VANCOUVER ISLAND - Discover Your Next Adventure:
Suspension bridge over The Englishman River with people standing on the rocks

Top Bridge

walk icon
swimming icon
Mountain Bike Access Icon


Top Bridge - A local swimming hole in Parksville

Walk, Swimming


walk icon
swimming icon
Mountain Bike Access Icon


Family access icon
All ages elderly Icon
Dogs on leash Icon

Where to this weekend, Vancouver Island: Top Bridge - Parksville

Nestled near Parksville along the Englishman River you can experience a sandstone river bed filled with potholes, outcrop cliffs and excellent swimming holes. Plus a fantastic walk along the river edge through the forest and high cliffs.

Top Bridge is an outdoor paradise. Known by locals, it can be a busy place for swimming, forested walks, mountain bike rides, or just to be near the water.

We’ll dive into what makes Top Bridge a unique location to visit away from the ocean when in Parksville and how you can make the most of your trip there.

Top Bridge, the Iconic Suspension Bridge

The pedestrian-cyclist suspension bridge is easy to access from either of the two parking lots located on either side of the Englishman River.


It’s a short walk to reach the suspension bridge, and you will quickly realize that not only does it serve as a functional crossing, but it also acts as a viewpoint as many visitors find themselves pausing mid-crossing, captivated by the panoramic views of the unique rock formations along the Englishman River below.


Whether you’re a photographer looking for that perfect shot or simply someone who appreciates nature, the bridge offers an experience that’s hard to replicate.

Dive In, The Water’s Fine! (But a Bit Cold)

One of the highlights of Top Bridge is its natural swimming hole, courtesy of the Englishman River. This spot is a local favourite, especially during the hot summer months. The water is crystal clear but can be quite chilly, making it a refreshing escape on a warm day.


It’s common to see people sitting along the sandstone rock shoreline, watching others jump from the protruding rock formation into the deep pool below. Both sides of the river allow for access to swimming during the warm summer months.

caving e1
Explore the marble passages and crystal caverns created by the ‘Ice Age’ on this guided, 3-hour caving and hiking expedition....
Explore Vancouver Island's magnificent scenery on a full-day, private tour from Victoria to Englishman River Falls, Little Qu...
Riverbend Cave Explorer
Illuminate the shimmering crystals of Riverbend Cave on this small-group adventure. For those who want to explore a cave with...
the best spots directly in your inbox

Unsubscribe anytime. For more details, review our Privacy Policy.

Exploring the Area: Forest and riverbank walk

A river trail through the forest between the river and high cliffs makes for a wonderful experience. Start from the Chattell Rd side of the bridge and head north, following the trail along the river bank. You will find large boulders, cliff faces and access points to the river.

There are a few stairs and the trail does get narrow but it’s not difficult and is well worth the walk.  

Biking and Hiking, Top Bridge Community Park

Top Bridge Community Park links three parks with multi-use trails including Englishman River Regional Park, Top Bridge Community Park and an access trail all the way to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park.

Biking trail map – TrailForks


While you’re exploring, keep your eyes peeled for something extraordinary—petroglyphs. Three petroglyphs were discovered by a local fisherman in 1940 on the rocks near the river. The exact locations are unknown, but they do exist in the area. It’s like a little treasure hunt as you explore the natural surroundings.

Trail map of top bridge showing parking lots and forest walk along the Englishman River Bank

Fishing in the Englishman River

There are six different kinds of fish in the Englishman River, making it a year-round fishing destination with great spots from the Estuary and almost to the Englishman River Falls.

  • Steelhead Trout – January to May
  • Cutthroat Trout – March to late Fall
  • Pink Salmon – July/August
  • Chinook Salmon – September
  • Coho Salmon – October/November
  • Chum Salmon – October/November

How to Get There

There are two parking lots (one on each side of the river)

Allsbrock Rd Parking Lot: Google Maps
From Alberni Highway (Hwy 4) off of 19A, take the first left after going under the overpass. Then take another left onto Allsbrook Road and follow it to its end. Drive into the gated road (open during the day) it will lead you to a parking lot. From there, just follow the main trail for a short walk to the suspension bridge.

Chattell Rd Parking Lot: Google Maps
Kaye Rd off Hwy 19 first right onto Chattell Rd after going under the overpass. Drive past the Gun rage the road will lead you directly to the parking lot, you can see the bridge from there.

Amenities and hours

There aren’t a lot of amenities other than an outhouse in each parking lot, a small bike rack and info signage.

Park gate hours 

Summer (May 1 to October 30)

  • Open at 7:00 AM
  • Closed at 9:00 PM

Winter (October 31 to April 30)

  • Open at 7:00AM
  • Close at 7:00 PM

If you do not remove your vehicle by closing time, it will be locked in until 7:00 AM the following day.


Final Thoughts

Top Bridge in Parksville is a microcosm of Vancouver Island’s diverse natural splendour. It’s not just a bridge but a special location with many outdoor activities.

Whether you’re diving into the refreshing waters of the Englishman River, wandering through lush old-growth forests, casting a line in hopes of a catch, or marvelling at the unique rock formations along the riverbank, Top Bridge offers an experience that caters to every type of nature enthusiast.

So, why wait? Add Top Bridge in Parksville to your Vancouver Island Bucket List and set off for an adventure at Top Bridge. It’s a place where each visit can be a unique exploration, and the memories you create will last a lifetime. Top Bridge isn’t just a destination; it’s an experience that embodies the spirit of Vancouver Island.

caving e1
Explore the marble passages and crystal caverns created by the ‘Ice Age’ on this guided, 3-hour caving and hiking expedition....
Riverbend Cave Explorer
Illuminate the shimmering crystals of Riverbend Cave on this small-group adventure. For those who want to explore a cave with...
Explore Vancouver Island's magnificent scenery on a full-day, private tour from Victoria to Englishman River Falls, Little Qu...
Goats on the roof in Coombs BC. The perfect quick stop when heading west from Nanaimo to Tofino.
10 min stop icon
icon directory food
icon directory shopping

Coombs Goats on ...

Coombs is a charming stop on your drive to Tofino and is well known for its iconic goats that live on the roof of the local grocery store
Waterfalls outside of Parksville on Vancouver Island. Provincial Park worth visiting.
Waterfall icon
Picnic Icon
walk icon

Englishman River...

Everything you need to know about Englishman River Falls Provincial Park. The waterfalls, accessible trail, parking camping and more.
Cathedral Grove Vancouver Island
walk icon
View point icon
big tree icon

Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove is like stepping into another world. A popular stop with 2 walking trails located within MacMillan Provincial Park on Vancouver Island

Did we miss something?
Have more to add?

Original Author:

Modified: November 2, 2023
Join Our Bi-Weekly Newsletter
Where to This Weekend?
Vancouver Island's Ultimate Experiences!
For the adventurous, curious and those who love Vancouver Island.
Includes lesser known hikes, stories, and more.

Unsubscribe anytime. For more details, review our Privacy Policy.

Pack Out:
We love Vancouver Island and want to keep the natural beauty. Please respect the places you visit and pack out what you pack in and leave the area better than when you arrived. We all know how much trash can spoil an experience and the environment, so please help us keep it clean!

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 

Tide and Seasonal Safety:
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!
When visiting the beach, it’s essential to pay attention and stay safe! Please be cautious walking on the shore during high tide. At this time, some areas may not be accessible. 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 .

The information on this website should not be taken as accurate, complete or up-to-date. Please check and look into the information yourself. We do not assume any liabilities for the use of this information. It is unreasonable to rely solely upon the information from this website. 

Submit a change suggestion:

max of 4 images