Island Profile: Kennedy Lake

If ever you’ve made the trip to the west coast by car, you’ve passed by Kennedy Lake. After all, it’s hard to miss the largest lake on Vancouver Island.

Kennedy Lake


Photo: Shayne Kaye on Flickr

Located 16 kilometres east of the town of Ucluelet, Kennedy Lake hugs part of the Island’s mountain range in a distinct horseshoe shape. Fed by the Clayoquot River and the Kennedy River, it has become a popular stop for those trekking Highway 4.

kennedylake
Map © Google Maps

The area surrounding Kennedy Lake has been settled by the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation for thousands of years and forms part of the ancestral lands of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. Following European settlement of Vancouver Island, the lake was named for a former governor of Vancouver Island, Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy. Despite popular misconception, Kennedy Lake does not form part of Pacific Rim National Park. Instead it is adjacent to it, being Kennedy Lake Provincial Park and falling under BC’s umbrella. [source]

Also adjacent to Kennedy Lake are Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park, Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park and Kennedy River Bog Provincial Park.

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Photo: Myles Green on Flickr

The Kennedy Lake area was largely settled and populated based on the very active logging opportunities presented by the surrounding forest. Today it’s a popular stop-off for tourists and recreational enthusiasts.

Tofino Trip - May 2008
Photo: Scott Hadfield on Flickr

Camping at Kennedy Lake
Photo: Chris Morisawa on Flickr

While Kennedy Lake doesn’t provide designated camping spots, it’s not uncommon to see tents dotted at various points around the lake. It’s also a haven for freshwater fishing, canoeing, picnicking and swimming. Budding photographers will find unending inspiration in the panoramas across the lake.

Posing at Kennedy lake
Photo: Matthew Parkes on Flickr

last of the sun
Photos: Magalie L’Abbé on Flickr

As with most parts of Vancouver Island, Kennedy Lake is also home to its fair share of wildlife. It’s not uncommon to spot eagles, deer, bears, wolves or cougars. Always exercise caution when in these animals’ backyard: leave pets at home and keep children close by.

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Photo: Jo Salkey on Flickr

Kennedy Lake is as rustic as they come. Potable water is not available on site so bring your own and be sure to take any garbage with you when you leave.

Kennedy Lake and its respective provincial parks are located on Highway 4, about eight kilometres east of the Tofino/Ucluelet junction. Day-use areas include picnic facilities, pit toilets, a boat launch and wheelchair access. For more information about visiting Kennedy Lake, please visit BC Parks online.

On September 11th I’ll be participating in the BC-SPCA’s Paws For A Cause fundraiser – for the fourth time! Please considering donating to this extremely worthwhile cause and offering support to Jordy and I! Click here to read more.

4 Comments on “Island Profile: Kennedy Lake

  1. I grew up in Ucluelet and spent many hours and days, Summer and Winter, exploring this great lake. Fabulous little islets, incredible hidden beaches and so much else to do. Great fishing at most stream mouths. Lake can become very rough during summer afternoons so it is best to do your long crossings early. As an interesting sidenote, Sir Arthur Kennedy was the 3rd and final governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island.

  2. Hey all, I am looking for a nice gem of a private “bush” style campout close to the surf (Cox Bay or Chesterman Beach) and not from these parts I have no idea. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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