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Waterfalls, Pacific Northwest

Puntledge Falls, Waterfalls
Puntledge Falls, Photo By Bud Logan

The BC coastal region has many wonderful Waterfalls, from the small unnamed falls on creeks and rivers all over the coast right up to the tallest falls in Canada, which is Della Falls located in Strathcona Park. We live in a land of falling water.

The coast is covered by a temperate Rain forest and it receives an incredible amount of rainfall annually. This, in turn, feeds waterfalls up and down the coastal region. We have listed some of the best but there are so many unnamed and hidden falls on the coast of BC that are not listed here or anywhere for that matter.

Myra Falls, Waterfalls
Myra Falls, Photo By Robert Logan

Hike along any river or creek or head up any mountain and you will see what I mean. The coastal region has many trails that will take you to some awesome waterfalls but along these trails, you have the opportunity to view various ecosystems at work and the incredible diversity of its plants, trees, and wildlife.

You could see grizzly bears, black bears, deer, both blacktail and mule deer, Roosevelt elk, cougars, wolves and other kinds of small forest creatures along with an incredible display of wildflowers that changes with your elevation. As you get up higher, you could see mountain goats or bighorn sheep, marmots and again, wildflowers everywhere. At the base of most waterfalls, in the fall, you can see the salmon as they gather their strength to make the leaps needed to get beyond the falls to the place of their birth. This is where the bears gather to fish. Along the river’s edge, you will see sea wolves as they feast on this bounty, they are a sub-species of the grey wolf. They are fish eaters.

Waterfalls are pretty awesome, we will be actively searching out new falls to add to the site. It’s quite exciting when you see a waterfall for the first time.

Elk Falls
Elk Falls, Photo By Robert Logan
Elk Falls is located just west of Campbell River on the Gold River highway. It has a great many trails for hiking, picnic areas and over 200 individual campsites along the Quinsam River. The quinsam river campsite provides great riverside camping in the heart of a world-renowned fishing area. The quinsam river with its great trout fishing runs right by the campground. After a great morning meal at your campsite among the beautiful forests along the river, you could pack a picnic lunch and head up the canyon view trail. After walking just 3 km from the campground, you will reach the elk falls day use and picnic area, this picnic area contains many easy walking trails and of course, the incredible cascading waterfall that gives this park its name. The upper falls and the day use areas are located just below the dam on John Hart Lake.

There are many lakes in the area, many of which have been stocked with rainbow, cutthroat and dolly varden trout, these lakes can offer up some incredible fishing along with great wildlife viewing. During late spring and through the summer, fishermen head to the tidal waters at the mouth of Campbell River to fish for returning pink salmon. Fish include steelhead, cutthroat and dolly varden trout, chinook, chum, coho and pink salmon.

Hiking trails also lead to other areas in the park, which is home to a large and wonderful stand of old growth douglas fir. The trails that lead along the canyon offers up some great photo opportunities along with breathtaking views of the river far below.

Elk Falls Park has a wide variety of birds including great blue herons, killdeer, ravens, crows, chestnut-backed chickadees, and eagles being the most abundant resident bird species but you can also see western tanagers, golden-crowned kinglets, barred owls, red-tailed hawks and other avian visitors. Mammals include blacktail deer, black bears, cougars, and Roosevelt elk as well as Shrews, Squirrels, Voles, Raccoons,  Otters, Muskrat and Beaver. A beaver dam and pond are located west of the campground on the beaver pond trail.

Elk Falls
Elk Falls, Photo By Bud Logan
So for some awesome camping, hiking or fishing, head out to the Elk Falls Park and see what this part of the Island has to offer and don’t forget to bring your camera.

In 2015, a new suspension bridge opened up to the public, the bridge is built over the falls and gives you some incredible views, this is world class and a must see for everyone.

Christie Falls
Christie Falls, Photo by Bud Logan
The Bush Creek and its wonderful waterfall, Christie Falls is located above the Bush Creek Hatchery in Ladysmith, you can reach the falls easily when they are doing maintenance work at the hatchery. The rest of the time you have to park outside the gate and hike 2.5 km walk along an old logging road to reach the trail that takes you up to the falls. I do recommend that even if the gates are open that you park here and walk in, there is a good chance in seeing wildlife and you will not wind up locked in behind a gate.

To reach the falls from Ladysmith, take Highway 1 to Grouhel Road and turn left. Turn right onto Christie Road. At a stop sign, turn left and drive to the orange Timber West gate. From there, the hatchery gates should be visible. Most times the gates will be closed and you must park here to walk in, please do not block the road.

Christie Falls
Christie Falls, Photo by Bud Logan

Once you reach the hatchery, look up along the left side of the creek for a trail, its not far from the bridge. The trail will lead you up past many small falls and eventually guide you to the first main falls. The hike is very pleasant and the first falls are quite beautiful. But this is not the end, just below these falls, you should see a log across the creek with some rope railings to use in getting to the other side. Its a bit of a scary crossing but once over you can head up a trail to the next falls. This one is pretty awesome and truly a must see.

This is a nice set of falls and when you come, pack a lunch, bring your camera and spend some time here. If you care to, you can find a rope aided trail to the left of this falls that will with a bit of effort, take you up to the top of the falls, another must see. You can hike up the creek further from here for some amazing views.

A trip to the north island has to include the beautiful Eternal Fountain. This fountain waterfall is something to see, its a waterfall that comes out of the rock, falls down about 5 meters and disappears back into the mountain. Now if the beauty of these falls is not enough, then you should drop down to the base of the falls and go behind to discover another totally underground falls and a beautiful cave sculpted out of the rock by the water. The tunnel twist and turns as it follows an underground stream as it roars through the cave to the end where it drops into a deep sump and disappears. Awesome to see, but please be careful as the rock can be very slippery.

Eternal Fountain Falls
Eternal Fountain Falls, photo by Bud Logan

To get to the Eternal Fountain along with the Devils Bath and the Disappearing River from hwy19,  turn off onto the Keogh Rd just north of Port McNeil and head south, a short distance down the

Keogh road, you will see a large directional sign with a map of the Alice Lake Loop, this is where you choose your route. The drive, depending on which route you take, is about 100 km. These are gravel logging roads so driving time for the loop will be about 2 to 3 hours. Each stop has lots to explore and numerous trails to see it all so leave yourself enough time to see it all.

On this trip around the loop, you will have a good chance in seeing bears, elk, cougars, deer, wolves and any number of smaller forest creatures and if that is not enough, the bird-life is just incredible. The numerous lakes you will pass have exceptional fishing along with great camping areas, so you could take several days traveling the loop and really get to see the north island and all it has to offer


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