Port Alberni’s Hole in the Wall a unique, little-known treasure

Hole in the Wall, Port Alberni

Port Alberni’s Hole in the Wall is one of those little-known landmarks worth seeking out

For all the time I have spent in the Alberni Valley over the past forty years I had never heard of the Hole in the Wall until this past summer, when it began popping up on various internet connections that I am plugged in to. It’s kind of an obscure feature of the valley, which is host to a huge number of beautiful trails and hiking opportunities – one of those gems known by locals but not particularly well-publicized out there in the big, wide world.  I am a sucker for pretty waterfalls and forest walks so, curiousity piqued, we headed over to Port Alberni one recent bright autumn afternoon.

Hole in the Wall Port Alberni

Looking from the back side of the Hole in the Wall, where remnants of the old water delivery system remain

There isn’t a lot of information available about the Hole in the Wall other than the fact that it served as a shortcut for the water supply for the Town of Alberni prior to the 1967 amalgamation of the town and Port Alberni. The backside of the hole, which is blasted through a massive wall of volcanic shale, served as the town’s water reservoir, and the hole provided the most direct delivery route.  There isn’t much left to indicate that this landmark ever served any particular purpose.

Inuksuks, Roger Creek, Port Alberni

Inuksuks on the creekbed

We began our adventure by parking our van in a small pull-out on Highway 4, just up and across the road from Coombs Country Candy, which is the most easily visible landmark on the way into Port Alberni.  The trail is not maintained and is unmarked, so best to pay close attention to your location once you strike out on foot. We headed down a fairly short, steep slope then levelled off and followed the main trail to where it diverged, taking the right fork.  We carried on for a few more minutes before branching left on to another fork, which featured a trickling underground spring that had us navigating through very shallow water the rest of the way down the hill to our final destination. Depending on the time of year that you are doing the hike this feature may be more noticeable (or not), but it was the only distinguishing element that convinced us that we needed to take that particular route due to the fact that we had ferreted out that information on  the internet prior to doing the hike. There are spots on the long downward slope that can be a little dicey for footing, but anyone with any semblance of balance (and a sturdy pair of shoes) should be able to traverse it with no trouble.

It's a bit of a hike to get to the Hole in the Wall, but well worth the effort

It’s a bit of a hike to get to the Hole in the Wall, but well worth the effort

About 20 minutes in we ended up at the Hole in the Wall, which was every bit as impressive and beautiful as we had hoped.  A small waterfall tumbles out of the hole, which we estimated at about 12 feet high, into Roger Creek, providing a serene and unique experience just minutes from the traffic of a busy highway.  We wandered  a little further along the trail and discovered a collection if inuksuks that had been constructed along the creekbed – another delightful surprise.  Over all, this hike was well worth the effort to get there and back – it wasn’t particularly difficult and it offered up a one-of-a-kind experience. Next time, I’m taking along a picnic lunch and a good book!

The best starting point to get to the Hole in the Wall is, as mentioned earlier, from the small pull-off off Highway 4.

            GPS co-ordinates for the pull-off are:

            Lat. 49.2652281792813  Long.  -124.74592566490173

            N 49 15.914  W 124 44.756

Shirley

About Shirley

More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the venerable daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers. In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.
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5 Responses to Port Alberni’s Hole in the Wall a unique, little-known treasure

  1. Deb Beck says:

    thanks, always looking for new and cool places to explore on the island.

  2. Dorthy Roi says:

    Well there was a tonne of people on Sunday when we went, most I have ever seen in the woods. There is an old pipe that is buried so be carful as there are wires sticking out of the ground, as well, lots of rotten trees and one almost fell on my partner on the road, so be very carful. If it’s going to be super busy the city needs to go check the trees for safety. Also if you walk down the road there Is another waterfall to check out.

  3. brendan says:

    any chance you help me locate this on a map! cant find the turn off youre mentioning on google maps.

    • Shirley Shirley says:

      Brendan, there is no actual turnoff – it is just a small pull-out off the highway, across from Coombs Country Candy. Hope this helps – happy hiking!

  4. Barry W. says:

    We just found the hole, more than 3 years after your original post. Neat little hike, it was very easy with access at the end of Sherwood Road (Hwy 4, turn south on Dundalk Ave, left on Sherwood Rd). Go down through the quarry, until you hit the creek. Follow it uphill (left), past a gorgeous water fall. There is a rope put up to aid with the climb. Eventually you will hit a sign, pointing you down the path to the hole, and you can already see the many rock people standing on the banks from the trail above the creek.

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