At the heart of Vancouver Island is a valley of unique natural beauty, which is filled with secret spots that will take your breath away.
The first European to set foot in the Alberni Valley arrived in the area by hiking a trail that would eventually bear his name. Adam Horne was a Scottish fur trader who was directed, by the Hudson Bay Company, to find a land route across Vancouver Island in 1856. During his search he became aware of a trail leading from Qualicum through the Alberni Valley, that was built by the Nuu-Chah-Nulth people. There can be little doubt that some of the routes in the Alberni Valley have been used by the Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations for thousands of years.
We have selected our favourite FOUR local trails ranging in length and difficulty to suit most trail hikers.
1. WIENER FALLS
This is a short hike, less than half an hour one way. And it goes to one of the most spectacular falls in the Alberni Valley. It is not well known and is a gem. You'll feel alone in a grotto. It's a great place to cool off on a hot summer day. The trailhead is only 5 minutes from Sproat Lake Landing Resort.
Cross Highway 4 from Sproat Lake Landing Resort onto a gravel road. About 100 meters later turn left and proceed about 600 meters to a right turn shortly before a bridge. The Trailhead is less than 300 further under a powerline. The trail parallels the powerline but in the shade. Start looking for a trail to your left after about ten minutes of hiking. You arrive at the top of the falls a minute or so later. A few meters downstream you will find some ropes to help you down into the canyon below the falls.
Difficulty: Medium Length: 40 minutes round trip (1.65 km)
2. FOSSLI PROVINCIAL PARK
Fossli Park has an absolutely beautiful hiking trail that is a favourite of the residents of the Alberni Valley and Vancouver Island. The trail head is accessed via a private unpaved logging road. The trail will lead you to a suspension bridge that crosses over St. Andrew’s Creek. Past the bridge you will reach Fossli water fall. Continuing hiking will brings you to the shore of Sproat Lake where you will find a grassy area that is all that remains of the Ford homestead. In the spring there is great bird watching beside a beaver pond. In the summer, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better place to swim. Finally, in the fall you can watch the Coho salmon swimming up St. Andrews’s Creel to spawn.
Difficulty: Moderate Length: 1.5 hours (2.5 km)
3. SPROAT LAKE PROVINCIAL PARK, PETROGLYPHS AND MARS BOMBER
Located 5 minutes east of Sproat Lake Landing Resort, Sproat Lake Provincial Park is a favoured location for swimming, fishing, waterskiing and, when the wind is up, windsurfing.
There are only short access trails in this park. A ½ km trail leads from the main parking lot at the day-use area and along the lake to a small pier at the east end of the park. At the pier, visitors can view the park’s panel of prehistoric petroglyphs, considered one of the finest in British Columbia. Little is known about this petroglyph, named K’ak’awin, but it isn’t hard to imagine this rock carving as depicting some mystical ancient monsters of the lake. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails.
From the pier, you can get a good view of the MARS BOMBER, the world's largest aerial firefighting machine.
Difficulty: Easy Length: 1 hours round trip
Teodoro Trail is a beautiful loop trail perfect for an afternoon hike, and a great place to view a Vancouver Island old growth forest. The best way to access the trail is to drive to the trailhead and park in the cleared area when you come to the bridge over Weiner Creek. Cross Highway 4 at Sproat Lake Landing and proceed on the right immediately up a short hill past a Kiosk announcing the Community Forest. Turn left on the road you come to within 50 meters and drive to the parking area.
From the trailhead Teodoro Trail continues uphill through second growth forest, until eventually coming out in a strand of old growth Douglas Fir. Good views of Sproat Lake are afforded from open bluffs in this area. The trail continues through the old growth and back down the bluffs to pick up the logging road again. Turn left and go down the logging road for a short distance to where the trail leaves the road on the right. Continue downhill to a road paralleling the power lines and Weiner Creek. Follow this road up stream until you reach the bridge. The trail is named after Teodoro Cabrera, a Mexican environmental activist who was jailed in 1999 for opposing logging in old growth forests.
Difficulty: Medium Length: 2.5 hours round trip (5.9 km)