On picturesque Vancouver Island, west of Parksville, you'll find the scenic Englishman River Falls Provincial Park. The name of this park does not disappoint; there are two different waterfalls accessible to visitors. The surrounding old-growth forest is the perfect backdrop as the waterfalls cascade into the canyon below. When you hear about beautiful British Columbia, this is exactly the type of place worthy of such high praise.
This provincial park, located north of the ferry city of Nanaimo, was created in 1940 and covers a total of 97 hectares (240 acres). The goal was to provide protection for the old-growth forest of Douglas fir. It also protects the local plants, animal habitat, and the areas surrounding the river and both falls. This protection enables visitors access to an outdoor playground in the Pacific Northwest. Popular activities here include hiking along the river and to the two rushing waterfalls, swimming, and hiking.
RV camping is the ideal way to experience everything Englishman River Falls has to offer. The setting is gorgeous with giant old-growth trees and campsites are a short walk to the river and both upper and lower falls. The area has all you need to for a wonderful, relaxing RV road trip.
Travel to Vancouver Island is done by plane or by ferry. To avoid taking your rental RV on the ferry and worrying about size limits and extra cost, you are better off finding the rental on the Island instead. Check out the options in the nearby cities of Victoria, Nanaimo, and Parksville.
From Nanaimo, you'll travel through miles of forest on Highway 19 past the Qualicum National Wildlife Area and Englishman River Regional Park. Once in Parksville, you will head south through Errington to reach the park.
This area of the Pacific Northwest sees a lot of rain, especially during the offseason, so be prepared for it. Watch out for wildlife that might venture onto the road.
There is a large parking area in the Englishman River Falls day-use area suitable for trailers and motorhomes. Camping is also provided at the campground.
Open from May to September, this campground has a total of 104 campsites on the Englishman River. If you want to reserve in advance, 72 of the sites are open to reservations and the rest are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The sites are pet-friendly and most offer at least partial shade for your comfort. You will also have easy access to all the amenities of the park's day-use area from here.
The campsites at Englishman River Falls are primitive with no hookups and camping here is more of a wilderness experience. There are no showers and only pit toilets onsite. There is a flush toilet in the day-use area that campers can use if needed.
Each campsite has a gravel pad and its own campfire pit and picnic table. Staying at this wonderful, relaxing campground is a sure-fire way to maximize your time at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park. Both falls are within walking distance of your campsite on set trails.
If the Englishman River levels are low enough, visitors can enjoy a refreshing dip in the deep pool of the lower falls. The water is clear and cool, although swimming here is at your own risk.
If you head the short distance back to Parksville, you won't regret spending a day at the popular Parksville Bay beach. There's a reason this small city on the Island is known as Canada's Riviera. The endless sandy beach and water temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) make this a great stop in the hot summer months. The similar beach at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is also nearby.
The day-use area of the park has a large picnic area to delight visitors. It's located close to a parking area and just past the campground. For convenience, there's a picnic shelter, tables, taps for drinking water, and flush toilets. The best part of this location is the nearby platform overlooking the river and the lush forest that surrounds you.
If you are visiting Englishman River Regional Park, there is an excellent camping spot here too. The Long Run Area is the site of steelhead spawning in the fall set right along the river. Seating is provided here as well as information about the important area.
There are no trails at Englishman River Provincial Park that can be used by equestrians, but horse lovers can simply make the short trip to Englishman River Regional Park instead. There are horse ranches and acres of trails all around.
The recreational trail within this regional park is perfect for equestrians. It has horse crossings over the river and travels from the city of Parksville in the southwest to the salmon hatchery in the northeast part of the park. Along the way you follow the clear river and are surrounded by towering trees.
There are no specific accommodations for horses at Englishman River Falls Campground so if you're traveling with your horse, you'll need to make alternate arrangements.
Cyclists can ride on the park's roads and on the designated trails. Helmets are required to cycle in British Columbia, and you should be prepared to encounter animals along the way. Stay aware when riding as you may cross paths with a bear. The trails within the park are shared with hikers, and all trail closures must be respected.
The multi-use trails in the park consist of the Upper and Lower Milky Way Trail and the Big and Little Dipper Loops. All in all, over 3km (1.9 miles) of trails are yours to explore.
A visit to Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is not complete without a hike around the magnificent grounds. Hit the trails that meander through the park and every year the park creates more trails for additional exploration.
The main trail in the park is ideal if you're looking for views of the waterfalls from above. This trail offers two different options for a breathtaking bird's eye view of the falls where the trail crosses the river.
Off the main trail, there are other trails that travel from the campground to the falls. They follow the river and offer views of the upper and lower falls as well as the canyon.
If you happen to be traveling to this provincial park in the fall, you're in luck. This is the time to view salmon spawning in the river. Since the salmon are in the area, you may also get the chance to see a wild black bear. During bear season, make sure all pets are leashed and any food products are safely stored.
Other local wildlife here includes bald eagles, cougars, Roosevelt elk, and deer. Your camera and binoculars are must-pack items for your trip to Englishman River Falls Provincial Park.