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Photographing Battleship Lake Loop: Strathcona Park

Battleship Lake is a beautiful alpine lake in Strathcona Park. Spectacular views of the area draw hikers, backpackers, and photographers to the lake. Did you know the lake is stocked rainbow trout? The lake is also a great spot for bird watching, as Whisky Jacks, or Gray Jays, are in abundance and always on the lookout for food. You can get to the lake from Paradise Meadows Trailhead near Mount Washington ski area using a moderate loop trail. This trail also leads to other lakes, including Lake Helen McKenzie, Kwai Lake, and Circlet Lake.
Battleship Lake’s stunning scenery and diverse fauna, including the Whisky Jacks, make it a favourite spot for photography enthusiasts. The morning mist gives the lake an extra layer of beauty and mystique, making it a great spot to capture stunning photos.

Table of Contents

How do I find the trailhead for the hike?

To get to the Trailhead for photographing Battleship Lake, follow these steps:

  1. Head south along the Inland Island Highway (BC-19 S).
  2. Turn west onto the Strathcona Parkway and follow signs for Mt Washington Resort.
  3. Drive 19.0 km, as the road gains approximately 1,000 m of elevation.
  4. When you arrive at the junction beside the ski resort, hang a left towards the Raven Lodge.
  5. Park near the Raven Lodge and visit the Strathcona Wilderness Institute.
  6. Follow the Helen MacKenzie/Battleship Lake Loop Trail, which is a 2.5-hour, 8.5 km roundtrip hike.
  7. Enjoy the view and take some memorable photographs.

Map to battleship lake loop

How to get to Battleship Lake loop?

Battleship Lake is in Strathcona Park, British Columbia, next to the Mount Washington ski area.

To reach the lake, park at Raven Lodge and take the Centennial loop trail via Paradise Meadows Trailhead.

The trail will separate into two different boardwalks. Going left or right will lead you to the Battleship lake. Follow the Centennial Loop till you come to Crooked Creek Boardwalk. You stay on this boardwalk till you come to the Lake trail (end of boardwalk), which will lead you to Battleship Lake.

What to consider when hiking to Battleship Lake Loop.

1. Length of trail

The trail to Battleship Lake is 7.6klm (in & out) and takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete.

2. What type of trail is the hike?

Battleship Lake offers a short but pleasant 1.6 km loop trail with an elevation gain of 80 m. The trail passes through a plateau, mixture of sub-alpine meadows carpeted with pretty flowers and forests of yellow cedar, amabilis fir and mountain hemlock. The trail is suitable for hiking or walking and is also wheelchair-and stroller-friendly, with grades averaging around 5%. Dogs are allowed; however, be aware park management is considering banning them from this area due to trail misuse.

3. Difficulty of trail

The trail to Battleship Lake is considered to be an easy walk, suitable for beginners, families, young children, and special wheelchairs are available. The elevation gain is relatively low at 70 m, and the route follows a well-maintained boardwalk and gravel trail, with few steeper sections.

4. Scenery

Wander through Battleship Lake and take in the picturesque views, perfect for capturing stunning photos of nature. The trail goes through meadows filled with wildflowers and forests of cedar, fir, and hemlock. This makes it a great place to take great photos of the surrounding nature. The lookout at the end of the lake offers beautiful views of the surrounding valleys, perfect for capturing panoramas.

6. Time of year

My preferred season for photographing Battleship Lake is Sept. and Oct. During this time, the lake is surrounded by beautiful, green woodlands and mist may be observed. Battleship Lake may be reached in the winter with cross-country skis and snowshoes.

7. Wildlife

I can almost guarantee when photographing Battleship Lake Loop, you will come across Steller’s Jay (Whiskey Jacks). Be sure to bring treats for them. Also on the drive up to the lake, you may encounter the endangered Vancouver Island Marmot.

The Silent Dock Haunting Solitude on Battleship Lake Loop

Photographic opportunities

As a photographer, you are going to love the beautiful natural scenery at Battleship Lake Loop. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, this location in Strathcona Park offers ample opportunity to capture breathtaking shots.

  • Wildflowers in late summer
  • Stunning lake reflections and calm waters
  • Scenic views and easy access
  • Interesting formations in rocks around the lake
  • Stars at night
  • And an amazing dock

No matter what type of photography you are interested in, Battleship Lake and Lake Helen Mackenzie offer an abundance of photographic opportunities. With its natural beauty and easy access, this is a great place to explore with your camera in tow.

Best time of day and year to photograph Battleship Lake

For me, the best time will always be mornings or evenings. Mother nature didn’t give us a sunrise; it’s a good time to photograph the mist on the lake. In the early evening, the reflection from the water will mesmerize you as you wait for the stars to appear.

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I prefer late summer or early fall. Especially after the first frost, when the flora changes from green to fire engine red.

The 7-step guide to photographing Battleship Lake

Step 1: Focus on composition before capturing the moment

By focusing on composition, we capture the beauty and emotion of a moment at Battleship Lake Loop. A thoughtfully taken picture can capture the feeling of solitude that a remote location brings. By considering how elements in the frame complement one another, we create a powerful story.

Look for a foreground subject, leading lines, and try to evoke a sense of adventure and exploration unique to Battleship Lake. With careful attention to perspective and point of view, you can create unique images that capture the moment and tell a story.

Step 2: Try stars at night

  • To capture a stunning photo of stars at night at Battleship Lake, you will need to plan ahead. Make sure you’re there before the actual night arrives.
  • Find the ideal spot for star gazing. Look for an area that’s away from urban light pollution and has an unobstructed view of the night sky.
  • Bring a tripod and a camera with a wide-angle lens. Set the camera on the tripod and take a few test shots to make sure the settings are correct.
  • Start shooting. Experiment with different exposures and angles. Make sure to turn off any flash or autofocus functions.
  • Wait for the perfect moment. When the sky is dark and the stars are at their brightest, take your shot. This could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
  • Review your photos and adjust as needed.
  • A word of caution: there is sometimes light pollution from the Comox Valley.

Step 3: Get there in late fall and photograph the dock

I’m head over heels for the dock at Battleship Lake! However, I believe the dock is only in the water during the summer and fall when the lake is not frozen. During the winter and spring months, the dock is removed to prevent damage from ice and snow.

Step 4: Try Steel Wool Photography from the Dock

Steel wool photography from the dock at Battleship Lake is a great way to capture stunning and unques photos. Check out my step-by-step guide on having fun with steel wool.

Have fun and happy shooting!

Steel Wool photography at Battleship Lake loop

Frequently Asked Questions

The Lake Helen Mackenzie Loop Trail is 8.6 km in length and takes between 1.5 to 3.5 hours to complete depending on the experience level of the hiker. The elevation gain is 150m.

The elevation gain of the Loop Trail is 607 ft..

Yes, there is a campground at Battleship Lake. Tenting sites are available at Helen Mackenzie, with backcountry camping fees applying.

Yes, there are facilities at Battleship Lake. Restrooms are accessible at both lakes, Helen Mackenzie and Battleship Lake. Additionally, there are tenting sites available at Helen Mackenzie and backcountry camping fees apply.

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