GaLTT member Randy Young has made an interactive GPS-based Gabriola trail-map that includes flagged beach accesses. Users can access the site by cell-phone while walking and reference their own locations.
Other web-based maps for Gabriola's trail users
You can download a pdf of GaLTT member Nick Doe's GPS-based maps of 707-acre Park trails here. You can find downloadable Sensitive Ecosystem Maps (SEMs) on the Islands Trust website by clicking here.
GaLTT's map of Gabriola trail walks
GaLTT's beautiful paper trailmap drawn by member Cameron Murray, is printed on tough, waterproof paper. Copies are available for $5 each from North Road Outdoor Clothing Store, Mid-island Co-Op, the Visitor's Information Centre at Twin Beaches, Page's Marina, and at the summer Farmer's Market at Agi Hall.
On the reverse of the printed map are details of 25 trail walks (numbered on the map). The maps on this webpage are the same as the printed map.
This map includes only those trails on public land or licensed to GaLTT for public access by the private owner. Some well-known trails on Gabriola do not appear on GaLTT's trailmaps because they are on private land or on land that has been put aside by the Federal Government for First Nations Treaty negotiations. We urge trail-users to respect private property and No Trespassing signs.
Horses on the trails
You may encounter horse-riders on our trails—visit this link for some tips on how to behave.
Click the zoom command in your browser's view menu to see details more clearly.
Click on the map's numbers to read about good walks in those areas.
The starfish along the coastline mark public beach accesses.
Suggested walks on Gabriola's public walking trails
Walk 1—Descanso Bay Regional Park and campground (2km)
There are easy walks on the rocks around two bays and headlands in Descanso Bay Park. In winter, rocky beaches are very slippery. Consult the trail and facility map in the park. Day use parking is straight ahead through campground. To the left of the car park there is a trail through a wooded headland leading to views of Nanaimo and Protection Island. Along the south boundary of the park there is a trail through a fence to a public right-of-way that connects to Ivory Way. On the north side of the park here is a steep trail up the bluff to McConvey Road. TUrn left along the road to pick up a licensed trail across private land connecting McConvey Road to Malaspina Drive, or you can turn right to reach Taylor Bay Road and turn right again to return to the Park entrance.
Walks #2.1 and 2.2 Cox Community Park and Haven Woods
Walk 2.1 Cox Community Park (3-5km)
A main trail enters Cox Community Park from Taylor Bay Road opposite McConvey Road at the Yogi ("Youth of Gabriola Island") sculpture. A second trail starts opposite the entrance to Descanso Bay Park allowing for longer combined walks. Be careful crossing the road! Within the park, signs indicate loops and the main trail to River Place. A cedar plank bridge crosses a wetland near River Place. Ample road parking is available at River Place. A new trail loop was developed in the south of the park in 2014 giving a view of the man-made lake on the neighbouring property and linking Taylor Bay Road to River Place).
Walk 2.2 Haven Woods and other licensed trails to Cox Park
During 2014 a private landowner granted a licence for public access to a complex of trails in Haven Woods, linking Fin Road at Berry Point Road to the end of King Road up behind Twin Beaches Centre. Neighbouring landowners also licensed trails to link Haven Woods via Bruce Lynn Road to Cox Park. Please park at the end of King Road in the gravel pull-in 120 mteres from the Haven Wood entrance and avoid blocking neighbouring driveways.
Walks 3 and 4—Malaspina Galleries and Twin Beaches
Walk #3—Malaspina Galleries to Gabriola Sands Provincial Park —about 4 km
Shoreline walk on flat sandstone shelf at mid to low tide, with spectacular views and great sunsets. Dangerously slippery rocks from November to April. Access to trail is at the end of Malaspina Drive. Follow the short trail through woods to an open point of land with views across the sea to Newcastle Island, Nanaimo, and Mt. Benson. At that headland turn to your left and follow the lower shelf back to look into the Malaspina Galleries, which were recorded by Spanish explorers in 1792. Retrace your steps back to the headland and then follow the sandstone shelf all the way to Taylor Bay's sandy beach at Gabriola Sands Provincial Park (Twin Beaches). At this point you can connect with Walk #4 or #5, or retrace your route along the shoreline back to Malaspina Drive. Before heading back, walk across the grass field behind the sandy beach then cross the road and take a look at the twin beach of Pilot Bay.
