Rivers, Pacific Northwest
Nanaimo has some incredible rivers, creeks and waterfalls, all are fairly easy to reach and they are for the most part well worth the hike. A short by very pleasant hike is the trail that takes you into the Benson Creek. The hike in is quite pleasing and you could see deer, raccoons, possible elk or black bears along with any number of birds. Looking down, you might see some of the forest floor creatures like snakes, salamanders and frogs. At the end of the trail, you will also reach Ammonite Falls.
Reaching Benson Creek is fairly straight forward and there is plenty of signage on the trail to guide you along. To reach the trail. To reach the trail head, head west on Jinglepot Rd, drive until you reach Kilpatrick Rd and turn left here. Follow the road for a short ways then turn right on Jameson Road, follow this road until you you see creekside place, turn right here and you will the trail parking lot. Park here and walk back up Jameson Road and turn onto right onto the logging road where you will see a large yellow gate. Do not park at this gate, they will tow you away.
The trail is an easy hike for all abilities, it is long though so if you are unable to walk for long distances, this trail is not for you. Stay to the right at the first fork in the road and go past the first trail marker you see, this is for your return trip out. Continue up to the next fork and walk down the narrow overdrawn road until you see a wooden sign high in a tree, turn right here and you are on the Ammonite trail.
The trail is easy right up until you reach the fall, to get to the bottom, you must use ropes ( they are provided on the trail) to reach the lower part. On dry days, the climb down is quite easy but when its muddy out, it can be a lot more difficult. This is past the park boundaries and are use at your own risk. You can hike down the river to see many wondrous sites, including lots of fossils or you can hike up past the main falls to see several other waterfalls. The return trip to Ammonite falls is just a little more than 4km and about 3 hours long but if you are like me, and love to explore, you might need a whole day as there is lots to see.