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Visitors sand and take photos at the base of Big Lonely Doug with new growth trees around the giant Douglas Fir Tree in Port Renfrew

Big Lonely Doug and Eden Grove

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Activity:
Hike, Adventure
Difficulty:
Easy-Moderate
Location:
Port Renfrew
Time:
2hrs
Distance:
5km

Activity:

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Accessibility:

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Highlights Include:

Info Map

Big Lonely Doug towering over the valley And Wooden Boardwalk through Eden Grove

Where to this weekend, Vancouver Island: Big Lonely Doug and Eden Grove

Visiting Lonely Doug and Eden Grove offers a truly remarkable experience for both nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. A perfect continuation after visiting Avatar Grove, Lonely Doug is a 40-minute drive from Port Renfrew using logging roads and towering single-lane bridges. Your final destination: the second largest Douglas Fir in Canada, a waterfall and a boardwalk through a lesser-known old-growth area called Eden Grove.

Lonely Doug, with its immense height and majestic stature, stands as a living testament to the resilience of nature. This Douglas fir tree, the second tallest of its kind in all of Canada, reaches a staggering height of approximately 66 meters, almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty!

Mind blowing stats:
– 66 Metres Tall (216 feet)
– 4 meters wide (13 feet)
– 12 metres in circumference (39 feet)
– 1-foot thick bark

What’s in the name

Its name, ‘Big Lonely Doug,’ reflects its solitary existence amidst a cut block, a poignant symbol of the ancient forest that once thrived here. Big Lonely Doug is easily seen from the road, but its impressive size isn’t as obvious until you walk down the trail surrounded by the subtle reminder of old logging operations. As you reach the base of the tree, you are instantly dwarfed by the enormity of its trunk. The bark, rough and deeply furrowed, carries centuries worth of stories.

The trail

Hand carved post that says outhouse. Rock steps leading to a wood shack used as an outhouseFrom the logging road, the trail down to Lonely Doug is short but can be slippery in the rain as the path includes carved-out fallen trees, stumps and remnants of the logged cut block. The trees in the area are in the process of growing back, giving Lonely Doug even more scale in its size.

An outhouse is located along the road, and if you look up the hill, you will see another large tree with the unflattering name “the ugly sister” that was also used as an anchor point for the loggers to haul out the timber from the area.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Download a map before you lose cell service. AllTrails Map There is unofficial signage.
  • Amenities include a rustic outhouse along the logging road
  • A 4×4 is not required on the logging road, but make sure you have a reliable spare.
  • There is a pull-over parking location just before a washout on the road just 1km short of the trail. The washout is passable with a 4×4 and decent ground clearance.
  • Expect rain – Especially from October to April
  • The biggest potholes are located before the bridges! Careful don’t get fooled by smooth sections of the road. Large potholes can form where the gravel meets the bridge.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a 4×4 to get to Lonely Doug?
No, but there are logging roads so, all cars might not be suitable.

Are there any amenities?
A rustic outhouse is located along the logging road.

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Why is Lonely Doug still standing?

The history of Lonely Doug is a tale of survival against the odds. Born amidst a lush ancient forest, this Douglas Fir has stood tall for over a millennium, weathering storms, fires and the relentless test of time.

Big Lonely Doug: The Story of One of Canada’s Last Great Trees

Big Lonely Doug weaves the ecology of old-growth forests, the legend of the West Coast’s big trees, the turbulence of the logging industry, the fight for preservation, the contention surrounding ecotourism, First Nations land and resource rights, and the fraught future of these ancient forests around the story of a logger who saved one of Canada’s last great trees.

 

The Walrus.ca has done a wonderful article about the tree’s history, it is believed to be over a thousand years old, having sprouted during the medieval period. This magnificent Douglas Fir bore witness to the rise and fall of empires, the discovery of new continents, and the leaps and bounds of human advancement.

A logging road on Vancouver Island and in the background is Lonely Doug, a Douglas fir standing tall after the ares has been logged with one tree leftBut its biggest challenge came in 2011 when the forest around it was slated for clear-cut logging. It stood, destined to share the fate of its brethren, but was miraculously spared, thanks to the intervention of a conscious logger named Dennis Cronin.

It’s unknown why the logger marked the tree with a ribbon, saving it from imminent destruction. Some say it was due to the sheer size and was too impressive to cut down. This may be the case, other reasons may include that trees this size are often used as anchors for cables to haul smaller trees up, and in the past trees this size have been left because they can be difficult for logging companies to harvest.

