There is nothing I love more than heading out to explore the great outdoors. With my husband and dog as my primary adventure companions, I enjoy spending all the free time I have embarking on hikes—and it just so happens that we live in a hiking paradise.

The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island is surrounded with hikes ranging in difficulty from casual Sunday strolls to technical multi-day adventures, so whatever your time or ability permits, you’ll find a hike to enjoy. Here’s a list of just 10 of the many beautiful trails you’ll find within easy access of the Comox Valley:

 

The Cumberland Trail Network

Cumberland Community ForestDanielle Steiner

Length: Nearly 200 trails

Elevation Gain: Varies

The vast network of multi-use trails winding its way through the Cumberland Community Forest is perfect for day hikers who want to experience hiking along typical Vancouver Island trails. From hiking to trail running to mountain biking, the popular outdoor destination has dozens of trails leading you up into the forest, offering beautiful views, a variety of trail types—and likely many friendly faces along the way.

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Northeast Woods

Northeast WoodsDanielle Steiner

Length: Varies

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Convenience is the name of the game for hiking in the Northeast Woods. Located right in Comox, it takes just a few steps into the woods to forget that the city is mere moments away. With 467 acres of forest, meadows, wetlands and wildlife, it’s a great place to let your dog expel some energy off-leash and hike for as short or as long as your time permits.

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Wildwood Interpretive Forest

Wildwood Interpretive ForestDanielle Steiner

Length: Varies
Elevation Gain: Minimal

A 10-minute drive out of downtown Courtenay brings you to Wildwood Interpretive Forest, which offers 682 acres of forested trails. There are several trailheads from which to begin, providing the opportunity to go for a quick little jaunt or an afternoon of discovery. There’s always a chance of encountering a bear or other animal along your way. The paths vary from old rail grades to logging roads to dirt paths.

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Trent River Trail

Trent RiverDanielle SteinerLength: 14.8 km
Elevation Gain: 282 m

This trail is easily accessible and relatively flat. The Trent River can be glimpsed in the ravine below, and you’re likely to meet other hikers, bikers and horseback riders along the way. To see the Trent River waterfall up close and personal, you do have to do some acrobatics with ropes up steep (and often slippery) tall banks, but otherwise the hike is easy and straightforward.

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Central Park, Denman Island

Length: Varies
Elevation Gain: Varies

Denman Island is just a short 10-minute ferry ride from the terminal just south of the Comox Valley, making it a great option for a day’s adventure. Once there, you’ll find Central Park, which offers 147 acres of easy, scenic trails that includes two wetlands and beautiful scenery year-round. The paths are narrow at points and susceptible to mud during the rainy season (as most Island hikes are), so wear appropriate footwear.

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Cliff Trail, Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park on Hornby Island

Length: 6 km out-and-back
Elevation Gain: 273 m

If you’re already hopping on a ferry to Denman Island, why not take a quick 10-minute trip from there to Hornby Island? Once there, you’ll find a network of paths around Mount Geoffrey, including Cliff Trail. This trail offers stunning vista views over the ocean on one side with luscious rain forest on the other.

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Circlet Lake

Circlet LakeDanielle Steiner

Length: 21.7 km loop
Elevation Gain: 838 m

Up Mount Washington you’ll find a variety of hikes, but a great overnight hike (or long day hike) is the traverse to Circlet Lake. It follows the popular Paradise Meadows path before veering off to more technical terrain. The beautiful trail offers meadow, forest and mountain views before ducking off to Circlet Lake, where you’ll find dozens of tent pads with magical views over the lake. Many people choose to use this location as their base camp and take day packs from there to summit Mount Albert Edward.

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Augerpoint Traverse

Augerpoint TraverseDanielle Steiner

Length: 30.3 km point-to-point
Elevation Gain: 1,824 metres

While many people hike to Circlet Lake in a day as mentioned above, there’s also the option to complete the Augerpoint Traverse, which turns into a challenging and technical hike requiring some route finding and scrambling—but the views are unparalleled and the magic surrounding Ruth Masters Lake is well worth the work. Most hikers take two to three nights to complete the hike from Mount Washington’s parking lot to Buttle Lake. (Note: The Buttle Lake parking lot is an additional kilometer down the road from where the hike ends on the highway.)

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Plateau Trail

Plateau TrailDanielle Steiner

Length: 24.5 km point-to-point
Elevation Gain: 802 metres

This is a great full-day hike if you’re up for a bit of an adventure. The path is not consistently maintained so you may need to climb over falling trees or around broken boardwalks, but it’s a lovely option for when you want to truly get into the backcountry and see very few, if any, other people on the path. Little-to-no cell service is available, so bring maps and give yourself lots of time to complete this challenging but rewarding hike.

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Sunshine Coast Trail, Powell River

Sunshine Coast Trail, Powell RiverDanielle Steiner

Length: 180 km point-to-point
Elevation Gain: 6,000 metres

Right from Comox, you can enjoy a short ferry ride to Powell River to begin your Sunshine Coast Trail experience. Choose to do part of the trail as an out-and-back day hike or fill your backpack with enough supplies to last for the full multi-day adventure. It is Canada’s longest hut-to-hut hiking trail, with 14 huts as well as many camping spots available.

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More Adventures in Beautiful British Columbia: