Just a 10-minute drive from Courtenay, Nymph Falls Nature Park is nestled along the Puntledge River in the Comox Valley. It’s the perfect location for swimming and waterfall gazing, giving access to numerous hiking trails, biking trails, wheel-chair access trails, and multi-use trails – some suitable for horses and off-leash dogs (just watch for signage). Picnic tables and pit toilets facilities are provided on-site.
Nymph Falls Nature Park is an exciting scenic area with so much to see and do with a nice mix of activities to keep the entire family busy all weekend long. Energize yourself with a swim in the Puntledge River, or take advantage of the various walking trails surrounding the area.
Throughout the trail system, you will find many benches, three outhouses spread out along the trail and picnic tables to enjoy lunch while listening to the river. Keep your eye out for one special picnic table with amazing faces carved into the legs.
If you head down towards the picnic area from the main entrance, you will see a clearing with tables close to the river. During World War II this area was the site of a labour camp for conscientious objectors.
Nymph Falls Nature Park consists of two sets of waterfalls:
Nymph Falls – In summer, the raging waters calm and reveal a series of exposed bedrock ledges. Making it a popular attraction to cool off in the summer heat.
Nib Falls – Cascading over man-made fish ladders blasted out of the rock in 1977 to assist spawning salmon swimming upstream. October is a great time to see the Salmon spawning as they jump and leap their way up the falls. You can find viewing and pool access on a rock outcrop 500 meters from the parking lot.
The Puntledge River is an important part of the salmon run that once boasted an abundance of various species of fish. The Puntledge River Hatchery was built downstream to save chinook salmon from extinction and help rebuild a healthy fish population altogether.
When you arrive, there are two parking lots to choose from.
#1 The first parking lot is well signed and is ideal for the short hike to the falls viewing point. It’s not a large parking lot, so it fills up quickly in the summer. Parking along the road is also an option. Just make sure you are completely off the pavement.
#2 The second parking lot is just a little further down the road and hidden in the trees. It’s a longer walk to the falls but much closer if you are looking to go for a swim at Barber’s Hole.
Access to Nib Falls viewing area, the nucleus of the park, is just 500m from the main parking lot and is accessed from the River Trail, where you can scope out the man-made fish ladders and walk out onto the long flat rocks for a spectacular view of the falls (watch out for slippery rocks due to algae deposits). Don’t forget your swimming suit for a refreshing dip in the Puntledge River.
After you have your fill of the gorgeous Nib and Nymph Falls, be sure to head upstream to Barber’s hole. This blue-green gem is another must-stop spot within the park. You can choose a parking lot close by, (a small gravel lot on the left just after the main Nymph Falls Parking lot) or hike your way over from the falls on a scenic 2.6 km trail. Many locals aren’t aware this swimming hole exists – a summer oasis, the perfect place to enjoy the sunshine and a cool and calm doggie-paddle on a hot summer day.
A true Vancouver Island paradise, Nymph Falls Nature Park is not to be missed on your summer to-do list! And just a few minute drive out of the busy Courtenay/Comox city core – it’s the perfect plan to round up your friends and enjoy everything nature has to offer!
Although great for swimming in summer, If you’re looking for sandy beaches to spread out and enjoy the sun, Air Force Beach and Kye Beach are some of the nicest Beaches on Vancouver Island.
Comox Valley residents use hydroelectric power generated by BC Hydro from the river and dam at Comox Lake. A siren indicates the river is about to become faster and higher. When you hear the siren, evacuate the river and riverside area immediately.
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