Hammerfest Trails - Parksville, BC

April 17, 2011

Well I finally did it… I finally rode the Hammerfest trails! All it took was someone to organize an outing and I was all over it. Now I’m really wondering why I didn’t ride them sooner.

The trails are pretty easy to find, assuming you know where Englishman River Falls are. That was my downfall… I had assumed there’s a sign on the Old Island Highway (I could’ve sworn there used to be one) and missed my turn, which landed me in Parksville. D’oh! Not necessarily a bad thing since I got to stop in at Arrowsmith Bikes for a bit since I needed to ask for directions, however this also made me incredibly late meeting everyone and I am so glad they waited for me! I think I owe them all a beer or two for that.

Anyway, to get to the trails take the Alberni Highway (there’s a turnoff in downtown Parksville, the turnoff I was looking for was a shorter route from Courtenay) and turn onto Errington Road. Follow the signs to Englishman River Falls, however the trails are just before that. Keep your eyes open for a logging road on the right hand side with a big yellow gate. This is where the trails start. Or you can start from the parking lot at Englishman River Falls, which also has flush toilets and drinking water for those creature comforts.

We started off from the yellow gate and followed the logging road up until we reached a trail called Brian’s Worm. It isn’t marked but you’ll see the trail on the right hand side. It’s your typical west coast trail, lots of roots and loose rock, but a somewhat easy climb (I say somewhat because I’m not the best climber). However, the trail does branch off and gives you a choice. You can go to the right which apparently is a straight up, steep climb, or you can go to the left which is a bit more rolling with a few switchbacks with just one short hike-a-bike section. Both lead to the same spot so it’s just whatever you prefer. Once you get to the top, there’s a big rock slab that you can sit on and admire the view of Nanoose, Lasqueti Island, and far off in the distance you can see Texada Island as well.

The next trail we rode is relatively new and not named on the map, but if you follow the logging road to the right instead of continuing on the road leading up, look closely and you’ll see the beginnings of a trail at the edge of the clear cut on the right hand side. From here on it’s all downhill, but in a good way! We linked onto a couple more trails and then ended up on a trail called Barf Bag. I was hoping that wasn’t something we were going to need… It was just fast, flowy singletrack. The trail lead us onto Hugh’s Jaunt, and we ended on Missing Link which took us back to the yellow gate and our cars.

There are several trails in this area and they seem to be interconnected. Something to keep in mind when travelling with a group as we lost one member to a different trail that forked off the one we were on. (Yay for cell phones!) None of the trails were overly technical and I would classify them as intermediate. Most of the trails are well marked, with the exception of the newer ones. Our ride was fairly social and I had to remember to look up to see the trail signs to see what we were riding. Lots of laughs and just a really good ride.

You can access a trail map online, however there weren’t any available at the bike shops. To get a copy of the map, please click here.

I forgot to turn on my GPS until I was halfway up Brian’s Worm, but here’s what I did capture if you wanted a better idea of terrain, etc.

Hammerfest at EveryTrail

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