Dollymount Trail – a hidden treasure in the heart of Qualicum

Two roads diverged in a wood...(with apologies to Robert Frost)

There is a hidden gem of a trail smack in the middle of the village of Qualicum Beach that you would probably never know about if you didn’t live there, or come upon it by accident. It puzzles me that a town that is so dedicated to developing foot and bicycle access to the farthest reaches of the community is so lacking in easily-accessible public information about places like this – there is nary a word on the township’s website about most of the trails that link the various neighbourhoods in a most admirable fashion.  But never mind – that is why this website/blog exists, and we are going to let you in on one of Qualicum’s best-kept secrets.

Lots of interesting things to see, including this quirky fence

The paved trail provides level, safe travelling for cyclists and travellers in wheelchairs and scooters

            The Dollymount Trail is accessible to virtually anyone who isn’t on horseback, in a car or on a motorcycle.  There are actually two trails running parallel to each other; one is paved, the other offers up a more natural walking surface of wood chips.  Both trails are very well-maintained and serve as hosts to pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, dog-walkers and residents of the nearby retirement complex, who make good use of the paved trail on their motorized scooters and wheelchairs. Each of the trails is level, wide and easily navigated.  They are bordered by a variety of terrain ranging from streams, forest and field environments.  Along the way there is a small pond with resident ducks (and ducklings, if you happen to visit at the right time of year.) You will see llamas, quirky fences, trilliums by the dozen in spring, a wide variety of birdlife – it’s always different, and always engaging for anyone who loves the outdoors.

Dog walkers, scooter riders, skateboarders - the trail is well-used

The best parking and easiest access to the trails is from the back of the parking lot at Kwalikum Secondary School, which is located at 266 Village Way. The trails skirt the school’s playing fields before transitioning into a forested environment. If you walk or cycle to the end of the trail at Qualicum Road you will have meandered ¾ of a mile (or 1.18 km) in each direction. If you feel like continuing on, cross Qualicum Road and proceed along Fern Road East, a little-travelled, picturesque back road that will yield more interesting sights, fresh air and peace and quiet. Fern Road East culminates at Bennett Road, which borders the Chartwell subdivision. The trip from the high school starting point to Bennett Road is a total of 1.7 miles or 2.75 km. in either direction.

The pathway wends its way through a number of eco-systems

          The GPS co-ordinates for trail access via the high school parking lot are:

            Lat. 49.34736770264072 

            Long. -124.43696737289429

            N 49 20.842  W 124 26.218

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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