Easy Hikes and Walks on Vancouver Island

There are endless trails, paths, and walkways on Vancouver Island to take a stroll. You’ll find gentle walks with ocean views, quiet paths through the rainforest, and hikes to cascading waterfalls. The best part? You don’t have to be an expert hiker to take in all in.

Easy Strolls Near The Ocean

The West Coast of Vancouver Island is home to the seaside town of Ucluelet and the Wild Pacific Trail. Wander this 8 km (5 mi) gravel pathway under windswept trees and along the rocky coastline as you listen and watch the waves crash into the shore. Take the 2.6 km (1.6 mi) Lighthouse Loop, the 5 km (3.1 mi) Artist Loop, or the 1 km (0.6 mi) Ancient and Rocky Bluffs section to see 800-year-old ancient cedar trees. 

On southern Vancouver Island, West of Victoria, head for East Sooke Regional Park where a network of 14 different trails awaits. Trails here range in length from 1.5 km (0.9 mi) to 10.5 km (6.5 mi) long and are scattered through the forest and along the shoreline. Stroll the Coast Trail as it hugs a seaside bluff, spotting for Orcas and keeping an eye out for the Indigenous petroglyphs at Alldridge Point. The easiest, fully-accessible, trail in the park is the Pike Road Trail, a wide, graded path that stretches from the parking lot to coastline.

Easily Access Waterfalls

A hike through the forest that ends with a cascading waterfall is just a little bit better than your average stroll. Luckily, Vancouver Island has no shortage of rushing rivers and waterfalls to see. Many are accessible by easy to moderate hikes to witness their natural beauty, too. The less mobile don’t have to miss out on one of Vancouver Island’s waterfall gems, Little Qualicum Falls, just outside of Parksville Qualicum Beach. Visitors here can walk, roll, or stroll along the accessible, looped gravel path to see the cascading upper and lower falls. 

Meanwhile, in the South Island, waterfall lovers should seek out Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. The swimming holes were formed along the Sooke River during the ice age, over 15,000 years ago. Take a refreshing dip in the water or simply sit by the river while gazing at the serene, crystal-clear water. There are several short trails to choose from, each with viewpoints to see this natural phenomenon. 

Up for a bit more of an adventure? Head to Strathcona Provincial Park, in the middle of Vancouver Island for a 2 km (1.2 mi) round-trip hike to see Lady Falls. While here, don’t miss Myra Falls at the southern end of Buttle Lake, accessed via a short 500-metre (1,600-foot) stroll. A small detour will let you see Lupin Falls, too. 

Walks Under Forested Canopy

Have you ever wondered what Canada’s “Gnarliest Tree” looks like? In Avatar Grove, a forest full of old-growth trees and giant, rooty stumps, visitors can see for themselves. This lesser-known destination north of Port Renfrew may be a little harder to get to, but once here, a 1.6 km (1 mi) loop trail leads visitors to the wonders in Avatar Grove. 

Close by, in Caramanah Walbran Provincial Park, is Heavens Grove and one of the largest spruce trees on earth. Here you can walk a variety of short trails that wind through the park. 

On the West Coast, rainforest-lovers can head for Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. There are different walks, hikes, and beach strolls in this park suitable for all fitness levels. Try the Shorepine Bog Trail, an 800-metre loop through old-growth forest and free of stairs. For those with increased mobility issues, an off-terrain wheelchair is available at the Kwistitis Visitor Centre and free for use. Helping everyone enjoy the spectacular trails in the region. 

A Sample Of Accessible Trails On Vancouver Island

There are a variety of fully-accessible trails to choose from on Vancouver Island. Strathcona Provincial Park is home to the barrier-free Centennial Trail, part of the Forbidden Plateau network, and is perfect for people with varying abilities. This 2 km (1.2 mi) loop trail winds through the forest and beneath towering mountains along boardwalks and wide gravel pathways. 

Another option is the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. This incredible paved and packed gravel pathway spans over 55 km (34 mi), from Sooke to Victoria, and is suitable for cyclists, walkers, or wheelchairs. It’s truly a trail that connects communities and people. 

There are endless easy walking and hiking trails on Vancouver Island waiting to be explored. Grab a friend and spend the day, a weekend, or the week discovering them for yourself.