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Waterfalls outside of Parksville on Vancouver Island. Provincial Park worth visiting.

Englishman River Falls

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Activity:
Walk, Waterfall
Difficulty:
Easy-Moderate
Location:
Parksville
Time:
30-45min
Distance:
2km (1.2mi)

Activity:

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Accessibility:

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Highlights Include:

Info Map

The best way to Experience Englishman River Falls

Where to this weekend, Vancouver Island: Englishman River Falls Park | Add This One To Your Vancouver Island Waterfall Bucket List

Gather your loved ones and embark on a thrilling adventure to one of Vancouver Island’s most enchanting destinations. Don’t forget to pack your camera, a delicious picnic, and your trusty pair of comfortable shoes!

Follow the captivating 2km loop trail that leads you to a breathtaking spot where the water glistens in a mesmerizing shade of blue beneath a picturesque bridge. As you continue your journey, the trail gracefully winds back up along the canyon, offering a magnificent view of the year-round waterfall cascading down the Englishman River. This wonderful place is a true gem waiting to be discovered!

Lower Falls First

Englishman river Lower bridge and swimming holeIt seems like a small thing but if you head to the left on the 2 km loop that takes you past the lower then back up to the bridge over upper Englishman River Falls. This way you take the long way to reach the main attraction rather then getting desert first you are building up to the final act. Going clockwise around the loop is also easier making it more accasible for most hiking levels, with wide paths and plenty of scenic views winding through lush forest before opening up to a breathtaking view of the Englishman River cascading down into two spectacular waterfalls.

Lower Falls

Our dog on stone stairs along the trail heading from lower the lower falls to the upper Englishman falls bridgeThe trail starts off heading downhill, weaving through the trees, until you reach the first bridge, then opens to the Englishman River. Depending on the time of year and water flow, you will be greeted by a large rock wedged in the canyon that is impressive in itself. For the brave who are willing to take on the cold water, the crystal clear pool makes for one of the best swimming holes in the area.

During heavy rains, as the river rises, the giant rock works as a dam, causing the water to rush over the boulder and become the lower falls.

Now that you have crossed the river, it’s time to continue along the well-marked trail with switchbacks up the hill, making this way the easier way up along the canyon through the old-growth forest.

Englishman River Falls

View of the upper Englishman River Falls from the bridgeOnce you reach the top, you will be rewarded with one of the Englishman River’s most spectacular sights; the Upper Falls. Here, the Englishman river cascades over the rocky edge, falling into what seems to be an endless void. Standing on the bridge with the Englishman River Falls on one side of the bridge and a canyon on the other, it’s easy to get lost in the beauty and serenity of this place.

This is why we like to start the hike with the lower falls and finish strong by taking a few moments to relax and take some pictures to appreciate all that Englishman River Falls has to offer. 

Wheelchair Accessible

If you prefer a quick stop — head directly to the upper Englishman River Falls from the parking lot. It’s an easy, short walk that is wheelchair accessible, the bridge is solid and wide and has excellent views for any age and ability.

Picnic Area and Amenities

Protected picnic site at Englishman River falls provincial park ParksvilleOnly metres away from the parking lot are the washrooms and picnic area, making it a great spot to enjoy lunch or a snack before heading back out for your next adventure.

During the summer months, you will find flush toilets and cold water taps. There are a lot of picnic tables to choose from, including six located under a shelter protecting you on rainy days. In the winter, outhouses are available.

Tips and Suggestions

  • It’s no hidden treasure. Englishman River Falls is a popular spot and for good reason. The parking lot is large (approximately 105 vehicles) but fills up quickly in summer, so arriving early is beneficial.
  • Start your walk heading to the lower falls first and building up to the upper falls, taking in all the stunning views. Doing it the other way is a little anti-climactic and more challenging.
  • Don’t forget to add Little Qualicum Falls, Coombs and Cathedral Grove on your way to Port Alberni and Tofino.
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Frequently Asked Questions

WHERE IS ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS LOCATED?
Located in Englishman River Falls Provincial Park (different from the regional park) 13 kilometres southwest of Parksville and 50km from downtown Nanaimo. The falls are located 9km off Hwy 4A (Alberni Hwy). MAP

WHAT KIND OF TERRAIN IS AT ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS?
The short walk to Upper Falls is a wide and wheelchair-accessible trail. The Trail to the lower falls is still available for most abilities but has some grade to climb, with a 52 m elevation gain.

