Category   Ruckle Provincial Park, Saltspring Island, Gulf Islands, BC
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Coves and pebbled beaches in Ruckle Park
Ruckle Provincial Park on Saltspring Island is one of the most beautiful parks in the Southern Gulf Islands, and incorporates the largest provincial campground in the Gulf Islands.

Ruckle Park features beautiful ocean views from the day-use area and along the trails, as well as scenic pastoral views of the neighbouring farm. In addition to its natural beauty, Ruckle Park is an area rich in cultural history.

Henry Ruckle emigrated from Ireland to Ontario, then California, before finally homesteading on Saltspring Island in 1872, marrying Ella Anna Christensen in 1877. Their descendants have farmed the Saltspring property for more than a century and, although they donated most of their property to the province for a park in 1974, the Ruckle family still raises sheep on private land near the entrance to the campground.

Pastoral scenery of Ruckle Park on Saltspring

Continuous use of this land for farming purposes from the 1890s until today makes the Ruckle Farm the oldest continually operating farm in British Columbia. The heritage farm features a number of old farm buildings, including a barn, a forge, the old pig sty, and the original homestead residence. The big orchard barn has open access, with the schedule posted at the site. Other buildings are available for viewing from the outside only – visitors are not permitted inside.

The old homestead was built by Henry Ruckle prior to bringing his bride and her son Alfred to the farm in 1877. Their three children, Ella, Agnes, and Daniel Henry, were all born there. In 1931, Gordon Ruckle, grandson of Henry and Ella, inherited the house and lived in it with his wife, Lotus, and their children, Gwen and Henry. In 1967, shortly after electricity was installed, they moved to the Queen Anne house near the ark entrance.

Old Ruckle Homestead
With its seven kilometres of shoreline, rocky headlands and tiny coves and bays, 486-hectare Ruckle Park provides hours or even days of enjoyable exploration. A mixture of forest, field and shore habitats makes it one of the most productive wildlife viewing areas on Saltspring Island. On shore, birdwatchers can often catch sight of cormorants, grebes, guillemots, eagles, owls, grouse or quail. Deer are frequently sighted, particulary at dawn and dusk.

Watch for sea lions and killer whales out in the sea, and mink and river otter cavorting along the shoreline. Tidal pools are filled with a brightly-coloured world of crab, mussel, limpet, oyster, sculpin, and starfish, and strong tidal currents create the environment for rich kelp forests offshore. Kelp forests are important feeding areas for fish and attract many birds and mammals.

Scuba divers frequent the waters off Ruckle Park, drifting among the castle-like caves or floating above the bountiful ocean floor, where they will find a profusion of Plumose anemones, sponges, nudibranches, octopi, seastars and giant barnacles. Beaver Point, with a rich subtidal fauna, is popular for scuba shore dives. Low tides also reveal a tremendous amount of intertidal life.

The old barn at the Heritage Ruckle Farm

Beaver Point used to be the island's oldest link with the outside world. Beaver Point Wharf was built by Henry Ruckle so that Beaver Point pioneers could have easier contact with Vancouver Island. Before the steamer service began in 1889, Saltspring Islanders had to row to Vancouver Island for supplies. By 1900, there were six sailings per week, including two mail deliveries. The government purchased Mr. Ruckle's wharf in 1904 for $400, rebuilt it in 1910, and then again in 1925.

The wharf housed a general store, post office, and the residence of Mr. and Mrs. William Patterson from 1915 until the 1950s. When the ferry service moved from Beaver Point to Fulford Harbour, the Patterson business moved with it, and the wharf and building were dismantled in 1960.

An extensive trail system exists at Ruckle Park, with more than 15 kilometres of hiking and walking trails. A shoreline trail runs from the heritage farm area right through to Yeo Point, along with other inland trail routes that range from easy walks to more difficult hikes. Detailed park trail maps are located at information shelters and convenient points along the trails.

