Stop at Sproat Lake Provincial Park and discover ancient rock carvings. Created by First Nations people, these panels of prehistoric petroglyphs are some of the best found in British Columbia.

Prehistoric petroglyphs

This archaeological site called K’ak’awin offers nine ancient carvings available for viewing. The natural erosion over the years has taken its toll on the panels of prehistoric drawings, causing them to deteriorate and fade. The photo below, from the 1970s, clearly shows the difference caused over time by water runoff, water level changes, thawing and freezing.

The etchings look like they represent creatures from the lake; real or mythical. To reach the petroglyphs, take the pathway leading to the left of the main day use picnic and beach area of Sproat Lake. It is a short walk through the forest and along the shoreline to the viewing platform.

Top things to do on Vancouver Island, discover prehistoric petroglyphs at Sproat Lake Provincial Park. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Top things to do on Vancouver Island, discover prehistoric petroglyphs at Sproat Lake Provincial Park. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Walk along the trail to view the ancient petroglyphs on Sproat Lake. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Walk along the trail to view the ancient petroglyphs on Sproat Lake. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Walk along the trail to view the ancient petroglyphs on Sproat Lake. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Walk along the trail to view the ancient petroglyphs on Sproat Lake. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Walk along the trail to view the ancient petroglyphs on Sproat Lake Provincial Park. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Walk along the trail to view the ancient petroglyphs on Sproat Lake Provincial Park. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Walk along the trail to view the ancient petroglyphs on Sproat Lake Provincial Park. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Walk along the trail to view the ancient petroglyphs on Sproat Lake Provincial Park. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Historic Martin Mars Waterbombers

If you are lucky you will see one of the last remaining famous Martin Mars waterbombers. These aircraft were originally built for use during the Second World War. After the war, the vintage planes were put into use to help fight forest fires by dropping water or fire retardant. The Hawaii Mars is sitting in drydock at the lake, as shown in the picture below. Traditionally in years gone by, two of the these huge historic planes would have been seen sitting in the middle of the lake waiting to be called into action.

The last of the remaining famous Martin Mars waterbombers,( seen in the distance) the Hawaii Mars is sitting in drydock at Sproat Lake. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

The last of the remaining famous Martin Mars waterbombers,( seen in the distance) the Hawaii Mars is sitting in drydock at Sproat Lake. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Sproat Lake outdoor activities

Sproat Lake Provincial Park offers a warm fresh water lake for swimming in the summer months. It is a popular spot to picnic, windsurf, waterski, fish, canoe or kayak. Find out more about the park.

There are two campsite areas in the park. Be sure to make a reservation to avoid disappointment. Download a park map.

Fresh water swimming at Sproat Lake Provincial Park. A great family-friendly area to explore. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Fresh water swimming at Sproat Lake Provincial Park. A great family-friendly area to explore. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Getting to Sproat Lake Provincial Park

Sproat Lake Provincial Park is located on Vancouver Island, off Highway #4, 13 km north of Port Alberni on the road to Pacific Rim National Park.

Explore the top 10 things to do in Victoria

If you are planning a visit to Vancouver Island be sure to check out our guide to the top 10 things to do in Victoria, BC.

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