John Hart Lake is a man-made lake just northwest of Campbell River. BC Hydro has a dam built there to supply water for electrical power creation. The john hart dam was completed in 1947. The dam and most of the lake is in the elk falls park boundaries and the lake itself is protected as it is the water supply for the City of Campbell River. The john hart dam, along with the ladore dam on lower campbell lake and the Strathcona dam on upper campbell Lake further upstream make up the campbell river hydro-electric system. All three lakes are man-made.
The water from john hart lake flows through the elk falls canyon, there are numerous hiking trails in the area and more are added all the time. The canyon view trail at elk falls was built in 1991. The trail was named for the breathtaking views of the canyon. The trail is very popular. The canyon view trail is a scenic 6-kilometer hike along the campbell river that takes you through some incredible forest settings with wonderful views of the river and a great opportunity to view wildlife, bring your camera. The route makes a good family outing and takes about one and a half hours to complete.
Recreational opportunities along the campbell and quinsam rivers downstream from the john hart dam include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing and watching the wild salmon runs in the fall. The elk falls campground on the quinsam river is a great place to get out camping and yet only minutes from town.
There is a new suspension bridge over the falls that just opened to the public, it is the highest one in Canada, very impressive. Walking over the river from this height can be very daunting for some but also a means to accomplish something you thought you might ever do. I have seen many people who were quite terrified by the whole procedure and yet, make it across, when they come back, you can see the wonder in their eyes. Who knows, this might just get them out trying harder to be brave.