Walk #4—Twin Beaches headland loop (2 km)
Start at parking area in Gabriola Sands Provincial Park (Twin Beaches). This walk goes clockwise around the shoreline of the Decourcy Peninsula, and is best at mid to low tide. Note: The rocks are dangerously slippery when wet. Ever-changing vista, interesting rocks, swimming spots, and summer sunsets. From the parking area, cross the road and walk over grass field to the sandy beach on Taylor Bay. Turn right on the sandy beach and at the end of the sand follow the rocky shoreline around the north side of Taylor Bay. The rocks soon give way to a flat sandstone shelf. The northern shoreline has vistas to Lasqueti and Texada islands. At the end of this northern shoreline you get a view of Entrance Island lighthouse. Next you round the headland into Pilot Bay and after about 100 metres look for wooden steps with a yellow concrete marker at the base. This is the return route, as the rock shelf is not passable all the way into Pilot Bay. At the top of the steps follow the public access trail to the paved road. Turn left and follow the road, taking the left fork at any intersection, to return to your starting point.
Walk #5—Gabriola Sands at Twin Beaches to Orlebar Point (8km return)
Start at parking area in Gabriola Sands Provincial Park (Twin Beaches). This walk follows the shoreline to Seagirt Road, and then road and shoreline to Orlebar Point. Note: The rocks and logs are dangerously slippery when wet. The walk starts on the beach of Pilot Bay. Turn right on the sandy beach and follow the high tide line to the sandstone shelf. Follow the shelf in a northeast direction for about 2 km until you get to rocky headland with a clear view of the lighthouse. At this headland turn, with your back to the lighthouse, and follow the rock shelf up to Seagirt Road. Follow Seagirt, turn left on Berry Point Road, and then left again at the next junction. From here, you can continue along this peaceful shoreline road, or look for trails back to the sandstone shoreline. In about 500 metres, by a roadside nursery stand, you reach the lookout to Entrance Island, with one of the last manned lighthouses on the BC coast. To return, either retrace your route back to the start point, or take the pedestrian/cycle track all the way along Berry Point Road to Ricardo Road and back to Gabriola Sands Provincial Park.
Walk #6—Descanso Valley to Canso Bluff walk (3 km)
Easy country road and short trail walk to a high cliff edge—excellent for sunset watching but dangerous for children and pets. From ferry parking proceed along Easthom Road, passing views of Descanso Bay on your right. Beach accesses are available at Descanso Valley Drive and Easthom. Continue uphill on Easthom to the top, turning left on Canso. About 500 metres along and on your right, watch for a yellow concrete Public Access marker. A short trail takes you between two private properties to an unprotected high cliff lookout with views of Duke Point and Nanaimo. Cormorants nest on this cliff. Stay well back from the high cliff edge. Another high cliff lookout with a slightly different view is down a short path at the end of Canso. Retrace route to ferry parking.
Walks 7 & 8 —Village area loop (3 km) and Gabriola Commons Trail
Walk up a lengthy hill from the ferry or park in the Agi Hall lower lot near the top of the hill. Throughout the summer until Thanksgiving weekend, visit our Farmer’s market there from 10am to 1pm each Saturday. Keep to the right, taking South Road with the post office and The Women’s Institute Hall (built as Gabriola’s school in the 1920s) on your left. Ahead on your right is the Gabriola Museum, where First Nations petroglyphs have been reproduced in concrete. Rubbing kits can be purchased at the museum. Continue along South Road past the Police Station on your right and then past Good Earth Garden on your left. Take next left onto Dogwood Crescent. Continue past Pinewood and then turn left on Redwood to the end. Trail starts immediately to the right of a private drive, where a board crosses the ditch. A small sign indicates "Rollo/School". The trail here can be wet and muddy. Keep a fence on your left and bear right at first fork. This drier section connects to a boardwalk in the grounds of the Gabriola Commons. Take right branch on the boardwalk and turn left after passing through the gap in the fence. Continue with the fence on your left to the Rollo Seniors Centre parking lot and North Road, with the Elementary School across the road. Turn left on North Road toward the village centre and on to Agi Hall, or turn right to do Walk #9 Tin Can Alley Connector Loop.
