This loop includes a stretch of rocky beach, visits to the Qualicum First Nation and Big Qualicum River Fish Hatchery, and a pleasant walk along quiet country roads.
Directions: From the intersection of the Old Island Highway (19A) and Horne Lake Road in Qualicum Bay, drive west to the parking area for the Big Qualicum River Fish Hatchery.
After parking, walk south along River Road to the five-way intersection. Turn right on Horne Lake Road, cross Leon Road and continue straight ahead on Berkshire Road. Follow the road around to the left as it becomes Marshall Road. Turn right on Dunsmuir Road, and right on Bradshaw Road. Follow Bradshaw Road around to the left as it turns into Goodyear Road. Cross the highway and follow the driveway into the Qualicum Landing. Follow the road around to the left to Van Isle Road. At the intersection of Van Isle Road and the highway turn right on to the beach access. Continue along the beach until you come to some large boulders that cover the outfall from a small pond at the beginning of the Qualicum First Nation Campsite. As you detour inland around the boulders, look for a dirt road that runs along the beach through the campsite. Follow the road to the highway. Turn left on the highway, then right on Fisheries Road and return to the beginning.
UPPER BIG QUALIUM RIVER
||Level of Difficulty:
|2 ½ Hours
||Easy to Moderate
A wide, level, well-graded road running beside an unspoiled natural river makes this one of the best walking routes in the Oceanside area. Habitat preservation and salmon enhancement have preserved the Big Qualicum River and resulted in a well-maintained road with no vehicular traffic. Easy access from both ends of the trail allow one to break this route into two pleasant walks of approximately 2 to2 ½ hours each. Alternatively, the entire trail could be hiked in a little over 4 hours if the interesting detours were eliminated and transportation was arranged at both ends.
Directions: From the intersection of Horne Lake Road and Highway 19, head southwest 4.5 Km to the information sign at the intersection with Horne Lake Caves Road. Turn right and drive for 2 Km to the bridge over the Big Qualicum River. Shortly after crossing the bridge, turn right on Fish Hatchery Road. Turn right 0.5 Km later and park at the yellow gate.
Proceed past the gate and head downhill for 5 minutes. Turn right and walk upriver to the Gauging Weir and Valve House. Return back to the main road and continue downriver for 10 minutes. Turn right and head upriver to the Incubation Site. Return to the main road and continue downriver for approximately 45 minutes. Midway between the Incubation Unit and the Main Hatchery is a fenced in spawning channel controlled by a small weir. This convenient landmark is used to divide the upper and lower sections of this walk. Return back upriver to the starting point. Total time for this 12 km return walk, including detours to the Incubation Site and Valve House is approximately 2 ½ hours.
LOWER BIG QUALICUM RIVER
||Level of Difficulty:
||Easy to Moderate
A wide, level, well-graded road running beside an unspoiled natural river makes this one of the best walking routes in the Oceanside area. Habitat preservation and salmon enhancement have preserved the Big Qualicum River and resulted in a well-maintained road with no vehicular traffic. Easy access from both ends of the trail allow one to break this route into two pleasant walks of approximately 2 to2 ½ hours each. Alternatively, the entire trail can be hiked in a little over four hours if the interesting detours are eliminated and transportation is arranged at both ends.
Directions: From the intersection of Highway 19A and Fisheries Road in Qualicum Bay, drive southwest and park at the Big Qualicum River Hatchery.
At the entrance to the Fish Hatchery, turn right and follow the road past the office to the bridge over the Big Qualicum River. Continue straight ahead on to the Private Industrial Road. Follow the road to the left heading up river towards Horne Lake (11Km), the Valve House (10 Km), the Incubation House (9 Km) and the Spawning Channel (1Km). After passing under the railway trestle, continue along past the bridge over the channel to the right. Take the road to the left that goes down to the Chum Spawning Channel and information sign. Continue along this lower road past two weirs to a T intersection at the third weir. Turn right, then immediately turn left back onto the Private Industrial Road. Approximately 25 minutes after starting pass under the Inland Island Highway bridge over the Big Qualicum River. Continue along the road, under the high voltage power lines at the 2 Km mark. Approximately 40 minutes after starting, keep an eye open for a trail to the left that leads to a log bridge over the river. Continue along the road for another 18 minutes to the end of a fenced in spawning channel and the weir that controls the flow of water into it. Return to the trail that leads to the log bridge and cross the river. Head downstream on the trail along the river and pass under the highway bridge. There are a number of small channels you must cross on the east side of the river, but as of February 2005 there were rustic bridges across them all. Approximately ½ hour after crossing the river, you will arrive back at the upper bridge across the spawning channel. At present it is considered to be unsafe and posted “Keep Off.” Continue along the south side of the river to the first weir just up stream from the railway trestle. Turn left and cross the river and channel on the footbridges over the weir. Turn right and follow the Private Industrial Road back to the beginning. Total time for this 9 Km trail is about 2 hours return.