Posted on September 7, 2011
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.
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.
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.
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.
Photo: Scott Hadfield on Flickr
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.
Photo: Matthew Parkes on Flickr
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.
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.