Holland Creek Trail • Cowichan Valley Hiking

Holland Creek Trail is nestled in the rugged forested cliffs above the town of Ladysmith in the Cowichan Valley. A magnificent hike for families!

Holland Creek Trail is one of the best hiking walking trails in the Cowichan Valley.

Looking for the perfect family hike in the Cowichan Region? You’ve found it.

On our first hike of Holland Creek trail our kids were 10, 8, 7 and our Golden Retriever was 4 years old. Holland Creek Trail was the perfect length and difficulty level for our kids. It’s also the gateway trail to more advanced hiking in the area.

The trail is located behind the Vancouver Island heritage oceanside town of Ladysmith with easy access off of Island Highway #1.

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Overview Of Holland Creek Trail

Don’t let the proximity to the hillside town of Ladysmith fool you into thinking this trail isn’t worth a hiker’s time. Holland Creek Trail loops all the way from the oceanside picturesque Transfer Beach Park to the rugged steep cliffs above Ladysmith. The trail is full of natural beauty.

One of the reasons this trail is loved by the town and visitors alike is the varied level of difficulty. Much of the North side of the creek is a well groomed urban walking path with some parts even wheelchair accessible, while the South side of Holland Creek Trail is deeply wooded, rugged with plenty of elevation changes. Hikers will find wooden bridges, rustic stairs, rope supports and our favourite, waterfalls.

During the Winter and Spring months Crystal Falls is especially majestic. In the Fall come and see the spawning salmon as they fight and jump up stream to lay their eggs. The salmon find a little help along the way in the century old collier dams that were built in the 1900’s during the coal mining boom.

What Is A Collier Dam Anyway?

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Photo Credit: take5.ca

Read up and impress those you are hiking with!

“Weirs were constructed in the early 1900s to collect water to wash coal at Transfer Beach. A wooden flume diverted water to a reservoir to supply the coal washing bunkers at the current site of the horseshoe pitch at Transfer Beach Park.” Tourism Ladysmith

How Long Of A Hike Is Holland Creek Trail?

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The lower loop and upper loop of Holland Creek Trail combined is approximately 6Km/4mi long. We did the upper loop in about 3 hours but we explored off the trail tons and stopped for a leisurely picnic lunch on a ridge.

If you want a longer hike, then continue on to Heart Lake Loop for an additional 6Km. We hope to experience it ourselves later this Spring or Summer. From what we have read and heard from others it is a tougher hike initially, but the viewpoint and swim in the lake is well worth it.

One of the best viewpoints in the region boasts panoramic views of the Gulf Island and all the way to the mainland.

Once at the lake you have two choices: for the advanced hikers keep trekking on towards Stocking Lake Trail (11.8km) and Stocking Lake Regional Park, or take the Western Heart Lake Loop trail and circle around back to Holland Creek trail.

You are far from help on both these trails so come prepared to be out in the elements including possibly black bear sightings and yes, even cougars. It’s rare but signs are posted as a reminder that it does happen.

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Tips For Hiking With Kids On Holland Creek Trail

1. Brings lots and lots of snacks to keep their little bodies fuelled. Trail mix with nuts, raises and chocolate chips will do the trick. Give them a little bag of their own to stuff in their pockets and they will love it.

2. Bring enough water for everyone or parents you are the ones that will be going without. That means a small backpack will come in very handy.

3. Yup, go ahead and throw in a small first aid kit just incase. Bear spray? Maybe just to be safe.

4. Be careful exploring along the creek. Holland Creek has fluctuating water levels resulting in swift currents and rapids. Keep your kids close during the rainy season.

Holland Creek Trail Map

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Map Courtesy Of Tourism Ladysmith

How To Get To Holland Creek Trail

There are various entry points to Holland Creek Trail that will be marked with a small parking lot and a posted trail map. Methuen Road and 6th Avenue is one entry point located at about the middle mark.