Monday, 23 March 2015

Waterfalls galore in Vancouver Island Provincial Parks

by Keith and Heather Nicol
The Little Qualicum River has cut a scenic canyon
    With all of the rain that fell on Eastern Vancouver Island on Friday, March 20 we decided to check out the waterfalls at two provincial parks near Parksville on Sunday, March 22.  First of all we stopped in at the B.C. Visitor Information Centre on the outskirts of Courtenay to see if they had any information on parks on Vancouver Island and the helpful attendant gave us a free copy of the Vancouver Island Park’s Guide. It has lots of information and small inset maps of many provincial parks which turned out to be perfect for our purposes. First up was Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park and we parked at a small parking lot at coordinates 10 U 0387129 E and 5463551 N (this parking lot is also marked on the small inset map). We walked around a 2 km loop that featured a couple of bridges and several roaring  waterfalls of varying sizes. We loved all the shades of green in the vegetation and the gorge cut by the river is very impressive. The trail is suited to a wide variety of hikers and we saw several families with young children in tow.
The Upper Falls is very impressive
  Next up was Englishman River Falls Provincial Park which is located about 30 minutes away near Errington, B.C. We parked in the main parking lot (coordinates 10 U 0403651 E 5459385 N) where there are a variety of picnic tables and shelter. They also have a looped trail that is about 1.6 km long and two scenic waterfalls.  Again the trail is suited to a wide range of walkers. The upper falls has cut an interesting knife like gash in the rock and below the second bridge there is a side trail to be a deep pool that would be nice to dip into in the summer on a hot day.
The Englishman River has cut a deep cleft in the rock
  To complete our water fall tour we decided to try to find Triple Falls which we were told about by the Visitor Centre attendant in Courtenay. He graciously printed out some directions for us and we successfully navigated to coordinates 10 U 0403651 E 5459385 N at the end of Sierra Road near Errington. There we took the small trail that leads from the cul de sac and then took the right fork for about 300 meters to a set of three small falls. They are not as impressive as the falls in the provincial parks we had just seen but they are still worth a visit. For more information on the provincial parks that we have discussed above see:

The first of the falls at Triple Falls

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