ARE THERE AMENITIES AT ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS?
Yes, Englishman River Falls has a picnic area and amenities like flush toilets and cold water taps during summer. There are also pit toilets available in the winter.

CAN YOU SWIM AT THE ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS?
Lower Englishman River Falls is a popular spot for swimming in the summer. The water is cold, and it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution when in or near water.

HOW LONG IS THE WALK AT ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS?
The walk should take around half an hour, depending on how often you stop to take in the views. If you’re in a rush, you can walk directly from the parking lot to the upper falls in a few minutes.

ARE DOGS ALLOWED?
Yes, but must be kept on a leash.

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Location and how to get to Englishman River Falls

There are two Englishman River Parks.  Englishman River Falls are located in the Provincial Park further upstream. Take Errington Rd all the way to the park gates, continuing past the campground right to the gravel parking lot. 

Located only 13 kilometres southwest of Parksville and 50km from downtown Nanaimo. The falls are 9km off Hwy 4A (Alberni Hwy), making it a great stop to add to Coombs and Cathedral Grove on your way to Port Alberni and Tofino.

Directions – Google Maps

Englishman River Falls Campground

As you enter the park, you will pass the Englishman River Falls Provincial Park Campground, It’s a wonderful, quiet campground with 104 quiet and private sites. With basic amenities, this is a great campground to get away from it all, with hiking and biking trails and a waterfall and swimming hole at your fingertips.

 

Map of the hike at Englishman River Falls close to Parksville

I am so glad we made a stop here. It was a short walk to the beautiful falls and a lovely saunter in the forest, the terrain was easy to navigate with some stairs along the way and the scenery was magical. There are also bathrooms available and they offer plenty of parking in the lot. Would definitely recommend.

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In Conclusion

To sum it up, the Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is a beautiful spot to enjoy nature and take in the incredible views of the Englishman River. The park has a 2km loop walking trail that takes you along the river and past both lower and upper falls, as well as picnic areas and flush toilets. If you’re looking for a peaceful day hike or an easy overnight camping trip, Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is worth checking out.

Gear Tips For Vancouver Island

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THE NORTH FACE Women's
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THE NORTH FACE Men's
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Helly Hansen Men's
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Polygon 32 oz waterbottle sq
32oz Water Bottle
for Fitness and Outdoor
Osprey Sportlite 20 Hiking Backpack sq
Osprey Sportlite 20
Hiking Backpack
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Adventure Medical Kit
Ultralight and Watertight

When you’re gearing up for an outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island, the key is to dress in layers, no matter the season. The island’s weather can throw curveballs, with conditions varying significantly from the sheltered forests to the breezy coastlines.

For those cool winter escapades, your go-to should include quality rain gear, topped off with a cozy beanie or toque, and a pair of light gloves to keep the chill at bay.

Summer explorers, don’t be fooled by the warmer temps; that same waterproof shell that kept you dry in the winter will be your best friend against the cool ocean breezes.

Remember, the right clothing and gear can make or break your outdoor experience on Vancouver Island, ensuring you enjoy every moment, come rain or shine.

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Discover new places and find your way around Vancouver Island. Many areas do not have cell service so maps and guidebooks can be very helpful for the curious.

FAQ:

WHERE IS ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS LOCATED?
Located in Englishman River Falls Provincial Park (different from the regional park) 13 kilometres southwest of Parksville and 50km from downtown Nanaimo. The falls are located 9km off Hwy 4A (Alberni Hwy). MAP

WHAT KIND OF TERRAIN IS AT ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS?
The short walk to Upper Falls is a wide and wheelchair-accessible trail. The Trail to the lower falls is still available for most abilities but has some grade to climb, with a 52 m elevation gain.

ARE THERE AMENITIES AT ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS?
Yes, Englishman River Falls has a picnic area and amenities like flush toilets and cold water taps during summer. There are also pit toilets available in the winter.

CAN YOU SWIM AT THE ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS?
Lower Englishman River Falls is a popular spot for swimming in the summer. The water is cold, and it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution when in or near water.

HOW LONG IS THE WALK AT ENGLISHMAN RIVER FALLS?
The walk should take around half an hour, depending on how often you stop to take in the views. If you’re in a rush, you can walk directly from the parking lot to the upper falls in a few minutes.

ARE DOGS ALLOWED?
Yes, but must be kept on a leash.

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Original Author:

Modified: January 2, 2024
Last Visit: June 7, 2022

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