The Alberni Inlet Trail is one of the best hikes on Vancouver Island. It is a very diverse trail offering spectacular views of the Alberni Inlet, Mount Arrowsmith, and the City of Port Alberni. It is also an experience where the past and present of modern human habitation on Vancouver Island collide. The trail is located on a privately owned working forest in the traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-Nulth people. In addition to forestry the area was known for both copper and gold mining in the 19th century. Not to be forgotten, the Alberni Inlet continues, as it long has, to be an important transportation corridor.
From the spacious parking lot on Ship Creek Road, the trail quickly rises through the forest to a lookout with panoramic views of Port Alberni and Mount Arrowsmith. Approximately 2 km from the trailhead, it connects to a logging road and turns west towards the Alberni Inlet. Another 0.6 km further at the next signpost, there are two route options: the first along Follinsbee Creek; and the second by way of the old Copper Mountain Trail. The former is the less demanding of the two routes, but the latter will reward you with views from the top of Copper Mountain. You may even find the remnants of an old mining cabin at Copper Mountain. The trail then continues south along the water, a section that offers a variety of view scapes. Near the south end of the Stage 1, the trail swings east away from the water with views across China Creek Dryland Sort and China Creek Marina.
Stage 1 ends atr a private logging road. All trail users are requested to approach the area with caution and as always, provide right-of-way to any industrial traffic they may encounter.