The Alberni Valley is located on Vancouver Island, between the east coast and the Pacific Rim on the west coast of the island. The valley is surrounded by mountains, protected rain forests, and freshwater lakes and streams, offering the best of outdoor scenery.
Wildlife abounds, and few places on earth can match the outdoor adventure possibilities. Stunning mountain trails provide excellent hiking, and the rugged outdoor terrain is great for wilderness camping. Other popular outdoors activities include kayaking, windsurfing, scuba diving, golfing, wildlife viewing and, of course, sport fishing.
Port Alberni bills itself as the Salmon Capital of the World. Adjacent waters boast all five species of Pacific salmon. Port Alberni’s harbour district is thick with tackle shops, boat rentals, and fishing charters. Port Alberni is one of the major hubs for angling on Vancouver Island, both saltwater and freshwater.
Port Alberni was named after Captain Don Pedro de Alberni, a Spanish officer who commanded Fort San Miguel at Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island from 1790 to 1792.
Before Europeans arrived, the region incorporating the Alberni Valley and the West Coast of Vancouver Island was the traditional territory of the Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council. The Nuu-chah-nulth were previously called the Nootka. Many place names in Port Alberni have a Nuu-chah-nulth origin, such as Somass (washing), Kitsuksis (log across mouth of creek), Pacheena (foamy), and Nootka (go around). Ancient petroglyph carvings can still be found at Sproat Lake.
Unique historic sites, attractions and activities bring to life the Alberni Valley’s First Nations tradition and proud heritage in Canadian forestry.
Location: The Alberni Valley is located in south central Vancouver Island. The economic centre of the valley is Port Alberni, situated on Highway 4 between Parksville and Tofino.
Port Alberni is nestled in the Alberni Valley at the head of Alberni Inlet, the longest inlet on Vancouver Island, which connects Port Alberni with Barkley Sound and the Pacific Ocean. Port Alberni is well-known for its breathtaking scenery and signals the Start of the Pacific Rim Experience.
The Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island is a long, narrow flute that leads 25 miles (40 km) inland from the open ocean of Barkley Sound and the Pacific Ocean. In general, the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound offer year-round fishing. One of the chief staging areas for fishing the Alberni Inlet is China Creek south of Port Alberni on the road to Bamfield.
Pacific Rim Highway 4
Highway 4 is the Pacific Rim Highway, which winds across the spine of the Vancouver Island Mountains from Parksville on the east coast to Port Alberni and the open Pacific Ocean at Ucluelet and Tofino. This is the route to the Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim National Park.
With over 200 miles of forested lakeshore, and fresh water so clean and clear you can see thirty feet down, Sproat Lake is a popular vacation destination on Vancouver Island, known for its warm water. Vacation homes and holiday cottages dot the shoreline, but the majority of the foreshore is uninhabited and lined by beaches and Douglas fir forest.
Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands comprise one of the three main recreational components in Pacific Rim National Park, covering an area of approximately 800 square kilometres that includes hundreds of islands, none of which is larger than 2 kilometres across. The popularity of these islands with paddlers and boaters has soared over the past decade.
Parks: Major parks in the area include:
- Stamp River Provincial Park
- Sproat Lake Provincial Park
- Taylor Arm Provincial Park
- Fossli Provincial Park
- MacMillan Provincial Park
- Mount Arrowsmith Regional Park
East of the Alberni Valley is Parksville, an enchanting seaside village on the east coast of Vancouver Island. With its long sandy beaches and eastern exposure, Parksville is an ideal spot to spend a few days, or the whole summer, basking in the sun and swimming in warm waters.
West of the Alberni Valley is the Pacific Rim on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, incorporating magnificent Long Beach, the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, and Pacific Rim National Park.
Southwest of the Alberni Valley is Bamfield, nestled quietly in a protected inlet on the south shore of Barkley Sound. This tiny fishing and harbour village, heavily populated by marine biologists, is a quiet, unassuming village where the love of the land and sea prevails.