Hiking, Vancouver Island

Day 5: Coombs-Parksville Railtrail

Trail: Coombs-Parksville Railtrail
Distance Walked: 15 km
Walking Time: 3 h 9 m
Difficulty: Very Easy

When preparing to hike the Via Francigena last summer, Richard and I did a dress-rehearsal (inclusive of full backpack and Italian lunch) along the Coombs-Parksville Railtrail. It was one of the highlights of our VF training. So, it only made sense that we include this trail in our COVID-Camino (aka #30hikesin30days).

Richard and me during our 2019 Via Francigena dress rehearsal.

About the Trail:

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 10.00.18 PM

The Coombs-Parksville Rail Trail was opened in late 2016. This 3-metre wide, compacted gravel path extends for 7 km (one way) and is fully accessible. It follows the south side of the E&N tracks between Coombs and Parksville. There are numerous entry and exit points, as well as trail markers at each kilometre along the way.

This Trail was made possible by the assistance of Federal Gas Tax Funding. The Regional District of Nanaimo allocated $2.676M. An additional $0.525M was made available from Community Work Funds. I am grateful to live in an area that values and encourages outdoor recreation, and puts money towards these values.

Our Railtrail Experiene: 

As this trail runs directly behind the Parksville-Qualicum SPCA, where Richard and I volunteer, we have been on it numerous times before (usually with a dog in-tow). Views from this trail are not as diverse or as stunning as others that we have hiked. However, it is highly likely that you will spot an eagle (or two, or three), as well as hawks and a variety of other birds.

Best of all, this trail is a safe and convenient way to travel between Parksville and Coombs on foot, bike, stroller, mobility scooter or horseback (ATV and motorcycles are not allowed). As soon as you step off the Coombs trail, you are immediately surrounded by funky shops, places to eat/shop/browse…and even goats on a roof (seriously) Now, how can you beat that?

Although we were too early for Italian Lunch at Cuckoos…our timing was just right for coffee and breakfast at Billy Gruff’s Bistro. Perfect!All Photos - 1 of 1

Five hikes completed. 104,956 steps taken. 25 more hikes to go.
I think I need a nap!


60 thoughts on “Day 5: Coombs-Parksville Railtrail”

  1. Hi Donna, What a beautiful trail and I’d love to see eagles and hawks. I passed by Goats on the Roof on my way from Parksville to Tofino. You are doing great with your hike challenge. Cheers!


    1. Hi, Natalie – The eagles in that area are quite confident. Three of them landed close by to where I was walking which made it easy for me to capture an okay-shot just by using my smartphone. Thank you for continuing to follow along!


  2. I need a nap keeping up with reading your posts, Donna! Day 5, you are killing it, and you captured an eagle with your lens!! One of my bucket list photos! Pretty area and I’m still chuckling at “COVID-Camino!


      1. I remember that you posted your hikes daily, Donna. As we get nearer to moving north, I’m very interested in seeing the scenery! Your posts are very inspiring to me and most others I’m sure! Keep on truckin’ !


  3. That’s a massive step count so far. Coombs looks like a funky place. I love how communities are investing in accessible trails and rail trails are perfect for that.


  4. Your photos are beautiful on this series, Donna. The descriptions are very helpful. Coombs is always fun. We often stop for an ice cream cone since many flavour options. We have not been since this flu, of course. Lots of fun to follow you and Richard along.xx


    1. Hi, Deb – The eagles out here are incredible. If I want a quick and easy way to ensure that visitors get a good viewing of several eagles, I simply take them on the Coombs trail behind the SPCA. It works like magic every single time! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, I’m so impressed by the distance you covered and the natural beauty. Thank you for taking us along. 🙂


  6. I’m over on Gabriola Island and was looking to meet a friend from Port Alberni for a walk – this trail sounds ideal. I walked the Portuguese Coastal Camino last year and am determined to walk the Camino Frances next year – if travel restrictions lift! I’m always looking for new trails!


    1. Hi, Helen – I am delighted to meet a fellow hiker, and Camino Trail walker. My husband and I have walked four Caminos so far (Portugal to SdC, SJPDP to Najera, Najera to SdC and Via Francigena). I have written these trails on this blog. Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can help answer any questions about any of these hikes.
      I hope that you and you and your friend enjoy the Coombs Railtrail. Again, not the most scenic views, but easy walking and Coombs is a true blast! 😀


  7. Hi Donna – your hiking inspires me – and there are so many lovely places around you to do it in! Interesting that you have a rail trail (like Deb has in Tumbarumba) and I found out that there’s one not far from me too – it’s in my one-day list to check it out. Loved that the town was so pretty and that you got to eat out to celebrate at the end.


  8. This is a fantastic challenge you have set yourselves, and a great idea! Loving your photo’s and descriptions of the hikes too. Now I have come across goats on a roof, but would love to see a few eagles on my hikes 🙂


  9. Hi Donna – those rail trails are brilliant aren’t they – Coombs sounds fun – I drove past … but no stopping. Goat towers … love them and saw them in Portugal and South Africa – fun … totally bemusing, actually! Take care and loving your 30 day challenge – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Donna – I hope my comment got through … love those train trails, then Coombs and the goat tower … fun – beautiful views too … all the best – Hilary


    1. Hi, Marty – Thanks for reading and commenting. Were your ears burning earlier today? I was chatting with Erica and she mentioned how much she enjoyed your posts. (All true!) I hope that all is well for you and Gorgeous!


  11. We like to do this one on our bikes, with a stop for lunch in Coombs. It’s a nice easy ride with almost no hills. And as for eagles, we have many of them here on the Island, but you’re guaranteed to see them at the Transfer Station (garbage dump/landfill) that this trail passes by. Last time we also saw vultures.



    1. Hi, Jude – I agree that this is also an excellent bike path. And yes, the landfill station is an excellent spot to see eagles, hawks and vultures. Thanks for reading and commenting. I greatly appreciate it!


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