Detailed Description: Heart Lake Trail is a short, but challenging hiking trail located behind the community of Ladysmith, BC, Canada in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. The trail connects to a small, relatively unknown, lake. Half way up the trail leading to the lake there is a grassy knoll lookout with fantastic views overlooking the community of Ladysmith, the harbour, the surrounding islands and the coastal mountains.
The lake trail has various versions of length depending on your starting point and who you are talking to. Many combine the Holland Creek Trail with the Heart Lake Trail and create a 6.4 kilometre loop route. Some continue to Stocking Lake and create a 9.3 kilometre adventure.
For those who want to access Heart Lake and enjoy some quality time the trail is only about 1.5 - 2 kilometres long. The hike begins following a series of power lines along an old gravel service road. Access to the gravel road is marked by a yellow gate on Battie Drive.
From the yellow gate walk along a short access gravel road to the main road. Stay right and continue following the gravel road for about 500 metres. The trailhead is sometimes difficult to locate as it is hidden by the forest. Look for it on your left. It is marked by flags, unless someone has pulled them down again. The opening is small but once you walk into the forest the trail lines up easily.
The dirt and earthy trail is a single track route and includes high-stepping exposed tree roots and boulders. The hike starts off as a gradual climb and as the elevation increases so does the uphill climb. Half way up the hike there is an opening on your right (identified by a large fallen tree used as a bridge) leading to a grassy knoll and some amazing views.
At about half way up the grade is steeper and is mostly consisting of switchbacks. There are resting spots located along the trail. There are tons a deadfall trees covering the ground. And most importantly - watch for loose rocks on your way down because falling will definitely hurt.
You know your close to the lake when the trail bumps into a huge rock cliff face. Just over the rock is Heart Lake. The shores of Heart Lake are rock which make for good viewing benches. A short path leads down to the lake.
There are no picnic tables, garbage cans or toilets at Heart Lake. It is important to hike out what you hike in. Unfortunately, some people have no respect for the environment or nature and leave garbage behind. Some say the lake is a party spot for kids as access is difficult.
From Heart Lake the option is available to continue exploring to a second lake. From the trail look for the signs pointing to Stocking Lake.
Heart Lake Trail