Walk #8—The Commons trail
The Gabriola Commons welcomes you to walk their trails and use the area to connect to other neighborhoods (see #7 Village Area Walk.) The walk shown is a trail running from the parking lot of Huxley Park (tennis courts) off North Road near the village centre. It connects to the same Redwood Road mentioned in Walk #7 passing near the parking lot of the Rollo Seniors Centre. This connects to the boardwalk and links the east portion of the Commons (house, gardens, orchards etc.) to the southeast portion (allotment gardens) and to the labyrinth just south of the orchard overlooking the pond near the entry of the Poetry Gabriola Yurt.
Walk #9—Tin Can Alley connector loop to 707-acre Park (3–5 km)
Park at Rollo Seniors Centre on North Road, across from the Gabriola Elementary School. Rollo provides seniors activities. It’s also the Gabriola Emergency Centre for the north of the island. Turn right along North Road—the farm alpacas will come to chat, especially if you offer grass. Continue to Tin Can Alley. On your right at the side of North Road is Post #1 at the trailhead leading to 707-acre Park. The map on the post shows all the trails in the 707-acre Park, with a ‘you are here’ red marker. (To orient yourself, remember North is ‘up’ on the map, which is behind you, up Tin Can Alley.)
Follow Tin Can Alley Trail toward 707-acre Park until you see Post #2, at the junction with the Tansy Road allowance. Ignore the cross trail and stay on the Tin Can Alley Trail. When you break out of the tree cover into 707-acre Park, the trail goes left, and meanders a bit, eventually going up the hill to a junction and Post #3, again with a map on top. One option here is to retrace your steps back to North Road.
To make a big loop, at Post #3 take the Erratic Trail, which goes to the right. (Confusingly, Tin Can Alley Trail goes to the left here, and a loop trail goes hard left.) Keep right. Eventually you get to Post #5, with a map on top. This is the Old Centre Road Trail, much used by early residents. Turn right for a short walk to Post #4, at the edge of the park. Eventually this private road will be closed and a new licensed trail marked, but in the meantime it leads out to South Road, diverting around a big fallen fir tree. Turn right, and then right again onto Dogwood Road, and again onto Redwood Road. At the end of Redwood, detour left down a short driveway to the Commons Garden Allotment. To the right a short distance is a cedar walkway (winter rains turn the area into a flood plain). When the walkway divides, go to the right, and then left up the trail back to your car!
707-acre Park is an undeveloped community park in the centre of the island. Enjoy this regenerating young forest on foot, bicycles or horses. Motorized vehicles are not permitted. The network of old logging roads and footpaths can be confusing and surfaces are often rough and sometimes muddy. It is easy to get lost or wander onto private land. The RDN has named many of the trails and installed numbered signposts, some of which have maps on their tops.
Walk 10.1: 707-acre Park Ricki to Jeanette loops: (up to 3 km)
Park at the end of Ricki Avenue. Behind the park gate is Post#18, with a map. Ricki Road Trail splits the 707-acre Park down the middle, with many short loop options to the east.
For the shortest loop, turn left at Post #16 onto Trail to Nowhere. Left again at Post #19 will take you to the end of Jeanette Avenue, which you can walk down to Ricki Avenue.
The next option is to turn left at Post #16, then right at Post #19, straight on at Posts #20 & 21, and stop at Post #22 (at the end of Trail to Nowhere.) Left here brings you to the end of Jeanette, and walk back to Ricki.
"Ridge Run": Turn left to take Trail to Nowhere at Post #16. Keep right at Post #19, and keep right again at Post #20 to take you up to the ridge. Turn right at Post #21, turn right at the twin tracks (with a concrete block) and follow the foot path on the left at the end of the twin tracks to get back to Ricki Trail at Post #15, and return to Ricki (or Jeanette).
