If hiking through old-growth forests with 800 year old trees and cascading waterfalls peaks your interest, try these scenic hiking trails in Parksville, BC.
Hikers will find it difficult to run out of hiking trails in Parksville due to the area’s vast parkland terrain through old growth forests. Many of Parksville’s trails are located within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with plenty of great parkland and protected areas to explore on foot. With many of forests containing 800 year old trees and cascading waterfalls, Parksville sets an ideal landscape for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
If you’re looking to explore the area surrounded by nature, these are the best hiking trails Parksville has to offer:
LEVEL: EASY NATURE WALK
Macmillan Provincial Park is located on the shore of Cameron Lake and has a beautiful network of walking trails that lead you through ancient Douglas fir trees, some of which are more than 800 years old.
Cathedral Grove, a protected 157 hectare stand of ancient Douglas fir trees is located here. One of these ancient trees measures more than 9 metres in circumference, making them an awe-inspiring sight! Straddling Highway 4 on the north side of the road, walk amid ancient Western red cedar, old-growth Bigleaf Maple and Western Hemlock. This is a great shady spot on a hot summer day that reminds us of the strength and beauty of these old growth forests.
MacMillan Park (Cathedral Grove) is located about 30km drive west of Parksville on Hwy 4. Look for large, blue provincial park signs on the highway.
LEVEL: EASY NATURE WALK
The highlights of this enjoyable 3km walk through Englishman River Falls Provincial Park are two breathtaking waterfalls and the rich old-growth forest.
The easy walking trail leads through the lush forest and crosses over two bridges, making for great views of the waterfalls as they plunge into the deep and narrow canyon. The trail then continues through second-growth and old-growth forest of Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock, arbutus and maple before arriving at the the lower falls that finish in a crystal-clear pool. In the summer, this sparkling water hole is perfect for a refreshing swim, and in the fall it is a great place to view spawning salmon.
The short loop to the waterfalls is suitable for a baby stroller with big wheels that’s designed for jogging or rough terrain. Because the trails are easy to walk, this is a perfect activity for the whole family. Local legend says the river got its name from the local First Nations who found the skeleton of a white man on the shores, near the waterfall.
The park was established to protect the old-growth forests and associated plant life, as well as the river and waterfalls for the enjoyment of the local community. There is a picnic shelter and pit toilets located at the day-use area beside the parking lot.
Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is located about 13 km from your Parksville accommodation. Drive towards Coombs and Port Alberni on the Alberni Highway. Look for the big provincial park signs posted on the highway. After driving about 4 km from Parksville, turn left off the highway where the signs indicate and drive about 9 km to the end of the road, which is where you will find the parking lot.
LEVEL: EASY NATURE WALK
Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park is home to some magnificent plummeting waterfalls in the lush forest, framed by rugged mountain peaks.
We love the easy walking through the 6km of trails that offer you awesome views of the waterfalls and Little Qualicum River through old-growth and second-growth forest. For an easy stroll, walk from the day-use area and follow the loop trail to view the lower and upper waterfalls. This is a great spot for young children to walk, run and hike beneath the towering trees. Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park stretches along one side of beautiful Cameron Lake.
Little Qualicum Falls is located 19 km west of Parksville on Highway 4. Look for large, blue provincial park signs on the highway.
There is yet another way to explore Parksville beauty and dense forests, but this time on two wheels! Top Bridge Mountain Bike Park is only minutes from downtown Parksville and is regarded as one of the best mountain biking facilities in British Columbia.
These well-developed trails are moderately difficult and suitable for most levels of mountain bike riders. This trail system is small and can be covered in about one hour, however you can also have fun riding here for several hours. For a more challenging ride, the Abyss in Nanaimo’s Extension Ridge area is popular with local mountain bikers.
Find the Top Bridge Trail at Rathtrevor Beach and follow this 5km path to the bike park.
We have a lovely variety of Parksville accommodations that are beachfront or tucked away in the pristine seaside forest. Call our highly knowledgeable Destination Experts who can answer any questions you may have about hiking in Parksville, or our accommodations. They’re available 7 days a week!