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A first-person view of a hiker's feet standing on the edge of a narrow, deep crevice in the ground. Located at the Abyss in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The image shows one foot on slightly over the gap, which is lined with moss and contrasts with the rough, textured surface of the rock. The perspective emphasizes the depth and darkness of the crevice below.

The Abyss Nanaimo

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Nanaimo

The Abyss in Nanaimo: A Easy and Unique Afternoon Hike

Activity:
Hike
Difficulty:
Easy-Moderate
Location:
Nanaimo
Time:
45 min
Distance:
3 km (1.9mi)

Activity:

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Accessibility:

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Where to this weekend, Vancouver Island: The Abyss Nanaimo BC

Located in Nanaimo, this Central Island experience is perfect for anyone looking for a short hike with a unique picture-taking experience.

If you’re craving a little escape that doesn’t require a full-on expedition, let me introduce you to the Abyss in Nanaimo. It’s this super cool, kinda mysterious crack in the earth that you can easily hike to.

There is no need for fancy gear or expert-level hiking skills—just a good pair of shoes and a sense of curiosity. Scroll down for a quick rundown on how to get there and what you can expect. So, if you’re up for a chill afternoon of exploring something a bit different, stick around. The Abyss is calling!

What is the Abyss

Large crack in the rock at the AbyssRealistically, it’s just a big crack in the rock. However, the Abyss is still a fascinating geological feature located in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, that offers a glimpse into the Earth’s dynamic processes. It’s essentially a long, narrow fracture in the ground, 16″ wide, stretching about 40 meters, surrounded by arbutus trees that add to its allure.

But what really sets the Abyss apart is its easy access and the fact that it’s located on a smooth, exposed surface. This natural crack wasn’t formed by erosion or human activity, but most likely due to seismic shifts that occurred thousands of years ago.

So, when you’re walking alongside this intriguing crevice, you’re essentially walking alongside a piece of Earth’s history. It’s a simple yet captivating experience that allows you to connect with nature in a way that’s different from your typical forest hike.

Large crack in the rock with Nanaimo in the distance

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The trail up

dirt trail with stumps, roots and trees up to the top of the Abyss in NanaimoThis easy-to-moderate hike features a manageable elevation gain of just under 80 meters and spans a total of 3 km out and back on a well-marked trail.

You can complete the whole adventure in about 45 to 60 minutes, making it a perfect choice for a morning or afternoon outing.
The trail itself is a dirt path that’s fairly exposed to the sun, so don’t forget your sunscreen.

As you make your way, you’ll be treated to scenic views of Gabriola Island and Nanaimo that add a picturesque backdrop to your journey. And if you’re up for more exploring, the trail seamlessly continues as part of the Extension Ridge Trail, offering even more opportunities for adventure.

Just so you know, the Abyss Trailhead ain’t exactly a remote spot. It’s right on the edge of Nanaimo, and a lot of people go there for dirt biking, mountain biking, and hiking. Oh, and the Military rifle range is only about 1km away, so be aware of that.

All Trails GPS Hiking Map

Getting There

Directions Google Maps

The trailhead starts off Harewood Mines Road, which is easily accessible by car. Once you arrive, you’ll find a small parking area along the road located at the trail entrance. The parking is free but can get busy during weekends and holidays.

If the parking area is full, there’s additional street parking available along Harewood Mines Road. Just make sure to check for any parking restrictions to avoid any surprises.

The view from the trail looking down at the strait and Naniamo

To summarize your visit to the Abyss in Nanaimo

The Abyss offers a unique and accessible outdoor experience right on the edge of Nanaimo. With its easy-to-moderate 3 km trail, you can enjoy a quick yet fulfilling adventure that takes under an hour to complete.

The trail not only leads you to a geological feature but also offers stunning views of Gabriola Island and Nanaimo along the way. Getting there is a breeze, with ample parking options and a trailhead conveniently located off Harewood Mines Road.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, anyone can enjoy the unique fissure and the views, making the Abyss in Nanaimo a great hike to try at least once.

A hiking trail map with the parking lot and the Abyss location marked

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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Original Author:

Modified: January 3, 2024
Last Visit: September 9, 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. 

Be aware of ocean currents before swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking.

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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