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During our road trip around Vancouver Island in the Beautiful British Columbia, we made a stop to stretch our legs at the amazing Cathedral Grove, located within the Macmillan Provincial Park; which is about 16 km east of Port Alberni. The trails start right from the parking lot next to the highway, making this coastal forest one of the most accessible places to admire the giant Douglas-fir trees.
Since the 1920’s visitors have come to this area to admire the ancient, enormous trees. However, it wasn’t until 1947 that the it was established as a provincial park for the perpetual enjoyment of the public given the uniqueness of the area. The oldest trees are about 800 years old! It’s no wonder why it draws visitors from all over the world.
The largest tree in Cathedral Grove is a magnificent Douglas-fir with a massive trunk measuring 9 meters in circumference. It was very impressive! Even if they are not as big as sequoia trees, this place is great for a few minutes of tree hugging :) On the other hand, in 1997 a severe windstorm ended up toppling several trees, some of which are still lying in place today; offering a different view of these amazing giant trees. In the photo above, you can see the impressive roots from one of the fallen trees. Others have been cut and it’s possible to see the rings in their trunks to guess its age.
- Entrance to the park is free, but there’s a donation tree next to the main trail; contributions are for the improvement of the park.
- Most of the trails are wheelchair accessible.
- There are toilet facilities on site.
- However, there are no camping nor picnic facilities.
For more information about the Macmillan Provincial Park, you should visit the BC Parks website. All photos where I appear in this post were taken by Alain Denis Photography. If you’d like to see more photos from my time in Vancouver Island, you can visit my gallery.