Qualicum Beach’s undocumented Town Trail

Qualicum Beach Town Trail on Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The beginning of the trail, located beside the museum

If you didn’t know it was there, you might never actually find it. There is a lovely trail in Qualicum Beach (we call it the Town Trail) that has virtually no documentation, either in print or on-line. It isn’t listed in the Qualicum Beach Recreation and Parks Guide, it isn’t mentioned in any of the multitudes of internet trail guides – it is mostly just a picturesque local secret that is used as a pedestrian thoroughfare by area residents who prefer not to drive in to the village to run errands.

Bench on the Qualicum Beach Town Trail, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

A bench sits in a pretty setting at the Arbutus end of the trail

Actually finding the Town Trail is the first objective, because it isn’t marked with any signage. You can either start your jaunt from the top of the Grandon Creek trail, or hook in to the trail a few hundred yards further along at the junction of Arbutus Street and Hoy Lake Road. Or, you can start out from the local museum located on Beach Road across from the old train station and General Money Park.

Qualicum Beach Town Trail, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaThe forested trail meanders for 1.1 km (about 7/10s of a mile), sandwiched between the tony Hoy Lake Road community and the railroad tracks. There is a bench located at the Arbutus Road end, a quirky carved stump along the way, and several spurs off the trail that lead to various neighbourhoods. Other than that, the well-maintained, mostly level trail offers little more than a peaceful walk with good footing, pretty vistas and a nice diversion from the everyday world. It took us about 20 minutes to traverse the entire length of the trail – it would have been less if the obligatory pauses to take photos hadn’t been included.

Gnome or fairy house, Qualicum Beach Town Trail, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

A home for gnomes? A fairy house?

There is no parking at the Arbutus Road end of the trail, but plenty of space for vehicles at General Money Park, just off Beach Road.. If you want to avoid seeing the same scenery twice you can always turn left up Arbutus at the end of the trail, turn left again on to Harlech or Mill Road and enjoy the ambiance of one of Qualicum Beach’s oldest neighbourhoods on your way back to Beach Road.

Qualicum Beach Town Trail, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaThe best starting point is at the Qualicum Beach Museum, located at 587 Beach Road.

GPS co-ordinates for the Museum are:

Lat. 49.350062 Long. -124.447896

N 49 21.004 W 124 26.874


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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