John Hart

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BC Hydro's John Hart Generating Station is on the Campbell River, just a few minutes from the town of Campbell River. The river is a great place for such activities as camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, fishing, kayaking, tubing, sight-seeing and nature appreciation.

For details about the area, follow the links below:

Access and directions

Need directions? View a map of BC Hydro recreation areas, including specific directions to the John Hart Generating Station, just a few minutes away from the town of Campbell River.

Find out about recreation area closures and restrictions.

History and hydroelectric operation

The John Hart Project was completed in 1947 by the BC Power Commission, BC Hydro's predecessor. Water is carried by three penstocks to the six unit, 126 MW powerhouse located downstream from Elk Falls.

Three large surge towers are in place to prevent the penstocks from bursting during periods of low production when the flow gates are closed.

John Hart Dam, along with the Strathcona and Ladore dams further upstream make up the Campbell River Hydroelectric system. Today, these three projects produce approximately 11% of Vancouver Island's electrical supply.

The Canyon View Trail was constructed in 1991 through joint efforts of BC Hydro, BC Parks, Fletcher Challenge Canada Ltd., Pacific Coast Energy, the Ministry of Transportation and Highways and the local community. The trail was named for the breathtaking views of the canyon from the gas pipeline bridge. Since its inception, the trail has proven to be a popular recreation experience.

Multiple use

The facilities along the Campbell River system not only generate electricity, but also contribute to the surrounding communities by providing such services as flood control, domestic water supply and recreation.

Recreational opportunities along the Campbell and Quinsam Rivers downstream from the John Hart Dam include camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, fishing, kayaking, tubing, sight-seeing and nature appreciation. Wild fish stocks include chinook, coho, and steelhead to name a few.

On March 7, 2000 the Province of B.C. officially recognized the Campbell River as a BC Heritage River. In recognizing this river, the government has acknowledged its cultural and economic heritage while endorsing the concept of a working river where economic activities are compatible with natural heritage and recreational values.

Canyon View Trail

The Canyon View Trail is a scenic 6 kilometer circular hike through West Coast forest along the Campbell River. The route makes a good family outing and takes about one and a half hours to complete.

BC Hydro's trailhead is located at the John Hart Generating Station off Highway 28.

The west end of the trail crosses the canyon on an 80-foot walkway which camouflages the natural gas pipeline running beneath it.

At the east end of the trail, hikers cross the Campbell River using the logging road bridge (watch out for industrial traffic).

The Quinsam River is crossed using the Highway 28 bridge.

Hikers should use extreme caution when crossing the Quinsam and Campbell River bridges as vehicular traffic may be present.

Visitor information

The trail through BC Hydro property is provided for your use and enjoyment. Please respect the facilities and natural environment by observing the following rules:

  • Please obey all warning signs.
  • Please keep the area clean by depositing all refuse in the containers provided.
  • Overnight camping is prohibited.
  • Open from 8 a.m. to dusk.
  • Open fires are not allowed along the trail.
  • Ensure proper footwear is being worn.
  • Please keep all pets on a leash and under control.
  • Please stay on the trail to minimize your environmental impact.
  • No mountain biking allowed.

WARNING: The John Hart Dam and Powerhouse is an active electric plant. Dam operations cause water levels in the Campbell River to fluctuate frequently which may be hazardous for anyone in the river channel.

Warning sirens will sound whenever there is a danger of water levels rising quickly. Please heed all warning signs, and when warning sirens sound, please leave the river channel immediately.