Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island

Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg

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.

 Ferry Earls Cove Saltery.jpg
 Ferry Earls Cove Saltery.jpg
 Ferry Earls Cove Saltery - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg

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.

Powell River Rocky Mountain Bakery.jpg

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.  

Powell River Ferry Dock.jpg
Powell River Ferry Dock.jpg

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.

Powell River Salish Orca Ferry - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg

We enjoyed this new ferry route as we headed to the Comox Valley for outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island.

Fall Colours In Comox

On our last trip to BC, we enjoyed a stay in Courtney as we explored the area.  So we were familiar with the Comox area and easily found our way to the waterfront area.  

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.

Harbour View.jpg

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.

Comox Art.jpg

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.

Courtenay Old House Hotel - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg
Courtenay Old House Hotel.jpg
Courtenay Old House Hotel.jpg

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.

Courtenay Old House Food Locals Restaurant - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg
Courtenay Old House Food Locals Restaurant.jpg
Courtenay Old House Food Locals Restaurant - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg

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.

Courtenay Puntledge Salmon Hatchery.jpg
Courtenay Puntledge Salmon Hatchery.jpg
Courtenay Puntledge Salmon Hatchery - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg

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.

Courtenay Puntledge Salmon Hatchery.jpg

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.

Lake Comox - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg
Lake Comox Dam.jpg

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.

Browns Falls Courtenay.jpg

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.  

Browns Falls Courtenay - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg
Browns Falls Courtenay.jpg

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.

Browns Falls Courtenay - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg
Browns Falls Courtenay - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg

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.

Nymph Falls Courtenay.jpg

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.

Nymph Falls Courtenay.jpg

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.

Nymph Falls Courtenay - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg
Nymph Falls Courtenay - Comox Valley For Outdoor Adventure On Vancouver Island.jpg

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.

Nymph Falls Courtenay.jpg
Nymph Falls Courtenay.jpg

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?

Save For Later – PIN to Pinterest

We would love if you could share this!
About TravelAtWill 704 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

60 Comments

  1. I like the hotel you chose. I usually stay in an Airbnb because I like the freedom of cooking some of my own meals. It saves time and allows for more sightseeing. But it seems your hotel suite provided the same conveniences. Plus it looked like it would have beautiful views.

  2. Wow, Comox Valley on Vancouver Island looks like an amazing destination! Thank you for sharing all your favorite spots and tips. Old House Hotel sounds like a great place for us. We love rooms with views but also try to always book hotels or homes with kitchens, so that we can do a lot of our own cooking. the falls you visited all look like must-dos. We always seek out water falls when possible, so I’ll be saving these for our future trip. 🙂

  3. It’s amazing that you researched Browns River Falls as it appears to be a great hiking spot with a pretty waterfall. Glad to hear you were able to venture without a problem. But think the trails that led you to Nymph Falls are most incredible. Sounds like a great BC trip which makes me want to get out there again.

  4. wow, you guys really got after it. glad you ended up hiking down that treacherous trail…did you have to use the rope to get down and back up? Also, how much did that long ferry cost you? Been thinking about making that trip when we visit our friends on Vashon Island.

    • We did indeed go up and down the trail using the rope. Glad it was there. I don’t remember what the ferry cost but it was a fun trip up along the Sunshine Coast and over the Vancouver Island at Comox. Just need to know that the middle ferry on the Sunshine Coast is not bookable. So need to plan for that.

  5. Oh my gosh, you guys, I cannot get enough of those pictures with the bright blue sky and the turquoise waters – I can almost hear the seaguls screaching 😉 Then, there is this mellow autumn light – Comox Valley looks like such a beautiful and serene place to just unwind and recharge those big city batteries.Why is Canada so far from Europe?! (fyi – this is a rethoric question 😉 )

    • We were glad we spent some time exploring the outdoor sights around Comox Valley. Our first visit we did not plan enough time. So it was great to go back for a longer stay. Fall is a great time to visit British Columbia … for your Canada planning !

