Distance Walked: 10.75 km
Walking Time: 3 hrs
Trail Rating: Easy
Although a familiar trek for local off-leash dog walkers and community hiking groups, I consider this trail to be another hidden gem. It is not currently listed on Alltrails. Google wasn’t much help either.
Just before reaching the gate for Pheasant Glen Golfcourse, off of Qualicum Road, you will notice a small parking lot beside a trail to your left. A sign at the entrance warns: “Unmaintained Natural Trail. Use Caution. Difficult Terrain. May Be Unsuitable to Some People.”
If you are seeking a relatively flat, peaceful, forest trail, with multiple path options, this one is for you. It’s a great place to get out, breath and clear the cobwebs from your mind. For the first hour today, wildflowers, trees, birds and trails were our sole companions (other than each other, of course).
On a clear day, you are rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Arrowsmith. Today was not a clear day. Still, that did not detract from the natural beauty surrounding us.
In our second hour, we did run into a few dog walkers, including a very fascinating and chatty woman named Carol. Within five minutes of meeting her, we learned that Carol has never owned a mobile phone or computer. She has never been on an airplane, and she drives a 21-year-old Toyota 4-Runner. We also learned that she was once locked inside the gates of Horne Lake. Fortunately, she had a saw in her truck, so she carved her way out via an ATV path. Most importantly, we learned where two bears that frequent this area hang out. This was not a good time to realize that our bear spray was back in our Jeep!
As many paths do crisscross, using a tracking app or map download, like Wikiloc, may be helpful (although Carol would likely mock this suggestion).
To discover more local hikes like this one, many community walking groups do post their hikes online. For the Qualicum Beach area, you can find an example from the Newcomers’ Association here, with more details here.