Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Swimming and tubing in Courtenay’s Puntledge River – Part 2.

by Keith and Heather Nicol
     The summer of 2015 is proving to be hot and dry on Vancouver Island and keeping cool is the name of the game. Courtenay’s Puntledge River certainly has lots of appeal since it flows from clean  Comox Lake and there are several places to swim in the river as well as sections that are perfect for tubing. Tubing seems to be an institution in Courtenay and a previous post:  describes a couple of places to swim and tube. Since then we have tubed  from the fish hatchery on Powerhouse Road to Lewis Park and have discovered Nymph Falls which is amazing for swimming. The section from Powerhouse Road to Puntledge Park is abit faster and rockier than the lower section from Puntledge Park to either the Condensory Bridge or Lewis Park. First timers or those with younger children may want to do just the lower section from Puntledge Park and we suggest the pull out at Condensory Bridge since the last part is very slow, especially if there is a high tide. For the upper section on Powerhouse Road drive to the fish hatchery gate and park your car along the road. Walk around the gate and down the road and part way down you will see a sign pointing to “Tubers Trail” and take that to the put in. This trail is abit steep in places and there is a rope to help you down the last section.  We have used a kayak paddle to help steer and manoeuvre but most people don’t use one and we also use kayak booties since you may need to push off a rock or get out of your tube and this footware makes it easier to walk on the rocky river bed. Also remember “bums up” in the rapids since the river is low at this time.  

Kristie riding the waves 
     Nymph Falls Nature Park is a gem of spot for walking, biking and especially swimming this summer. It is located just out of Courtenay on the Forbidden Plateau Road and a short 500 meter trail takes you from the parking  lot to scenic Nymph Falls. Here there are exposed flattish rocks which are popular places to layout a towel and lots of pools to swim in. We took our daughter Kristie who was there on a recent visit in early July and it is a great spot to bring a lunch or a book and relax by the sound of rapidly flowing water.
Heather swimming in one of the pools at Nymph Falls
Kristie and Heather under a small water fall at Nymph Falls

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