Port Alberni hikes you can do in under 3 hours

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Visiting or vacationing on Vancouver Island is as much about the journey as the destination. Between Nanaimo and Tofino, the mid-Island town of Port Alberni (on unceded Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation lands) is where you can slow down, catch your breath and stop to appreciate where you are. 

Take a rest from your travels. Then, stretch your legs on a quick 2 - 3 hour hike to a refreshing waterfall or a summit view overlooking the Alberni Valley. Let the lush, Island landscape wash away your cares. And maybe, find your new fave Island adventure spot.

Quick hikes to waterfalls, nature and views 

What is there to do around Port Alberni? Unexpectedly awesome hikes, natural beauty spots and cool local character give you tons of options for a two to three hour rest-stop, day trip or weekend getaway. 

On a hot day, cool off with a short hike to one of the Alberni Valley’s many waterfalls. For great views, get up high on the landscape. Or, tour town for a more relaxing adventure. All options you can enjoy within a few hours. 

Or, you may choose to extend your stay when you see all the amazing things to do here.

ITINERARIES 

Mountains, forests & viewpoints you can reach within 2h

Waterfall hikes you can do in 3h or less

Harbour, town and local highlights

Extend your stay with these Port Alberni epics

 

Mountains, forests and viewpoints

A couple hours is sufficient for most people to complete these hikes. But once you’re there, you may not want to leave.

Hikers enjoy the view from Alberni Lookout, Port Alberni, BC.
Photographer: Chris Istace
View from the top of Alberni Lookout.

Alberni Lookout 
Distance (round trip): 3.9 km,
Elevation gain: 130m
Time: approx 1 - 2h
Trail map: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/british-columbia/alberni-valley-lookout-trail 

Route description: This is an out and back hike to a viewpoint. The trailhead is marked about 850 metres up a gravel road. Locals and other hikers who have done this route recommend parking in the vacant lot across from Coombs County Candy, unless you have a good 4x4 with high clearance. 

PRO TIP: stock up at the candy shop for some treats to enjoy at the top. Early summer or after a rain, be sure to have good, water-resistant hiking shoes.

Fossli Provincial Park
Distance (round trip): 3.4 km
Elevation gain: 96m
Time: approx 1 - 2h
Trail map:
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/british-columbia/fossli-trail 

Route description: This loop trail leads you through scenic forest, over a suspension bridge and out to a beach on Sproat Lake.

Feeling ambitious? Read more about longer hikes in the Alberni Valley.


Waterfall hikes

For a great way to cool off, the Alberni Valley has waterfalls in all directions - pick your distance, your destination and go!

Picnicking at China Creek Falls in the Alberni Valley, near Port Alberni.
Having a picnic at China Creek falls.

Stamp River Falls - beginner
Distance (round trip): 1.3km
Elevation gain: 49m
Time: approx 1h (return)
BC Parks info: https://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/stamp_rv/
Trail map: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/british-columbia/stamp-falls-trail

Route description: With only a one kilometre walk along a wide graveled pathway to the falls, this is a family friendly hike. During season, the river is a salmon spawning ground.

China Creek Falls - intermediate/advanced
Distance (round trip): 3 km
Elevation gain: 55 metres
Time: approx 1h
Trail map: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/british-columbia/port-alberni-china-creek-falls 

Route description: A short, mostly uphill hike leads to a two-storey cascading falls, with powerful rushing waters spilling into a large pool. Large flat boulders lining the crystal-clear pool make for a perfect lunch spot. 

With lots of rocks, roots, boulders and steep sections, appropriate hiking footwear for uneven terrain is recommended. 

Note: Access to this hike is via an active logging road, it’s recommended to visit on weekends only.

Weiner Falls - advanced
Distance (round trip): 3 km
Elevation gain: 145m
Time: approx 1h
Trail map: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/british-columbia/weiner-falls--2 

Route description: The hike to Weiner Falls is short but technical. With a 2km uphill hike through the forest ending in a steep descent with a rope hand line to aid your way down, this one is for the adventurous. The payoff is a secret oasis with a vibrant green pool. The pool is fed by the creek above, which cascades down over nearly three stories of craggy bluffs.

Della Falls - advanced (overnight - extend your stay)
Distance (round trip): 29.5km
Elevation gain: 1117m
Time: 2 days (overnight stay)
Trail map: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/british-columbia/della-falls

Route description: Picture this for an epic adventure: you start by taking a boat ride on Della Falls Water taxi across Great Central Lake, which drops you at the remote trailhead of a 15km overnight backpacking trip to Della Falls, Canada’s 16th tallest waterfall at 440m.

PRO TIP: go in the early season to catch the best water flow, which recedes by late summer.

Read more about Port Alberni waterfall hikes.

  • Weiner Falls
    A secluded oasis near Weiner Falls.
  • China Creek Falls
    China Creek Falls is worth the visit on a weekend.
  • Stamp River is a salmon spawning ground.
    Stamp River is a salmon spawning ground.


Harbour, town and local highlights

If you have limited time and you’re up for a more casual experience, you can still enjoy Port Alberni’s allure with a leg-stretcher by the harbour.

Victoria Quay in Port Alberni, BC
Photographer: Chris Istace
Welcome figures carved by the local Hupacasath Nation.

Places to wander:

  • Harbour Quay’s collection of waterfront shops, galleries and eateries is anchored by a shiny new clock tower. On Saturdays, you can stroll through Spirit Square Farmers Market. And the Donut Shop is always a popular stop!
  • At Victoria Quay you can watch for black bears across the river at the Somass Estuary, find two towering Welcome Figures carved by local Hupacasath First Nations carvers, and a First Nations Whaling Monument 
  • The Kitsukis Dyke Trail, not far from Victoria Quay, offers a paved walking path to a small waterfall flowing beneath a trestle bridge. It connects to parks and amenities.

If you’re hungry or thirsty from your adventures, you’ll find three brew pubs, two distilleries and a food truck pod all in easy striking distance of the waterfront, which could easily turn your trip into an impromptu culinary tour!

By the time you’ve sampled some of Port Alberni’s best local flavours, distilled in a glass (or two), you may want to stay a little longer. 

  • Strolling by the shops at Harbour Quay.
    Strolling by the shops at Harbour Quay.
  • Trestle bridge along Kitsukis Dyke Trail.
    Trestle bridge along Kitsukis Dyke Trail.
  • A nice way to end a stroll - Dog Mountain Brewing.
    A nice way to end a stroll - Dog Mountain Brewing.


Extend your stay with these epics

With all the activities and experiences above, there’s way more than you can do in a day. Make Port Alberni your adventure hub for an overnight waterfall hiking trip to Della Falls, or several days of hiking and activity. Did we mention the culinary scene? 

For another amazing day trip, visit the Huu-ay-aht First Nation and tour the ancestral village of Kiixin, a 5000-year old historical site, just 1.5h drive from Port Alberni.

Kiixin is open for 2022 tours; book your tour of this awe-inspiring site now.

Exploring the bay at Kiix̣in Village and Fortress National Historic Site of Canada.
Photographer: Chris Istace

WHEN YOU GO

Make an adventure out of it! Find out where to eat, stay and #ExplorePortAlberni more on the Alberni Valley Tourism website

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