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A while back I had written a blog about 17 waterfalls along the East Coast of Central Vancouver Island and was blown away with the positive response from outdoor enthusiasts who found it to be a great resource for places to hike and explore. If you read that blog you will know that there were a few of the waterfalls on the list that I had not been to myself so I figured it was time to get out there and go see them firsthand.
I have lived in the Nanaimo area for over 9 years now and like so many other locals, have not been to Chase River Falls, just west of the official Colliery Dam Park trail system. So often I seek out areas to explore outside my own backyard to fulfil my desire for adventure and to immerse myself in the beauty of Vancouver Island but found this little afternoon stroll to be just as rewarding. Beyond the usual beaten paths are trails to explore and treasures to find. Worthy of a Trail Spotlight.
Trail Use: Easy Hiking and Trail Running
Description: The trails are a mix of paved, groomed gravel, boardwalk, bridges, and single track. Forested trails around two lakes and close to 3km of trail in the park. The trails within Colliery Dam Park are easy to travel. Past Chase River Falls the trail is more of a single track with roots and some elevation but overall is quite easy.
Directions: Parking lots off of Nanaimo Lakes Road and corner of Wakesiah Ave and 6th St. Can also park on the side of Harewood Mines Road.
Maps: Parts of Colliery Dam Park is an off leash dog area. Check out the Colliery Dam Map for trails and off leash areas within the park. Trail to Chase River Falls and beyond not part of map. To see more trails and how Colliery connects with Morrell Nature Sanctuary, Westwood Ridges, and the Abyss (Extension Ridge) try Trail Forks - Westwood Mountain Bike Trails map. Possibilities are endless.
Our Trip Report: I spent an afternoon exploring Chase River Falls and beyond, outside of the parks trail system, for a couple hours at a leisurely pace. Perfect for when time does not permit out of town day long hikes. What I found most appealing about exploring Colliery Dam Park was the fun factor for the kids. It is not a grand hike as far as elevation or a technically challenging trail but it does reward the kids with "cool to them" features along the way.
Kids love tunnels. To get to the Chase River waterfall you have to cross under highway 19.
Everyone loves waterfalls, even the kids.
Stunning landscape features.
Things to pack: For a leisurely city hike like this I suggest plenty of snacks or a lunch just to extend the experience a bit further, something I like to call fresh air feasting. Trail side lunches are my favorite! Wondering about footwear? I recommend KEEN.
Check out a few of our favorite KEEN's over the years.
Disclosure: I am a Brand Ambassador for KEEN Canada and receive free shoes from them to try. I like the durability and function of their hiking shoes for both me and the kids. Opinions are my own.