Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is a rough and rugged wilderness park accessed from the communities of Lake Cowichan, Port Renfrew and Port Alberni, BC on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The 16,450 hectare recreation park accounts for 2% of the "Old Growth Forest" still living in the province of British Columbia.
The provincial park is one of the oldest protected parks on Vancouver Island. The park is divided into three sections - the Lower Carmanah Valley, the Walbran Valley and the Upper Carmanah Valley. In 1990 the the Lower Carmanah Valley was established as a provincial park, soon followed by the Walbran and Upper Carmanah Valley in 1995.
The park is a rainforest park consisting of many eco systems. There are marsh areas, a few creek watersheds, forest floors of moss and ferns and many, many hectares of forest trees. Some of the Spruce trees in the park are over 800 years old and reach over 100 metres high. The oldest trees in the park are the gnarled-up cedar trees, some of which are over 1000 years old.
Throughout the recreation park are day hikes and multi-day hiking and backpacking trails with wilderness campsites. The trails are rough and are not consistently maintained - plus they are exposed to the, sometimes, harsh west coast weather. Conditions which make the trails muddy, slippery, hazardous and sometimes flooded.
All hikes in the park start off following a 1.3 kilometre access trail which leads backpackers to a junction of hiking trailheads. From the junction hikers can choose to explore upstream along the August Creek Trail (8 kilometres) or downstream along the Randy Stoltman Commemorative Grove Trail (2.6 kilometres).
From the main trails hikers can access other trails. Some of the other adventures in the park include the Coast Tower (1.2 km), Three Sisters (2.5 km), Grunt;s Grove (4 km), Paradise Pool (5.5 km) and Heaven Tree (2 km) Trails. Along the trails are pit toilets, wilderness camping sites with tent pads.
The Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is a wilderness park in the biggest way. The park is mostly left alone, maintained by nature. Such a natural environment is also home to many species of wildlife. there are black bears, cougars, deer, owls, wolves, ravens and more.
Backpackers in the park should be well versed in wilderness survival. The conditions in the park are harsh and the weather can change quickly. Experienced packers should have all the proper equipment including rain gear and very good footwear. The closest services are located in Nitnat.
From Lake Cowichan proceed to the small village of Honeymoon Bay. In Honeymoon Bay turn onto South Shore Road. Soon the gravel road turns into Nitnat Main (Forestry Road). continue along the road to South Main. Turn left here and drive to the Caycuse River Bridge. From the Caycuse River Bridge turn right immediately and proceed on Rosander Main for approximately 29 km to the park.
From Port Alberni follow Bamfield Road for about 40 km to the Franklin River Junction. At the junction, turn left onto South Main and keep driving past the logging camp buildings and toward Nitnat Lake. Continue driving down South Main for approximately 23 km to the Nitnat River Bridge. Stay on South Main until the Caycuse River Bridge. From the Caycuse River Bridge turn right immediately and proceed on Rosander Main for approximately 29 km to the park.
, British Columbia Canada