Walk-in Campsites at Ruckle Provincial Park
There are 78 walk-in seaside campsites. Campers can pitch their tent in the grassy meadow overlooking Swanson Channel, then lie back and relax, watching pleasure boats and ferries sail by in a stately and colourful parade. The park features an interesting blend of easily reached sites in a wooded setting, with North Pender Island on the far shore. The walk-in campsites are accessible over level ground from the parking lot. The distance varies based on the site selected, ranging from 3 minutes to double for the farthest sites.

Campers at Ruckle Park watch a passing BC Ferry
There are 8 vehicle accessible sites. The RV sites are nestled amongst trees and are comparable with those provided in all BC provincial parks, but they don't provide the open-air ambience, fresh breezes, and fabulous views available to the tents pitched along the rocky shoreline. All the basic amenities are provided, some with wheelchair access. There are 6 pressurized drinking water stations throughout the campground and day-use areas. Note that the water system is shut down during the winter season.

Fees for full services are charged from March to October. A park host is available from June to mid September. Reservations are not accepted for individual campsites at Ruckle; all campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Simply select a vacant spot, set up camp, and wait for the park operator to drop by in the late afternoon to collect the camping fee. Winter Camping at the 8 vehicle accessible campsites is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The old barn still supports life

The park has a day-use picnic area. Continue straight on the main park road past the campground turnoff to the day-use parking lot.

Rum runners were known to frequent the area in and around the park in the nineteen twenties to hide their contraband as they tried to smuggle it across the US border into the San Juan Islands.

Ruckle Provincial Park is located on Saltspring Island in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, 6miles (10 km) west of Fulford Harbour at the end of Beaver Point Road. Back packers and outdoor enthusiasts who arrive on the island normally hike or cycle the route from the ferry terminal to the park.

BC Ferries run several services throughout the year to Saltspring Island from Vancouver (Tsawwassen), Victoria (Swartz Bay) and Crofton on Vancouver Island.

