become a place you will return to time and again.