Hiking Nanoose’s Enos Lake

Beaver pond at Enos Lake trail, Nanoose, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

One of the beaver ponds to be found along the trail

I came away from a recent hike at Nanoose’s Enos Lake with mixed feelings. We struck out on a beautiful autumn day – our second attempt to hike the area after being turned back because of dangerously dry conditions in late summer.

The 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) of hiking trails surrounding the lake offer up a mix of interesting wildlife habitats that may have hikers viewing everything from several varieties of dragon flies to beavers and a good cross-section of bird life and aquatic creatures. Enos Lake, which is surprisingly large, is also home to the endangered limnetic Enos Lake stickleback. From a keen naturalist’s point of view this excursion is a worthwhile one. All told, the area covers 121 hectares (300 acres).

Enos Lake trail, Nanoose, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Parts of the trail are very pretty; others can be pretty rough

Those seeking a simple hike, however, may come away with a different impression. None of the information I could find on the Enos Lake trails indicated that there was anything but smooth sailing with, at worst, a few hills. That impression came to a skidding halt almost as soon as we started out, clambering downhill on a rough and rocky surface. Things settled down after that as we explored what we thought was known as the Enos Creek Loop and Enchanted Forest. Looking at the attached map I am pretty sure that was where we were actually adventuring, but a lack of good directional signs (there was only one that we ran across during our 4.3 kilometre hike) still has me wondering.

Enos Lake, Nanoose, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

A glimpse of Enos Lake, home to the endangered Enos Lake stickleback

Our tramp led us past beaver lodges and ponds, through woods and along some fairly decent trails. However, there were disappointingly few views of Enos Lake itself and we certainly never encountered what could be described as a lake vista. We finally hit a dead end when we came upon a foot bridge that had been destroyed by a falling tree. We hiked up hill, clambered over another downed tree and continued the ascent for some time on a rough trail, eventually re-connecting with the Enos Creek Loop from whence we had started.

There are other trails extending off the loop we took that I would like to explore some day. Hopefully they are better marked and better maintained than our recent choice. In the meantime, if you decide to tackle this adventure make sure you are reasonably fit and have good footwear.

It should be noted that these trails are not within a regional or provincial park system, but are owned by the Fairwinds community in the area. This probably explains some of the lack of maintenance. Dogs are welcome on the trails, on-leash.

More information (and a good map) on the Enos Lake trails can be found at:


The starting point for the trail system offers a small parking lot off Powder Point Road in Nanoose.

GPS co-ordinates are:

Lat. 49.278839 Long. -124.163868

49° 16′ 43.8204” N 124° 9′ 49.9248” W


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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