The Valley of Trails, better known as the Alberni Valley, is a truly unique place on Vancouver Island. What makes it unique is the way the mountains, ocean, forest, rivers, and lakes all meet in one place. The Valley is framed by the mountains of the Vancouver Island Ranges – most notably Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Klitsa. Flowing down the middle of the valley are the Stamp and Somass Rivers which feed into the Alberni Inlet. The Alberni Inlet stretches from the Pacific Ocean at Barkley Sound, 40 kilometres inland to the very heart of Vancouver Island. The city of Port Alberni was cut out of the old growth forest which once carpeted the entire valley, and includes some of the largest trees on the planet. Today, most of the old growth forest is gone, but the second growth forest is still the land of giants, and enjoys an intense of beauty all of its own. The entire Valley of Trails is spotted with creeks and lakes of all sizes, which is should not be surprising in a rainforest.
With all of this diversity of landscape it’s no wonder the Valley of Trails is a Vancouver Island mecca for hiking, camping, and virtually every imaginable outdoor sport or recreation. The Alberni Valley in many ways, is still a frontier and truly is a gateway to one of the world’s last great wildernesses. It is worth remembering that when you venture into this west coast wilderness, you are never alone. The forests of the Alberni Valley are home to Mountain Lions, Bears, Elk, Deer, Beaver, Racoon, and a host of smaller mammals while the skies are a bird watchers dream. For those venturing on, or under the ocean, you are sharing space with Orca, Humpback Whales, Six Gill Sharks, Giant Pacific Octopus, Seals, Sea Lions, and countless other sea creatures.
If you're longing to explore wild places, you need look no further than the Valley of Trails.