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I've been on a bit of a waterfall hunt lately, which is thankfully easy to do on Vancouver Island.
We are definitely blessed with a lot of beauties here. So many, in fact, that writing about them will have to be broken down into regions. Which is exactly what I plan on doing...soon. But this particular waterfall. Oh. My. Word. This one stole my heart completely. And it's not just the falls that are breathtaking. The trail leading up to the falls is truly magnificent too! I knew right away that this spot deserved its own post. If not for the images alone (but it's even better in person). Without further ado, I present to you, Rosewall Creek Falls.
Access to the falls is through Rosewall Creek Provincial Park, which is situated between Bowser and Fanny Bay. The park offers a small day-use area with picnic tables overlooking beautiful Rosewall Creek. There is also a short loop trail that runs along both sides of the creek, which leads you over an abandoned rail trestle. But the trail you want to go on to get to the falls follows the creek upstream and under the highway bridge. Although the trail starts at the Provincial Park, you will actually be walking beyond the park boundaries to reach the falls.
In the parking area, you will see a memorial sign for Lt. Ian MacDonald. The park was established in 1956 in memory of this Fanny Bay resident, who died in action during the allied invasion of Normandy during World War II.
Rosewall Creek Provincial Park is located approximately 3 km south of Fanny Bay.
Alternatively, and for a more scenic drive, you can take Hwy 19A all the way from Parksville. This meandering highway will lead you through French Creek, Qualicum Beach, Qualicum Bay and Bowser before you reach Berray Road.
From the parking area at the Provincial Park, take the trail that leads you upstream (left at the memorial sign mentioned above). Within a few minutes, you will be winding your way around and under both of the highway bridges (Hwy 19 and 19A). From there you will leave the highway noise behind and continue to follow the creek upstream. The trail is within a second-growth forest of Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Grand Fir, Western Red Cedar, and Sitka Spruce. There are also plenty of Alder and Big Leaf Maple trees too (I can only imagine how beautiful this place must look in the Fall!). The forest is also rich with lichen, moss, fungus, and mushrooms creating a beautiful woodland scene.
Although this rustic trail is relatively flat, with only a few short inclines, there are a lot of obstacles to pass over. To give you an idea of what I mean when I say obstacles, there are many large stumps and logs to manoeuvre around or duck under, and a few creeks to cross over (on man-made bridges). My eight-year-old son counted 78 of these obstacles. (But please keep in mind that being little makes even the smallest of obstacles more difficult). I assure you that the effort is most definitely worth it!
Length of Trail
The trail to the falls is approximately 4 km, making the entire trip there and back 8 km. At around the 2.5 km mark, you will leave the Provincial Park boundaries and continue on.
“ The forest is rich with lichen, moss, fungus, and mushrooms creating a beautiful woodland scene. ” Kim, Vancouver Island View
There are actually two separate waterfalls. Please note, the trail to the larger falls is not maintained and quite steep. I would assume that during the summer months when the water levels are lower you might be able to ramble along the large rocks in the clear pools to get a better vantage point of the larger falls. But if you do decide to do this, please know you are doing so at your own risk. These large rocks make for a great place to rest and have a snack while enjoying the beautiful scenery!
Things to Note
While we didn't see any wildlife during our trip, this is a prime bear and cougar area. It's always best to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for an encounter.
For more information on what to do if you happen to come across either of these animals while hiking, please read our post entitled, Potential Wildlife Encounters on Vancouver Island.
Make Sure to Bring
This is a guest article by local Vancouver Island blog, VancouverIslandView.com.
No matter what outdoor activity you are planning, be prepared. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. AdventureSmart is a great resource to help you get informed before heading outdoors.Learn More
About the Author
Parksville Qualicum Beach