The Pacific Northwest is home to a stunning array of tree species, both hardwood and softwood, and some of the biggest trees in the world.
A lot of the giants can be found here, did you know that we have the world’s largest crab apple tree? Not many people do. We also have the biggest yellow cedar (cypress) tree on earth – in the Big Tree Creek area of Sayward. Vancouver Island’s west coast’s Carmanah Walbran region boasts the world’s tallest Sitka spruce. Canada’s biggest red cedars grow in the Cheewhat Lake area, and the lands around Red Creek are home to the world’s largest douglas fir tree.
I have seen some of these big trees and can tell you, that when you stand beside one of them, you know beyond a doubt that the world still has giants living in it. When l was a boy, the coast was mostly covered by a splendid, vast rain forest of gigantic trees. Even though we have logged a large portion of this remarkable woodland, there are still large, thriving tracts of forest left.
We have a number of large, and impressive tracts of forest in the Pacific Northwest, the great bear rain forest is one of them and if we can keep the government of the day away, we might just be able to keep from being logged.
Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island has many big trees that can be accessed. My favorite entryway is by crossing Buttle Lake from the Auger Point day-use site. You’ll find the trailhead at the outflow of Philips Creek, that takes you up to Marble Meadows. About halfway up, you’ll come onto a very large bench of land – there are the giants! The trees here are at least 20 meters apart, yet the canopy is luxurious, leafy & thick. The undergrowth is surprisingly sparse as if you’ve stepped back in time to before man first walked here. I always enjoy this spot!
The Sayward Valley’s White River Park is another wonderful wilderness area, where elk, deer & black bears are commonly seen. There is some incredible fishing along the river that runs through it. There is a great trail that heads down to the river, and goes through some giant douglas firs, red cedars & spruce trees – a sight to behold! Cathedral Grove forest, on the Port Alberni road, offers easier, and more direct access. With its many trails and beautiful trees, it’s a marvelous place to explore.
The trail is about 20 km east of Port Renfrew on the paved Harris Creek Main. It will be found on the right side of the road 8 km past Lizard Lake while heading toward Lake Cowichan and is marked by a small sign. This tree is one of our coastal wonders and should be seen if you are in the area.
The Giant Sequoia Tree can reach up to 75 meters in height and diameters of more than 7 meters. These trees are quite rare and are one of the oldest trees on earth, they can live for upwards of 3200 years. They grow in the temperate forests of the pacific coast. There are many sequoia trees in the Pacific Northwest including the outer islands.