5 Unique Locations to Explore in Nanaimo, BC
Here are five great reasons to make Nanaimo one of the top places to explore.
This small Provincial Park offers a glimpse into the early mining history of Nanaimo. In 1912 there was a working coal mine at this very location. What’s left is the last remaining coal tipple on Vancouver Island.
Secured behind a chain link fence, the large structure is visible right from the parking area. There is also a short trail that circumvents the artifact.
This Provincial Park is located just south of the Duke Point ferry terminal. Heading south on Highway #1 (towards Ladysmith), turn right onto Morden Road, and follow to the end.
The H.R. MacMillan Grant Ainscough Arboretum is an unofficial park owned by the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN). The site used to attract university groups from across the province, who studied the behaviour and growth of exotic trees. What’s left is 150 species of trees that are now maintained and monitored by volunteers, as well as the RDN. Visitors to the area will be delighted with the plaques and interpretive signs giving details of each trees origin.
The Arboretum is also located near the Duke Point ferry terminal. From the Duke Point Highway, follow the signs as if you are heading to Jack Point & Biggs Park (off Maughan Road). Turn right onto Phoenix Way, and immediately turn right again. You will see a yellow gate and the sign for the park.
A short 1 km hike through a grove of Douglas Fir trees takes you to a rocky shoreline of sandstone ledges and tidal pools. This area is part of the geological heritage of Vancouver Island and represents ancient sea beds.
The rocky beach offers great opportunities for wildlife viewing. Seals and otters are often found basking on the warm rocks, while Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagles and a variety of seabirds soar overhead.
The park is in Yellow Point, just south of Nanaimo. Take the Cedar Road exit from Hwy 1, and then turn onto Yellow Point Road. Follow signs to the park.
The 16-inch-wide earthquake fissure, located on the Extension Ridge trail, is known locally as ‘The Abyss’. Although not much is known about this large crack in the earth, there is speculation that it could be a result of a collapsed mine tunnel that was triggered by an earthquake years ago. To date there is no information about how deep the crack really is.
The trailhead is found off Harewood Mines Road in South Nanaimo. There is a small parking area under the power lines, and a large sign to let you know you have arrived at Extension Ridge. Head up the trail (under the power lines) for approximately 100 meters and climb the stairs. Keeping right, continue to follow the trail for approximately 15 minutes to reach the earthquake fissure.
This small South Nanaimo Provincial Park has the most concentrated collection of ancient rock carvings on Vancouver Island.
A clearly marked paved trail will lead you through the park to view the petroglyphs. Information boards and replicas near the beginning of the trail provide details about the history of the area and help decipher the carvings.
The real petroglyphs are scattered around the park, and although hard to see due to being moss covered, finding them is half the fun!
Access this park right off Hwy #1. Watch for signs as you are heading north towards downtown Nanaimo. The park comes up quickly on your righthand side just after Haliburton Street. There is a large parking area at the trailhead.
If this area interests you, check out our drive:
From Coast to Coast on Vancouver Island: Vancouver to Tofino
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Published: August 16th, 2018
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