The longest loop is to walk Ricki Road Trail to its end at Post #13, which has a map. Turn left on Old Centre Road Trail, passing Posts #33 & 32. Turn left at Post #31 and left again at post #23. (Straight on here would take you to North Road.) Ignore Trail to Nowhere at Post #22 —turn left toward the end of Jeanette, with a short walk to Ricki.
Walk 10.2: 707-acre Park Fisher Road loops, up to 3km
Park at the end of Fisher Road (off Hess). The “Yellow trail” (unofficially named because of early painted signs) starts at Post #29 with a trail map. A short distance on is post #28 at Coats Drive Trail. There are short and long loop options in this area:
Shortest loop –Turn left to get you down to Coats Drive at Post #30. Turn left on Coats, left again on Hess and left again back to Fisher.
The middle unmarked trail and its side trails will take you out of the park onto private driveways, or perhaps into Coat’s Marsh and South Road.
Big loop – Turn right at Post #28 on Coats Drive Trail, left at Post #27, the split going toward North Road. The road will dip into the marsh (which can be a lake in wet weather) but up the hill again to Post #31. Turn right and walk toward Post #23 on Old Centre Road Trail; turn right at Post #24, and right again at Post #26 onto North Rd Trail, and continue to Post #27 on Coats Drive Trail. Bear left and turn left at Post #28 to get back to Fisher Road.
Walk #10.3—707-acre Park to Tait connector
An old overgrown trail has been re-opened roughly parallel to North Road connecting 707-Acre Park to Tait Road. Start at Post #26 near the North Road park entrance and walk roughly southeast until you intersect a dirt road near the park boundary. Turn left to walk toward North Road, and then turn right through the salal to walk roughly parallel to North Road. The trail intersects Elgie Road, where you turn right for a few metres before continuing the trail toward Tait Road, where several trails converge.
This new park has minimal facilities at present, but there are two access points for bird watching and forest exploration. To access the beautiful second growth Douglas-fir forest lands drive or walk 300 metres up Coats Road from South Road to a trail head at the corner by 1034 Coats Road. A simple trail runs 200 metres through a linear extension to the main body of the park and then joins a main trail in the park. A developed public trail loop does NOT exist at present and users should respect the signs indicating private land boundaries.
To get to the formal park entry point: Proceed about 1.1 km further up Coats Road to the first road on the left. Go left on Stanley Road for about 100 metres and park at the turn-around. Proceed on foot about 75 metres (rubber boots are best) past the Coats Marsh Regional Park entry sign to view the wetland and watch birds. At present it is not possible to get to the other side of the wetland without trespassing.
Walk #12—Rollo McClay Park to Orlebar Point or Twin Beaches (up to 10 km return)
You can retrace your steps at any point on this walk—your distance varies, with longest return 10 km. Park at Rollo McClay Park or at Rollo Road and Horseshoe Road.
Turn left along Horseshoe Road to Daniel Way and continue for about 1 km, watching for TRAIL sign on the left. Follow the flagged trail straight up the hill through dense trees. It is steep in places and slippery when wet. Pause at the stunning view over Lock Bay and mainland mountains. The trail emerges on Chelwood, where you proceed straight ahead to Norwich.
A right turn down the hill brings you to Berry Point Road, where you can turn right to Orlebar Point or left toward Twin Beaches (Gabriola Sands Provincial Park) along Berry Point Road.
When returning down Chelwood, look for and follow TRAIL sign on left. Do not follow gravel road beyond this point (private property).
Walk #13—Clarendon–Upper Berry Point connector/loop (3 km loop)
(Reverse the order for a gentler walk.) Park at Orlebar Point overlooking the Entrance Island lighthouse. Walk back along Berry Point Rd. or on the shelving rock beach to Norwich, enjoying views across Georgia Strait to the Coast Mountains. Turn left up Norwich, a steep hill, to Clarendon. Turning left again, follow the gravel road to the end. Continue about 25 metres up a drive marked "Annie’s Acres" and watch on the left for a narrow trail entrance marked by a yellow tape. The trail is rough with exposed roots and rocky places. Views of the water emerge ahead on the right. Trail opens onto a gravel lane where you turn left, keeping the fenced property on your right. Continue bearing right and downhill past an orchard on your left, back to Orlebar Point. This 3 km loop can be incorporated into Walk #12.