Nearby Regions & Towns
Saltspring Island
Southern Gulf Islands
Gulf Islands
Nearby Services
  Cedar Beach Resort, Salt Spring Island Listing Details 
Cedar Beach Resort is located on beautiful St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island. Our 5 acre resort ofers 17 cabins and suites as well as 23 fully-serviced RV/camping sites. We have our own private, sandy beach right on the lake. Our heated, outdoor swimming pool (open mid-May to mid-September) and hot tub offer fabulous lake views. All cabins and suites are fully furnished with cooking facilities, and the adjoining Beach House offers indoor and outdoor recreation space. An exceptional venue for family reunions, gatherings, and small group weddings.
  Cusheon Lake Resort, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
A unique lakeside accommodation of 16 one and two bedroom cabins. Situated on the second largest lake on Salt Spring Island, and just a short distance to the main village of Ganges, each cabin is a private retreat with a lake view, large deck, wood-burning fireplace, a fully-equipped kitchen, television and wireless internet. The resort is surrounded by the lake on three sides, and maintains two docks, a swimming beach with a raft and a boat launch for lake access. Guests enjoy year-round fishing, the use of canoes, rowboats and the outdoor hot tub. Cusheon Lake Resort is a destination – for couples and small families, or for group retreats, family gatherings and weddings.
  Duck Creek Farm, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
Duck Creek Farm is a unique camping experience on a 13-acre organic farm in the heart of beautiful Salt Spring Island. We have vegetable gardens, fruit trees, greenhouses, sheep, a pond for swimming, and five acres of forested land. Duck Creek Farm is a Conservation Partner with The Land Conservancy. The farm offers a relaxing pastoral retreat with nature. We have bicycle campsites (no cars) in the grassy open on the edge of the woods or in the forest; a private farm-stay caravan for two or a furnished 20’ teepee in the woods. We are moments from all attractions, minutes from the Crofton/Vesuvius ferry, a short walk to St. Mary Lake and a few kilometers from the centre of Ganges, the main shopping area.
  Falconshead Grill & Sports Lounge, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
The fully licensed Falconshead Grill & Lounge at the Salt Spring Island Golf & Country Club is your home to great food and great service. Open for lunch, dinner and drinks, seven days a week and twelve months a year. We can accommodate groups from 2 to 200, both inside and outside on our panoramic deck. Enjoy sports action on our 72” big-screen television.
  Harbour House Hotel, Restaurant & Organic Farm, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
Visit our eco-friendly hotel overlooking scenic Ganges Harbour. Take a self-guided tour of our on-site 2.5-acre organic farm, which provides our restaurant and catering services with over 70 varieties of produce as well as our own honey, maple syrup, eggs and lamb. We provide a yoga studio, pet-friendly rooms, in-room spa treatments, live weekend music, free parking and Wi-Fi all within walking distance of Ganges Village. Check our site for our latest packages and special discounts.
  Hastings House Country House Hotel, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
Hastings House Country House Hotel is a small luxury country resort, spa and restaurant on 22 acres on the waterfront of Ganges Harbour, Salt Spring Island. Enjoy luxury lodging, fine dining, wellness and relaxation in a casually-elegant atmosphere. Whether your accommodations are in the stately Tudor-style Manor House, the restored historic Post Cottage, or any one of 18 distinct suites, you’ll be captivated by the ambiance of this pastoral estate.
  Maple Ridge Cottages, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
Salt Spring Island's smallest and most accommodating resort offers four lakeside cottages on the west side of St. Mary Lake, surrounded by watershed and protected land. Great hiking and birdwatching, and superb trout and bass fishing. Complimentary rowboats, canoes and kayak. Beautifully landscaped garden ensures privacy for each cottage. Only three miles from Ganges. Open Year Round.
  Mowhinna Creek Campground, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
Mowhinna Creek Campground is located in the heart of Saltspring Island, 1 km south of Ganges. Convenient central location from which to explore the island. Accessible by local bus. Nestled in the woods, the easy-access RV sites have full hookups. Tent sites vary in amount of shading. Pets welcome. Camp hosts on site. Reservations recommended.
  Quarrystone House, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
Quarrystone House is located on five country acres on the crest of a ridge on the north end of enchanting Salt Spring Island. Four beautifully decorated spacious suites are separate from the main house, with complete privacy and tranquility, private fireplace and jacuzzi tub, and expansive ocean views from your secluded balcony. Romantic and tranquil setting perfect for weddings, honeymoons, vacations and weekend get-aways.
  Salt Spring Inn, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
Salt Spring Inn offers seven tastefully appointed guest rooms: three deluxe rooms with Queen beds, fireplaces, sea views, and their own private bathrooms, and four guest rooms with Queen beds and access to shared facilities. Internet services available to all guests. Come and enjoy oceanfront dining at one of Salt Spring's finest restaurants. Located in the heart of Ganges, across from the Visitor Centre.
  Salt Spring Island Golf & Country Club, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
Located in the heart of beautiful Salt Spring Island, and just minutes from the downtown core, the Salt Spring Island Golf and Country Club is truly a memorable experience. Established in 1928, and since remodelled and improved, this nine-hole, par-36 course is open year round to members and the general public and operates on a first-come-first-served basis. Includes a 250-yard driving range and practice putting green. Twilight rates available. Treat yourself to an island getaway!
  Salt Springs Spa Resort, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
This highly acclaimed seaside spa resort features ocean and forest view chalets, each with their own wood burning fireplace, kitchen and 2 person mineral water jet bath. Canada's most complete organic health spa offers a full range of traditional Ayurvedic and Modern holistic body, beauty and fitness therapies including customized herbal, diet, weight loss, yoga and cleansing programs and retreats.
  The Beach House, Saltspring Island Listing Details 
Luxury waterfront makes it a prime location in the pristine Southern Gulf Islands. A popular destination for worldwide travellers. One of the finest, this Salt Spring Bed and Breakfast has been offering guests luxury accommodation in a casually elegant atmosphere for 18 years ... a perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy the sights and sounds of the sea (from our outdoor oceanside hot tub.) Located on the shore of Fulford Harbour, our peaceful, rural setting welcomes you. Eleven steps to our shell-laden beach puts beachcombing, crabbing, kayaking and seasonal swimming at your front door.
Park Notices
Park User Fees (Parking Fees and Camping Fees)
Current Updates and Notices for this Park
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