  6. Your visit to Comox valley for outdoor adventure in Vancouver island is quite inspiring one with a cozy and luxurious place like Old House hotel at Courtney as you our base. It was great that you got to spot some fall colors in Comox and excellent views from the dock studded with maritime decorations.You were lucky to spot some salmons in the Puntledge river Salmon hatchery which is rare. Also you hike to the Brown river falls and Nymph falls looks exciting with amazing views of the cascading falls.

  7. Traveling by ferry seems fun, and you surely made the best of it while waiting. Comox Valley in fall looks so lovely with the trees changing their colors. It was unfortunate that Puntledge River Salmon Hatchery was closed on your visit, but I’m glad you could spot some salmon too. Both the hikes to Browns River Falls and Nymph Falls look amazing!

  8. Comox Valley outdoor is definitely gorgeous! I can’t imagine how fantastic it will be when fall colors are at its peak. Browns River Fall will look spectacular with yellow and red colors in the background, as well as Lake Comox.

  9. Looks like there are some fabulous outdoor adventures in the Comox Valley. The food looks pretty good too. I’m glad you got down to the Falls. They are beautiful. Sorry about missing the salmon. I’ve always enjoyed the salmon runs.

  10. I love Vancouver Island but could not visit this part of Comox Valley. But I hope to see friends next summer, so I add those places to my list, especially the hike to Browns River Falls and Puntledge River Salmon Hatchery. The Old House Hotel seems to be an excellent place to stay.

  11. So beautiful photos and a nice weather ! Glad that the hiking paths were open, and you could hike. I love the color of the water and its mood in all the photos. The reflection pic was icing on the cake. The hotel also looks nice & comfortable. Comox Valley looks fun to enjoy. 🙂

  12. Indeed, with blue skies and shining sun, it looks like a perfect day for ferry trip. Old House Hotel sounds perfect with its view & kitchenette. The breakfast looks absolutely delicious. Too bad that the Salmon Hatchery facility was closed. It totally wanted to know all about it from your blog. Hiking to Browns River Falls is definitely worth it as you say. The water is crystal clear at Nymph falls. Good that you took the difficult trail, totally worth it!

  13. That was a great trip! You certainly was able to explore the area and the surroundings are beautiful. Love your photo of the mini waterfalls with the fall color background. Happy to know that you enjoyed your trip.

    Looking forward to hearing more about trip south and your next stay on Vancouver Island.

    • David kept taking me to new sights assuring me I would see salmon running. Every sight was a dud on this trip. But we kept trying. Good thing we found some great sights on our travels.

  14. Another great Canada adventure to add to my bucket list. That Old House Hotel looks wonderful and so does the food! Lots of outdoor options is always a bonus for us. Thanks for the tips.

    • There are so many great outdoor adventures to be had travelling around BC. We loved the chance to explore the outdoor adventures in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island on this trip. And we sure did eat well!

  15. Wow this is going on my wishlist! What a beautiful place! I’ve cruised around but never visited Vancouver island but surely will next time!

    • I hope you do get to visit Vancouver Island when you get to British Columbia. So much to see and do around the whole island. Many people miss going this far north but it is well worth it.

  16. Looks like some great outdoor adventure at Comox on Vancouver Island in British Columbia! I would especially love hiking to Brown River Falls and Nymph Falls…so pretty!

  17. Vancouver Island has a lot to offer and the autumn colours in Comox are so pretty against the blue skies. The hikes in Comox Valley with this incredible scenery would be my kind of place to explore!

  18. This looks like the perfect area to head to if you enjoy doing outdoor activities. I would love to explore Vancouver Island in the summer and take advantage of everything.

  19. Your accommodation looks great! I always appreciate having cooking facilities on a longer trip. Too bad that the hatchery was closed but the views of the falls and river from the trails are still beautiful. Thanks for sharing this adventure!

    • Our stay in Courtenay was the perfect way to enjoy the Comox Valley. Many days we finished our days too tired to worry much about eating. So great to have a place for quick and cheaper meals. A great outdoor adventure.

  20. The Comox Valley looks lovely. I especially would love the hike to Brown River Falls and to visit Nymph Falls – wow it was so beautiful. And the hotel that you chose looks really nice. What a nice fall getaway!

We love to get your comments!