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Looking for somewhere to escape that's not too far away from the city?
Perhaps you're simply looking for a running route where you can breathe some fresh air and observe natural sceneries while getting fit? That is probably what I love most about Vancouver Island: there's no need to go far away from home to find a spot to get your vital outdoor dose. This small Vancouver Island community counts approximately 11,997 residents, but don't be fooled by its small size! Parksville offers numerous natural trail parks where any outdoor lover can enjoy nature at its best.
Top Bridge Regional Trail is the one that surely deserves to be highlighted with its superb pedestrian-cyclist suspension bridge spanning the English River. Inaugurated in 1999, Top Bridge Trail is a lively junction of parks and nature conservation areas where visitors often stop to enjoy the view of Englishman River from the suspended bridge. The trail length is about 5 km each way (from Parksville Industrial Park to the Englishman River) and offers a rustic getaway from the urban seaside to a more nature-connected environment. A few slopes going up and down but nothing too serious.
Top Bridge Park is also the local's favourite swimming hole where families and groups of friends tend to spend their sunny afternoons cooling down and enjoying the fresh water. Top Bridge Park also offers a specialized trail system for mountain bikers in seek of their adrenaline dose.
Top Bridge's best-kept secret is the petroglyphs that, according to local historian, you can find by opening your eyes a tiny bit wider while you're exploring down by the Englishman River. You could see at least three distinct First Nation carvings on the rocks, so get a little bit closer and pay attention to the amazing nature that surrounds you. And if you have kids and are looking to get them outside during the winter - the bridge and surrounding area make for a fun and adventurers outing!
Whether you are looking for a peaceful walk in nature, a stunning running route, a heart pumping mountain bike ride or a chill afternoon exploring Vancouver Island's historic treasures, Top Bridge Trail in Parksville is the go-to spot.
From Alberni Highway (Hwy 4) off of 19A and take the first left after going under the overpass. Take the first left again on to Allsbrook Road and follow it down to its end. The gated road (open during the day) will take you to a parking lot. From there, follow the main trail to the suspension bridge. Various short trails on either side will also lead you to diverse swimming hole.
For park map or more information: www.rdn.bc.ca
This is a guest article by Good Life Juice in Nanaimo.