Here's another hike I like.
This one follows along the Alberni Inlet starting just south of China Creek.
Part of it follows an old (1913) Canadian Northern Pacific Railway grade which never was put into service.
The 4km trail has a little bit of everything. A steep descent on a rocky path through old growth. Views of lovely Underwood Cove. Flat stretches lined with flowering current that hums with hummingbirds in May.
Then when you get to the rail bed proper, you walk between sheer rock walls created from blasting that make dark tunnels. Electric green moss on tree trunks jumps out against the damp charcoal backdrop.
From time to time the foilage opens up and you get views of the long inlet heading out to sea via Barkley Sound.
Near the Franklin River logging operation is where the path winds up and where this poor Douglas fir is being choked for no apparent reason. Obviously the cable was put around the tree to do some job long ago and it's just never been taken off.
There are plans to join the CNPR trail into the town's network, and eventually run it all the way down to Cowichan Lake, relying some on logging roads, and beyond to the Galloping Goose trail in the Capital Regional District (VIctoria).
This ambitious plan would create an alternate route for exploring large chunks of Vancouver Island on foot, or by bicycle. Governments are putting money into trail building, so it looks promising.