Walk #14—Rollo McClay Community Park to Wild Cherry Terrace
(distance depends on chosen route)
Park at Rollo McClay Community Park and walk across the playing fields to the walking trail leaving from the northeast corner of the clearing. The second entry to the walking trails is opposite the junction of Horseshoe and Richie Roads.
Follow the trail east through the forest of the Park to Barrett Rd. Note: This short trail is on private property but it is licensed for public use. Stay on the trail, leash pets and respect boundaries.
Turn right on Barrett Rd. and follow to Honeysuckle. Walk Honeysuckle to the end and follow the trail through the forest to Wild Cherry Terrace.
You can return to your car by backtracking or, for a return road loop, turn right from Wild Cherry onto Buttercup and follow it to North Road. Turn right again to Barrett and right to McClay, where you turn left to return to the park.
For a more extensive walk you can connect to trails at the end of Wild Cherry which lead through to Joyce Lockwood Community Park on unsigned trails in forested public lands.
Walk #15—Sandwell Park and Bell's Landing (2–3 km)
Park at the end of The Strand. Follow the main trail into Sandwell Park, past yellow gate, and continue to the wide but steep descent to the sand/gravel beach, picnic area and public toilets. Or use the trail located on your right just beyond the yellow gate where you will find steps leading to the beach. If the tide is low enough you may turn left and walk the full extent of the bay, returning by the main trail up the hill, which starts near the picnic area. At low tide a longer loop walk can be done from Bell's Landing (the public launch site located towards the end of The Strand). From there, walk to Sandwell Park along the beach, returning up the hill on the park trail. Between Sandwell and Bell's Landing on The Strand, a trail sign points to a community connector path to Fleet Street. Turning left here, you can loop back on Bond and The Strand to Bell's Landing. Parking is available both at the entrance to the Park and at Bellís Landing.
The five community parks with shore access steps in the Whalebone area are best visited at lower tides. The main park is Joyce Lockwood Community Park with trail access (a wooden bridge) at the east end of Whalebone Drive. Follow this woodland trail as far as a boardwalk, and take the steps down to Whalebone Beach. This long sandy beach (at low tide) is a favourite with locals for swimming, sandcastle building and tidal pools. After exploring the beach, walk to the western end of the sandy beach, cross a seasonal creek and follow the rocky shoreline around a cove with waterfront homes on the ledge above. As you round the headland at the end of the cove look for a yellow painted marker. This marks the access trail up the slope into Blue Heron Park. At the top of the slope is a grass area and a sitting area overlooking the water. Seals often use the offshore rocks as a safe sleeping spot. With your back to the sea, cross the grass area and look for a short trail on the right that leads to a gravel road, turn left to Whalebone Drive.The trails to the other three community parks are clearly marked along Whalebone Drive. Each park has a trail to a grass area, a lookout, and steps to the beach. For your first trip it is best to access each park from the road, as this will allow you to become familiar with the location of the beach steps from the waterfront.
Walk #17—Cresta Roca and Timberlane connectors
(distance depends on chosen route)
The trail may be accessed from the end of Timberlane (entrance on the left) connecting with McDonald or if approaching from Cresta Roca, go to the end of Cresta Roca, turn left at the T-junction. Turn right and go to the end of McDonald, past Perry on the left. Look for a path through the woods to connect with Peterson—this trail can be impassably wet in winter.
From Peterson a link can be made to Walk #23 along Dorby and Crocker to the TRAIL marker to the right on the south side of Petroglyph Way. To return directly to the start continue north on Peterson, turning right on North Road to Cresta Roca. From the corner of Timberlane and McDonald it is also possible to turn left to the end of McDonald and find a trail up the embankment to South Road where connections can be made to Walk #21 in either direction.
Easy 500-metre walk of shore access trail at the end of Dragon’s Lane on the right. A yellow concrete PUBLIC ACCESS marker indicates the start of a trail winding down to a rocky cove, which can be accessed at lower tides by a scramble down a steep bank. Keep close to the fenced property on the left to avoid trespassing on adjacent property on right. Views of Coast Mountains from the bank. Trail can be wet.
