Nanaimo River Trail
Nanaimo River Trail

Nanaimo River Trail

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Nanaimo River Trail

Nanaimo River Trail

Distance: 1.7mi
Elevation: 46ft
Time: 0.5h

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The Nanaimo River Trail follows a 1.7mi lollipop hiking route along the edge of the coursing river that will provide hikers with some decent opportunities to look out of the water and the surrounding woodland landscape. Along the trail, hikers will be immersed in a fantastic forest setting and the low volume of foot traffic will make you feel like you have the entire area to yourself. With flat and very well-maintained trails, this route is perfectly suited for hikers of every skill level.

Nanaimo River Trail Map

Getting there

To reach the Nanaimo River trailhead from the Nanaimo Airport, head north on BC-1 for 2.8mi and turn right on Morden Road, following it for 591ft. Turn right on Main Road and continue for 623ft before keeping straight onto Thatcher Road. After 1.0mi, the road will veer right and become Emblem Road. Follow it for 1230ft, and you will find the trailhead on the right.

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Nanaimo River Trail
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Nanaimo River Trail Description

Although the Nanaimo River Trail sees a light amount of foot traffic, busier days during warm weather might see the amount of hikers along the trail increase. If you are thinking of heading out to this pleasant trail during the heat of the summer, plan ahead and arrive early to ensure that you are able to secure parking.

While short, this peaceful walk along the edge of the Nanaimo River will be sure to leave you feeling relaxed and reconnected with the wilderness. The trail initially meanders closely alongside the river before heading a bit to the west on a loop around a small douglas fir plantation. If you are looking for a nice family-friendly hiking route without any real difficulty, then the Nanaimo River Trail should definitely be on your list.

Setting out from the trailhead, follow the path to the southwest to enter into the thick cover of the forest. As you make your way between the beautiful mature trees you will find yourself inching closer to the sound of rushing water that is coming from the nearby Nanaimo River. From here, the trail will turn more to the west as you follow a course under the shady canopy and enjoy breathtaking views of the river that runs parallel to the hiking path.

After roughly 1804ft, you will come to a junction in the trail with a path branching off to your right. This will be your return from the loop portion of the hike, so continue straight through with the river on your left and a lovely douglas fir plantation on your right. After another 2461ft of hiking, head right at another junction to veer away from the coursing river on a route to the north that will bring you to the edge of the plantation.

After 1640ft along the road, keep right at the fork to enter into the forest and make your way along the beautiful rows of douglas fir trees. Take some time to enjoy the tranquil forest atmosphere and read the interpretive signs that can be found along the path before arriving back at the initial junction in the trail. Head left here to make your way back to the trailhead while enjoying some final views across the rushing waters of the Nanaimo River.

Insider Hints

  • This trail is off-leash friendly, so don’t forget your canine friends for this scenic hike.

  • The trail is flat and well-maintained, making it perfect for families with strollers.

  • The trail can be a bit muddy in the shoulder seasons, so wear decent footwear to stay comfortable on your hike.



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