Explore Nature’s Beauty: Best Hikes in Qualicum and Parksville, Vancouver Island

There are some truly breathtaking hikes in Qualicum, as well as hikes in Parksville nearby on the East coast of Vancouver Island. My guy and I had an incredible time spending 3 weeks in Qualicum Beach with our gracious hosts. During that time we were able to go in a hike almost every day and explore the area. With little family dachshund in toe, we found some of the best walks and activities that the island has to offer. Alltrails offers some great information and reviews about some of these trails

If you love fun, outdoorsy, and cheap activities, check out my other post about visiting Vancouver Island:

1. Hikes in Qualicum: Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park is a 2.9k trail located near Qualicum Beach. This trail actually features several waterfalls cascading through the lush mossy forest path. There are some steps and stairs along the look, but they are well-maintained and the walk is great for all skill levels.

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park was established in 1940 to protect the old growth forest. The entire park has about 6 kilometres of hiking trails if you want to explore more than the most popular 2.9km loop.

The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Camping at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park

Along the walking trail on this hike there is a really beautiful campsite nestled in the forest beside the river. Sites include a picnic table and fire ring.

2. Heritage Forest

One of the most accessible hikes in Qualicum is Heritage woods. This walk is a tree-sheltered maze of paths running through a dense patch of forest right in Qualicum, with marked sitka trees and a very interesting display of a 200+ year old fallen tree and its rings. It also takes you through a spooky old cemetery in one of the forest clearings.

3. French Creek Marina

This is spot is less of a hike and more of a little sight-seeing walk, but it’s well worth it! This marina is often bustling with ocean life – especially if you visit in march during the herring run.

Parking: There are 3 free visitor parking stalls in the lot, or you can park for free along the side of the road before the parking lot. From there walk northerly toward the breakwater.

Along the breakwater there is a path that you can follow out toward the entrance to the harbour. This path is about a 15 minute walk, 30 minutes round trip.

Here you can see Stellar sea lions (the world’s largest species of sea lion!), california sea lions, harbour seals, bald eagles, sea birds, and maybe even a whale or porpoise in the bay if you’re very lucky.

We often see people fishing off this breakwater, but we haven’t tried this ourselves.

4. Top Bridge Regional Park

Top Bridge Regional Park is located in Parksville, BC. This site is a local’s favourite swimming hole, with crystal clear pools and cliff jumping in the summertime.

Named after the pedestrian-cyclist suspension bridge spanning the English River, this park has a 5km walking path carved along the side of the river, through the old-growth forest and stands of birch trees. Top Bridge also has First Nation petroglyphs carved into the rock.

Directions: From Alberni Highway (Hwy 4) off of 19A and take the first left after going under the overpass. Take the first left again on to Allsbrook Road and follow it down to its end. The gated road (open during the day) will take you to a parking lot.

5. Rosewall Creek Provincial Park

The Rosewall Creek hike takes a little over 2 hours there and back, and is a relatively easy hike. In the spring you do have to traverse across a shallow river, so be ready to get your feet wet! The hike takes you along the densely wooded mountainside and along the side of beautiful Rosewall Creek, until you come to the turquoise waters of the little waterfall and pool at the end. You can swim here if the water isn’t too high. Keep your eyes peeled for interesting colorful mushrooms to admire along the walk, especially in the fall!


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