Easy 1-km return walk. Yellow concrete BEACH ACCESS marker indicates the start of this trail off Coast Road on the SE side between Withey and Fenwick. It winds through woods between adjacent private properties to a small shingle beach in a secluded bay with views of Sear Island. Beach walking limited to 100 metres either direction.
Walks 20 & 21 Drumbeg Provincial Park and surrounds
Walk#20 (2-3 km)—Easy trails and low-tide beach walk with very beautiful views of nearby islands. Start at Drumbeg carpark area, accessed off Stalker Road. Turn left on shoreline trail through a meadow to the last bench, which marks the park boundary. Climb down to the beach on shelving rocks at low tides. Continue along beach about 350m, staying below high tide line to avoid trespassing. Rocks are very slippery when wet. After the 5th house, look for yellow concrete public access marker and a yellow blaze in a tree by a split rail fence. Follow flagged trail through woods for about 1 km to a cross trail. There is a yellow triangle marked beach access on a log on the right. Turn left here and continue 200 metres to Stalker Road. Re-enter Drumbeg Park by the nearby park sign, or, to add another 1 km to your walk, continue down Stalker Road to the end, re-enter park by turning left on the trail above the beach to return throughthe woods to the car park.
Walk #21—Drumbeg Provincial Park to Degnen Bay (7 km)
This walk follows park trails, sandstone beach and country roads. Start at Drumbeg carpark and turn right along the shoreline and forest trail to the beach end of Stalker Road. Turn left down low bank to beach and follow high tide line to the right for 100 metres. Look for steps made out of car tires leaving the beach. At the top of the steps follow the road allowance trail for 200 metres until it reaches the end of a dirt road. Follow road about 300 metres to the corner of Sir William Drive and St. Catherine’s Drive. Turn right along Sir William Drive for about 1 km. Degnen Bay, with its government wharf and many private docks, will be to your left. Continue to South Road. Turn left and left again onto Bevmaril Cres. After 100m turn left on Maple Lane. At the top of the bluff take the steep narrow trail beside the fire hydrant to the wharf. Walk around the wharf for a view of the entire pretty bay. Look for sunflower sea stars under the wharf. From the wharf follow Degnen Rd along the shoreline to South Road. Turn right and walk 1.2 km to Coast Road. From Coast Road turn right onto Stalker and either turn left down the signed main trail into Drumbeg Park or walk all the way to the water at the end of Stalker and then turn left on the shoreline trail into the park and follow it back to the carpark. If the tide is low, you may choose to walk the rock beach back to the car park.
Walks #22 and 23; starting from South Road near Degnen Bay
Walk #22—Gray Rd to Islands View and Islands View to Cooper Rd (1 km loop)
This loop is a combination of two trails. One is 500-metre public trail through forested land between Gray and the beach along the Evans Road allowance. The other, Robinson Woods Trail, runs from Islands View to Cooper on privately owned land between Cooper and Thompson. It is licensed for public use, so please follow the green markers and stay on the trail.
To access the first trail turn left on Gray Road and after passing the first driveway on the right at the end of the fence, turn right across the ditch to a trail running between two fenced properties. Keep bearing right until the trail seems to enter a property and then bear left. There are giant ferns and mossy tree trunks with planks over a seasonal stream. A steep decline to the beach between two houses should be used with care. Beach is only accessible at very low tides. Turn right to connect with the Islands View shore access and follow it to connect with the Robinson Woods Trail. The Islands View beach access runs from the very east end of Islands View starting straight to the beach, and then on a diagonal. The Robinson Woods Trail also starts straight east and then up the hill. The Robinson Woods Trails can also be accessed from Cooper Road.
Walk #23—Petroglyph Trail loop (6 km)
An easy trail and road walk. Park at the United Church, on South Road opposite Price. Trail starts beside the Petroglyph sign and follows a fence on the right to a flat mossy area. Petroglyphs are of various sizes carved in the surface of the exposed rock here. Avoid walking on this exposed rock to protect the petroglyphs from further erosion. They have weathered since their mossy covering was removed and are now well-worn and very hard to see. They are most visible after rain and when the sun is at an angle. The path and open area can be boggy in winter months.
