For some, a hike is only about the mountains, but for others, it’s also about the beaches, the waterfalls and the ability to “bathe” in nature. If that sounds like your cup of tea (or in this case, Nalgene-filled-with-electrolytes), don’t skip out on this often-overlooked area and head down to Parksville to catch some of the most beautiful nature views around.


Englishman River Falls (Main Trail)

Length: 1.3 km

Elevation Gain: Minimal

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls”...I mean do! This trail should be at the top of your list for many reasons. It is well maintained, beginner-friendly and leads to cascading waterfalls that are worth bringing your professional camera with you. Explore the lower and upper falls, and come back in the wintertime when they are lined with snow.

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Englishman River Trailway

Length: 10.5 km

Elevation Gain: 250 m

If the trail to the falls feels just a bit overcrowded, try heading down to the lower part of the river to the Englishman River Trailway and walk along the river’s edge. This trail is perfect for those hot summer days where you need an access point to the river’s edge with plenty of shaded sections. Plan your hike around late May to mid-June to see wild rhododendrons blooming.

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Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park Loop

Length: 5.5 km

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Who doesn’t love a good beach walk? Rathtrevor is wheelchair-accessible. The loop takes you along the sandy beach and through forested trails alongside the campground. Explore the beach's tidal pools at low tide and keep an eye out for wild rabbits and deer throughout the forest. Note that dogs must stay on leash on the trails and are not permitted on the day use beach.

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Parksville Bay Walkway

Length: 3.7 km

Elevation Gain: Minimal

This walkway is accessible for all levels and has views of the ocean all along, with boardwalks, branches and beach access interspersed. Why not start your walk at sunrise to catch that beautiful orange glow on the ocean’s surface?

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Englishman River Estuary

Length: 1.8 km

Elevation Gain: Minimal

If birdwatching is your hobby, a trip to the Estuary is a must. This woodland walk is beautiful any time of year. Pack your binoculars and take your time as you walk through protected forested areas. This trail is very accessible and begins right in town, making it quite easy to get to.     

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Craig Creek Conservation Loop

Length: 4.3 km

Elevation Gain: 112 m

The Craig Creek Conservation Trail really has it all: large growth forest, woodland trees, trickling streams, nature watching, wildflowers, mushroom picking and more. Another popular loop with locals, this well-maintained trail is easy to navigate and has only slight elevation changes. Plan to take your time as you’ll want to reap all the benefits of nature on this trail.

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Notch Hill Loop

Length: 2.9 km

Elevation Gain: 200 m

Nearby Nanoose Bay offers a mountain view for those looking to hike up. Although relatively short, your heart will be pumping as you gain elevation quickly. The top of Notch Hill offers impressive views of Nanoose Bay, and on very rare occasions, even a whale sighting or two.

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Enos Lake

Length: 5.3 km

Elevation Gain: 162 m

While you are in the Nanoose Bay area, you can add on the Enos Lake trail to the end of your climb up Notch Hill. The loop is popular with dog walkers and joggers in the area, but we highly recommend you bring a GPS or navigation app with you. With proper navigation, the loop is a beautiful way to end the day in Nanoose Bay.

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Lantzville Foothills Loop

Length: 7.4 km

Elevation Gain: 283 m

Only a few kilometres past Nanoose Bay lies the coastal community of Lantzville. The wooded area immediately west of Lantzville is packed full of trails, so there is no shortage of hikes to choose from, but if you want to challenge yourself to a longer hike, give the foothills loop a try.

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Lantzville Lookout Loop

Length: 5.8 km

Elevation Gain: 325 m

It’s not a long way to the top, but it sure is a steep one to the Lantzville Lookout! This hike, beginning at the end of a dead-end street, will have you quickly climbing. But worry not, the view is worth it! You may wish to bring along a pair of your hiking poles to save your knees on the way down.

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