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
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.
From 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.
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.
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.
But 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.
Continue 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.
From 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.
40 minutes drive from Port Renfrew.
Directions: Google Maps
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.
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.
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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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!
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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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