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).
About the Trail:
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!
Five hikes completed. 104,956 steps taken. 25 more hikes to go.
I think I need a nap!