No matter the reason, for a short time, the giant Douglas fir stood in the valley going unnoticed until it was discovered by TJ Watt of the Ancient Forest Alliance, A Victoria-based non-profit. Lonely Doug soon became a symbol across Canada and a stark reminder of the loss of our old-growth forests.

After a large campaign that included local businesses, tourism groups and the AFA have worked hard to protect Avatar Grove 20 minutes south but it’s very hard to fight for protection one group of trees at a time. Ways to help Protect Old-Growth.

"Ol' Lonely Doug is an impressive, hearty specimen! Totally worth exploring to find him. The tiny trail to view him up close is a stark contrast to what you will find when you get to the base of this tree. Continue on down the road to Eden Grove for some other gigantors. It is marked, and, as a bonus, there is a crystal clear swimming hole under the bridge in between these two stops."

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Exploring Eden Grove

A two stage waterfall found along the logging road on the way to Edean Grove in Port RenfrewContinue only a couple hundred yards up the logging road and you will come upon a small bridge where on one side is a gorgeous two-stage waterfall, and on the other, look down to see naturally formed infinity pools. Just another glorious picture of nature you will experience on this trip.

Cedar plank walkway through old growth trees at Eden Grove near Port RenfrewFrom the bridge, you can see the entrance on the right to Eden Grove. Take the granite steps down, leading you through the series of boardwalks built by the Coastal Trail Collective protecting the old-growth grove from human footsteps.

The ancient forest covers thirty hectares and is filled with Douglas fir and western red cedar trees. One cedar tree has a diameter of over three and a half meters, and many others are estimated to be between 500 and 1000 years old.

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Getting there

40 minutes drive from Port Renfrew.

Directions: Google Maps

AllTrails: Map

  • Take Deering Road North out of town
  • Turn left on Pacific Marine Road
  • Once you cross Baird Creek, the road turns from pavement to logging road
  • After a few minutes heading up, make the stop at Avatar Grove
  • Continue following Gordon River Road until your next right onto Edinburgh Main Road
  • The road gets a little rough after crossing the bridge but it’s too intense, at this point you are almost to the washout area.
  • If you have a 4×4 truck continue up the road directly to Lonely Doug trail
  • For all others, there is a small pull-out area to park and start walking.

The biggest potholes are located before the bridges! Careful don’t get fooled by smooth sections of the road. Large potholes can form where the gravel meets the bridge.

 

Trail map and where to park when hiking to Lonely Doug and Eden Grove

Summery: The legacy of Lonely Doug and the magic of Eden Grove

Lonely Doug and Eden Grove are two incredible destinations that offer more than just great scenery. They are a testament to the endurance and power of nature, reminding us of our connection to the natural world and our duty to protect it.

Visiting these amazing sites is a chance to appreciate our history, understand the importance of conservation, and experience the wonder of the world around us. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for a unique adventure, Lonely Doug and Eden Grove will leave an unforgettable impression on your heart.

 

Large Old Growth tree found in Eden Grove close to Port Renfrew

Gear Tips For Vancouver Island

THE NORTH FACE women's waterproof antora jacket sq
THE NORTH FACE Women's
Waterproof Antora Jacket
North face mens antora Rain Hoodie black sq
THE NORTH FACE Men's
Antora Rain Hoodie
Helly Hansen Mens seven J waterproof rain coat sq
Helly Hansen Men's
Breathable Rain Coat
Polygon 32 oz waterbottle sq
32oz Water Bottle
for Fitness and Outdoor
Osprey Sportlite 20 Hiking Backpack sq
Osprey Sportlite 20
Hiking Backpack
adventure first aid kit
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:

Do you need a 4×4 to get to Lonely Doug?
No, but there are logging roads so, all cars might not be suitable.

Are there any amenities?
A rustic outhouse is located along the logging road.

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Original Author:

Modified: January 2, 2024
Last Visit: March 20, 2023

Thank you for visiting – I hope you found the information you were looking for at VIBL (Vancouver Island Bucket List) please continue to discover all of the great places that makes Vancouver Island so great! 

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Vancouver Island is a land of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Please be aware of your surroundings and take the usual precautions for personal and wildlife safety.
Black bears, cougars and even wolves are common on Vancouver Island for more on Wildlife Safety Click Here 

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Changing seasons and tides can have a drastic effect on most locations on Vancouver Island. Please be cautious as the information in this post may vary depending on the time of year and weather. Make sure to check for current weather and tide information before you make your journey! Click here for the tides in your area. 

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Land Acknowledgement:
We would like to acknowledge the land we appreciate daily within the 50 First Nations that make up the traditional territories of the Coast Salish, Nuu chah nulth, and Kwakiutl–the first peoples of Vancouver Island .

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