Port Alberni has some of the best hiking on Vancouver Island. There are over 100 trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in and around the Alberni Valley.
Log Train Trail
The Log Train Trail in Log Train Regional Park in Port Alberni offers 25 km of trail for hikers, cyclists and horse riders through the beautiful Alberni Valley. The trail stretches along the foot of the Beaufort Range, leading to the McLean Mill Historic Site. The Log Train Trail was originally part of the Bainbridge Mill rail-logging operation. The trail is accessible from many points in the Alberni Valley, but the easiest start is from the trailhead sign on Highway 4.
Stamp Long River Trail
The Stamp River Long Trail provides access to 7.5 km of beautiful old growth riparian on the east bank of the Stamp River, running mostly parallel to the river. Several short switchbacks provide contrasting views of the river from above. Ancient firs and cedars can be found along the length of the trail, and there is a particularly fine stand of old growth near the north end. Eagles, hawks, mergansers, dippers and other water birds are frequently seen. In fall, bears are frequently encountered feeding on salmon. Care should be taken to avoid encountering a feeding bear. Caution should also be exercised during winter when water levels are high. The trail can be accessed from either the south or north ends, but there are no intermediate access points. The south end is accessed from the parking lot at Stamp River Provincial Park.
Della Falls Trail
Della Falls is Canada’s highest waterfall, at 1,444 feet (440 metres). Along with Mount Waddington, British Columbia’s highest mountain, Della Falls is one of the most awesome and least visited natural attractions in BC. Della Falls lies within Strathcona Provincial Park, northwest of Port Alberni, and requires a hike of 3 to 5 days via the historic Drinkwater Trail (moderate; 20 miles/32 km return). The trailhead is at the west end of the 18-mile (29-km) long Great Central Lake.
Fossli Park Trails
A beautiful 2.5 kilometre walking trail in Fossli Provincial Park leads through second-growth forest to an old homestead site on Sproat Lake. At the lake, visitors can relax on the level grassy area or pebble beach and enjoy the lovely views of Sproat Lake. There is a good beach for swimming, and in the fall, coho salmon can be seen spawning in St. Andrew’s Creek. A short trail heading west from the beach leads to a small point and a beaver pond that is a good spot for bird watching in the spring.
Greenmax Anglers’ Trail
Travelling west on Highway 4 out of town. Turn right onto Coleman Road after crossing the Sproat River Bridge. Continue passed Airport Road, down a hill and across a creek. The 4.1-km trail begins by going through the Greenmax woodlot. Follow the road on foot past a cleared area and up a short hill. At the top of the hill take the spur which bears around to the right and follow it to the end at the top of a steep bank above the river. The trail leads down to the river just below the falls opposite the site of the former Girl Guide cabin. From here the trail continues upriver for 2.4 km through a mature second-growth forest. At 1.7 km you pass one of the more popular swimming spots on the river. The trail continues up river and ends at a popular fishing spot often referred to as Eagle Rock.
Historic Canadian Northern Pacific Railway (CNPR) Trail
From the Bamfield Mainline take the turnoff to China Creek Marina. The trailhead is 200 metres on the left. From this northern access on the China Creek Marina road, the 3.8-km trail passes through a clearcut and then descends steeply through mature timber and evergreen huckleberry to Underwood Cove. On the way, it passes some rocky clearings that give views of the inlet below. The trail continues past Underwood Cove to a concrete culvert completed in 1913 (the date is embossed on the downstream end).
Across the creek, at the top of the bank, is the end of the CNPR grade, although the trains never went past Cowichan Lake. The rail bed was constructed without motorized machinery and impressive rock cuts, and filled areas can be seen along the way. The trail continues south along the rail grade, past the two access trails from Underwood Main. It parallels the inlet, which can be seen through gaps in the rainforest. Two side trails along the route give access to small beaches beside streams. Work on the trail is continuing and it will soon extend to the Franklin River.
The 4 kilometres of Maplehurst Trails begin at the end of Willow Road, on the left side of a small blue spruce tree. The trail consists of a series of interlocking loops that allow a variety of routes to be followed. The western ridge trail is on an old woodroad, and goes through several maple and alder groves. The eastern trail follows Kitsuksis Creek in places, with two sections where the bank is quite steep down to the creek below. In other areas, where the trail is at the same level as the creek, several of the cedar trees show claw marks on their bark where black bears have climbed. There are also some large Douglas fir trees that escaped when the area was logged in the 1950s. There are plenty of dead trees that provide food for woodpeckers on the first and second crossover trails, and an aspen grove beside the third. The trails are enlivened by various small treasures and items placed by previous trail users, which makes it particularly interesting for children.
Mount Arrowsmith Trails
Mount Arrowsmith is the most prominent visual focal point for most of the south central portion of Vancouver Island. Mount Arrowsmith Regional Park is situated along Highway 4 between Parksville and Port Alberni. Access to the mountain is located near the summit of Highway 4, approximately 9 km east of Port Alberni. The public has access through the park using Rousseau Trail, Arrowsmith Trail, which is accessible from Cameron Lake, and the Lower Ski Area Trail.
Labour Day Lake Trail
Labour Day Lake Trail is located approximately 30 km southwest of Port Alberni. Logging roads in the Cameron Valley provide good vehicle access to secluded Labour Day Lake. A short walk suitable for portaging canoes leads through the forest to the lake and a pleasant two-hour hiking trail around the lake. Access is via the Cameron Main logging road (off Highway 4) and Lake Road.
Rogers Creek Trail
Rogers Creek Park, off Gertude Street at Pemberton, is a great spot for a picnic within Port Alberni’s city limits. The picnic area is shaded by large trees, and the well-marked 4-km Rogers Creek Trail lets active family members stretch their legs.
Kitsukis Dyke Walking Path
Walkers can stroll along the 3-km Kitsukis Walkway that leads passed a playground with a summer water park.