From the far side of the mossy area a trail leads to Petroglyph Way between several private properties and along a road allowance. Turn right at TRAIL sign and watch carefully for the flagging, marking trail boundaries. Take special care to avoid trespassing into on adjacent private property and please leash your dogs. Alternate access from the parking lot is available by a path to the west of the lot through the woods. Watch for a connecting path turning north which will lead to the TRAIL sign.
At trail's end turn right to Crocker, left to Dorby, right to Peterson, right to South Road and right to return to the church. For a woodsy 2 km extension to a beach access, turn left on Cooper from South Road before reaching the United Church and explore the trails described in Walk #22.
Walk #24—False Narrows shoreline walk Brickyard beach to cemetery(4 km)
Easy beach walk accessible at mid to low tides. Access at Brickyard Beach off South Road at the foot of Ferne Road. Brickyard Beach is covered with broken discarded bricks from the brick factory which used to stand on the hill above until the 1950s. The factory imported coal from Nanaimo to fire its kilns, unloading it at the beach and loading bricks onto the same scows for export to Vancouver and Victoria. Nowadays, there are oysters and clams in the inter-tidal zone of the beach and much birdlife in the winter and spring, with views across Percy Anchorage toward Harmac pulp mill, Jack Point, Nanaimo, and Mt. Benson. Walk along the grass bank between the beach and South Road and head down to the beach before you reach the first house. Turn left and continue around to walk southeast along the shoreline of False Narrows. The tidal flow in the narrows can be very strong, and looks like a river. Across the channel is Mudge Island and soon you pass the El Verano boat launch area, a transfer point for Mudge residents. Continue along the shoreline, following False Narrows as it gradually opens to Pylades Channel with a beautiful view southeast toward Valdes Island and other Gulf Islands. At low tide herons are often abundant on the mudflats, which are rich clam beds still harvested by the Snunéymuxw First Nations. Almost 2.5 km from the start you will see a wide track going up the slope from the beach. This is the Beach Access next to Gabriola Cemetery at the corner of South Road and Stokes. At this point you can return to Brickyard Beach along the beach or follow the trail up past the Cemetery and turn left to walk along South Road. Or you could extend your southeasterly walk along the shoreline toward Spring Beach (Walk #25)
Walk #25.1—Community Hall to Stokes Road and Clamshell Drive
Thanks to new two trail licences in 2015, you can now trail walk from the bottom of Garland Drive near the Community Hall, through to Lois Lane at the end of Stokes Road. The walk includes a lovely loop through a Garry oak meadow. At Stokes Road you can either walk down directly to South Road and a very good beach access next to the Gabriola Cemetery, or walk up to the end of Clamshell Drive where it turns south, and pick up the trail straight down to South Road next the fence of Twin Oaks Farm.
Walk #25.2—False Narrows sand bar near the cemetery to Spring Beach (5 km return)
This beach walk is accessible at mid to low tides. For the first few hundred metres, you may have to scramble over rocky breakwaters unless the tide is very low. Access from South Road across from Stokes Road between mailboxes and Gabriola Cemetery, on a wide trail leading to shoreline. At the beach, turn left to walk east. Before you start, make a note of where you are so you can find this access point on your return. The walk follows the continually eroding shale slopes, and picturesque waterfalls are a feature in the wet months. Across Pylades Channel to your right, you can see the low profile of Link and DeCourcy Islands, and ahead, the high cliffs of Valdes Island. Soon you round a headland with a farm pasture that slopes down to the beach. About 500 metres further on you reach Spring Beach and beyond it are spectacular high sandstone cliffs. Take a close look at the erosion patterns in these sandstone formations. Turn around and retrace your route. You will be rewarded with different vistas on your return journey.
This beautiful nature conservation area lies north of North Road and west of Seawind Drive. It includes some old-growth forest and forest wetland, and some rare and vanishing species live here. Elder Cedar Reserve is owned by the Islands Trust Fund, who have requested that the trails not be marked on our maps. If you explore the area (on foot only please, with pets closely leashed), please respect this special environment. Stay on the main trails and boardwalks within the Reserve boundaries and do not trespass on adjacent properties.