The Big Trees - Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island’s rugged beauty and massive outdoor-adventure culture is matched only by its quirkiness. Campers, hikers, surfers and mountain bikers mingle unabashedly with those original hippies from back-in-the-day. Oh, and don’t forget about the retirees. There are... so many retirees.
In the midst of this interesting mix, there sits a forest that time seems to have forgotten - adored by outdoor enthusiasts and the local counter-culture junkies alike. One group appreciates the photo opportunities, and the other, the fact that these trees have remained undisturbed by “progress”. Many appreciate both.
Getting There ...
Macmillan Provincial Park is centrally located; a short drive from Parksville, on the way to Port Alberni. (It’s also the route to Tofino, and to Vanisle’s pristine western shores). The entrance to the park is unassuming and creeps up on you; if you’re not careful, you’ll miss it.
What You'll Find ...
Aptly nicknamed “Cathedral Grove”, this 300 hectares forest space boasts some of the largest old growth fir trees in North America, rivaling the majesty of the California redwoods. The hike is easy - about 30 minutes - separated into two shorter loops. However, the prize is not found in the grind; but rather, the views.
These silently swaying giants sit, unassuming, waiting for you to stumble into their midst. The oldest and largest, according to BC Parks, has stood for almost 800 years and is over 9 meters in circumference. Very simply, these trees are breathtaking and worthy of your time and admiration.
And Don't Forget ...
Macmillan Provincial Park may a quick stop on the road to the west side of Vancouver Island, but it’s not to be missed. Make sure to bring along your camera (or your phone) in order to take advantage of the photo ops. But then put it away and breathe in the history, allowing the experience to build within you a “Lorax-like” guardianship for the forest.
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” - Dr. Seuss (The Lorax)
Oh, and when you do take those photos, make sure to tag us on instagram so we can see what you've experienced (#canadaexplored) - we always love to hear from you.