Explore North Vancouver Island on an old growth forest walking tour with Cove Adventures. Hug the largest Sitka Spruce tree on the North Island while you’re at it!
We love walking on a good Vancouver Island hiking trail through the woods.
There’s just something equally energizing and relaxing about working your way through the forest. I think it has something to do with the fresh air, the green scenery and moving my body.
One foot in front of the other.
Up hills, across streams, and around trees.
It’s just perfect.
Vancouver Island is covered north to south in spectacular trails. Some new, some old. But we just experienced a beautiful North Vancouver Island trail through an old growth forest.
Old growth forests are dwindling around the world, but many on Vancouver Island are thankfully protected. On a recent trip to Port Hardy at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, we joined Cove Adventures on a hiking tour of one such trail. Cove Adventures was perfect for us.
We were all a bit leery of taking a hiking tour.
I mean, we know how to hike, so why do we need someone else taking us through the woods?
But only five minutes into the hike, I heard each of my kids express what I was feeling as well…”Mom, I’m really glad we came with them. It’s really nice.”
Hiking with Cove Adventures feels like hiking with friends who know the area and just want to share something they love with us.
We met in Port Hardy, hopped into their tour van, and settled in for our 30-minute drive to the trail. The drive took us down an active logging road that was in less than desirable conditions.
Since the gravel road is used mostly for big trucks hauling massive trees, the bumps were quite significant. And by significant, I mean pop-your-tires-huge.
It was as we drove when I first became aware of the great need for Cove Adventures. I couldn’t imagine the wear and tear our little family minivan would take had we decided to drive this road on our own.
The thing about the north island is that its beauty and ruggedness comes at a price to modern convenience.
There’s very little cell phone coverage up here, so if you get stranded, there’s no phoning for help. And if you are able to get help in the form of a tow truck, it can be quite expensive.
So as we drove down the road, I was thankful we were not in our own car. We would have popped one, if not all four tires, for sure.
The trail itself did not disappoint.
Meandering through the old growth, our guides shared bits of the area and pointed out the interesting points of our hike. We learned about nurse logs and their importance in the health of the forest, hugged (or tried to) the largest spruce tree in the north.
And because our hike took place in early September, the wild huckleberries were in great abundance all along the trail.
One of the joys that comes from hiking with guides is that they pointed out what is safe to eat and what is not. I mean, haven’t we all dreamed of being able to just grab the red berries from a bush and eat them without getting sick?
It’s part of the adventure.
Our only problem was keeping the kids moving when there were so many berries to eat!
And sometimes even the guides are surprised what they see along the way. Yes, their love for the woods was definitely evident as they told us about the mushrooms that had appeared in mere days.
That’s just what can happen up here on the North Island. When the rains come, life abounds.
We gazed in awe at the ginormous root ball of a fallen tree. And we enjoyed our time as a family walking among the giants.
Old growth forests seem to tell a story with every step. There is history in the woods. And the more we walked, the deeper we appreciated the fresh air and greenery all about us.
Our trail ended at a beautiful lake with a rocky beach. It was a great spot for a snack and had it been a hotter day, I’m sure we all would have taken a quick dip in the water.
Time stands still here on North Vancouver Island. We could have stayed all day on that trail, exploring, visiting and just relaxing. But alas, all good things must end.
So we hopped back into the Cove Adventure Tours van (SO thankful for that!) and drove back to Port Hardy.
We ended our hike with new friends. Because when you hike with Cove Adventures, you can’t help but create new memories with others.
Cove Adventure Tours
Old Growth Forest Walking Tour: The tour is 3 hours in length and will run from 8 am – 11am and 2 pm – 5 pm • $95 + GST/fees. Contact Cove Adventures for youth/kids pricing.
Explore San Josef Bay The Easy Way: Part of the world famous West Coast Trail of Vancouver Island. More Info
For more Vancouver Island Travel Tips and Vancouver Island Vacation Tips check out our interactive map.
Bear Cove Cottages is the perfect choice for your North Island vacation. Comfortable and modern, each cottage contains a kitchen, gas fireplace, jacuzzi bathtub and an ocean view. Got questions? Ask the Traveling Islanders, we've stayed here!