Visit The Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island
From our stay on the Sunshine Coast we travelled to the Comox Valley for outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island in British Columbia (BC). Our first stop on Vancouver Island was a stay at the Old House Hotel on the river in Courtenay
When the rainy weather broke, we headed outside and explored the Comox Valley. It was fall and we searched for salmon runs but found no rivers teaming with fish. But when we looked for waterfalls, we were far more successful and visited both the Browns River Falls and the Nymph Falls. So many great outdoor experiences.
Heading To Comox On Vancouver Island
After our great stay on the Sunshine Coast, we packed and headed for the ferry off the Sunshine Coast. When we came over to the Sunshine Coast, we did the BC Ferries trip from Horseshoe Bay and landed at Gibsons Landing on the Sunshine Coast. But leaving for Vancouver Island, we chose not to go back to Horseshoe Bay for a ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
Instead we drove north. About an hours drive north of Sechelt, we took the ferry from Earl’s Cove to Saltery Bay. There were no bookings for this ferry so we arrived early to make sure we got on. It was a great day for a ferry ride.
From there we drove about another hour to Powell River. We had a ferry booked from Powell River to Comox on Vancouver Island. We arrived about 2 hours before our ferry and parked. It was enough time to walk up into the town where we got a coffee and a snack.
When we returned to the ferry dock, we wandered around the ferry terminal. We enjoyed the views of the marina and the maritime decorations on the pier.
We watched our ferry pull into the dock. And we reflected on all the travel by ferries we did this year. It was yet another great water trip.
We enjoyed this new ferry route as we headed to the Comox Valley for outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island.
Fall Colours In Comox
The fall colours had just started to bring colour to the trees. It was easy to see why Comox translated to “Land of Plenty”. We found a cafe and stopped to enjoy the views.
On this visit, we headed over to Comox a few times and explored the waterfront areas. Comox was one of the places we were looking at as a place to live. So we wandered from street to street assessing the options. On one of our drives, we were amused by the house decorations we found. And wondered if this was an early Halloween display.
It was easy to visit Comox on our stay in Courtenay.
Staying On The Waterfront
When we planned our visit to Western Canada, we knew we wanted to stay in the Comox or Courtenay area. Initially we considered an Airbnb stay. But then we found the Old House Hotel right on the Courtenay River waterfront. We booked a one bedroom suite with a view and cooking facilities. It was a good way to cook some of our own meals. With a great afternoon treat in the lobby of fresh baked cookies.
The hotel had two wings and between the wings was the Locals Restaurant. This was a great spot for tasty food when we didn’t want to cook. One day we splurged on brunch with cinnamon bun French toast. And I enjoyed my turkey dinner for Thanksgiving there. Although David passed on turkey for fresh local seafood.
Located right by the Island Highway, the Old House Hotel was a perfect base to explore the Comox Valley for outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island.
Visiting The Puntledge River Salmon Hatchery
On our fall visit to BC, we hoped to fully experience the fall salmon run. At several stops on our stay on Vancouver Island, we headed for the rushing rivers in our search. On our stay in Courtenay, we visited the Puntledge River Salmon Hatchery. This facility was originally set up to save the chinook salmon from extinction. When we travelled to Newfoundland, we learned much about east coast salmon on our visit to Grand Falls Windsor. So we looked forward to a west coast salmon experience.
The hatchery facility was closed when we visited. But the hiking paths were still open. We walked down the driveway and then scrambled down the steep cliff to the water. From there we saw the water as it came over the spillway. And watched the heron trying to find the salmon in the water. A few times we saw lone salmon swim by.
Disappointed with the lack of salmon, we circled around the hatchery and went upriver for another view. We found larger groups of salmon that seemed to be resting in the calmer waters by the side. We were sure they were tired from their jump up the spillway. Even if we never saw them jump.
On our visit to the Comox Valley for outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island we searched for views of the spawning salmon. We figured we were still a bit early for the season.
Lake Comox In The Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure
All of the maps of the Comox Valley clearly showed Lake Comox. Our map showed roads that went to the lake and the dam. But we soon learned that the paved roads did not take us all the way!
We followed the dirt roads slowly until we came out to the lake. The blue skies provided great reflection views of the lake and the changing fall colours. We parked by the single lane bridge and saw the dam on the Puntledge River from above.
We were glad we stayed on the dirt roads and saw Lake Comox. This was a great spot for outdoor adventure in the Comox Valley.
Hiking In To Browns River Falls
We were glad we did some research to find Browns River Falls before we set out. We went north on Hwy 19 and turned east onto Piercy Rd and watched for the opening under the power transmission lines. It was clear we were in the right place when we found cars parked on the roadside.
The walk along the clearing was easy. We watched for the path that went off into the woods using our offline map. The path was easy to follow but it got rougher as we walked. We heard the rushing water and found a very steep path that led down. Ropes were strung between trees to help with getting down and climbing back up.
David quickly scrambled down. But it took me a little while longer before I decided to do the climb. It was definitely worth going down! We got great views of waters that tumbled over the rocks. With the beautiful fall colours behind them. The water headed downriver and was joined by the flow from smaller waterfalls on the other side.
We were glad we found the Browns River Falls when we explored the Comox Valley for outdoor adventure. This is not an accessible path and the last cliff may not be for everyone. But the view in the fall was lovely.
Don’t Miss A Visit To Nymph Falls
When we planned our travels around the Comox Valley for outdoor adventure, we had Nymph Falls on our plans. But our day trip ran late and we considered passing on this visit. But we were so glad we changed our mind!
We followed the map to the parking lot at the Nymph Falls Nature Area. The trail map showed us different routes to the falls. The Midline Trail was smoother and more level. It was marked as wheelchair accessible. The trail split at one point and we headed onto the hiking path. We were interested to see this path marked as “Boots Only” – clearly saying that bikes were not allowed on this path.
The path became much rougher than the Midline Trail but we soon heard rushing water. We scrambled down the path and got our first view of the water as it cascaded over the rocks.
We kept walking along the water and came to the main viewpoint for Nymph Falls. The Midline Trail came out at this point. Large flat rocks went out into the water flow. We had great views of the waterfalls up and downstream from here.
We had a short time with few people at the viewpoint. But then a large group showed up. So we kept walking down the path and found stairs that took us to a lower viewpoint. After getting another view of Nymph Falls, I sat on the eagle bench and posed.
We took the easier Midline Trail back to the parking lot. We were very glad we did not miss this stop on our travels around Comox Valley.
Visit The Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island
We enjoyed a five day stay in Courtenay and explored the Comox Valley for outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island. The Old House Hotel was the perfect spot to use as a base for exploration. With lots of space, cooking facilities and a fireplace, we were cosy for the rainy days.
But when the skies cleared we headed to the outdoors. We meandered our way and saw Lake Comox. Then hiked the trails to both Browns River Falls and Nymph Falls. Our visit to the Puntledge River Salmon Hatchery failed to give us the view of a salmon run we searched for.
From Courtenay we headed south for our next stay on Vancouver Island.
Did you explore Comox Valley for outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island? Any places we missed?
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