The lower Carmanah Valley was declared a provincial park in 1990 and with the addition of the Walbran and upper Carmanah Valley in 1995, Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park was created. It is a remote wilderness park located inside traditional ancestral territory and access to the park is by gravel logging roads from Port Alberni, Lake Cowichan or Port Renfrew. All three routes will lead to the Caycuse River Bridge, which is the only way to access the park. It is highly recommended you visit the park in the summer as it can be very wet in the other seasons. More detailed driving instructions are available from the B.C. Parks’ website: www.bcparks.ca.
*Caution – Park Visitors should carry a spare tire and be aware that they are driving in an active hauling area. The Carmanah Walbran protects extensive tracts of luxuriant Pacific temperate rainforest and is famous for its ancient old growth, which includes giant Western Redcedar, Coast Douglas-fir, Western Hemlock and towering groves of Sitka Spruce.
One of the park’s main attractions is its spectacular spruce groves that grow along the riverside flats. Canada’s tallest tree, a Sitka Spruce name the Carmanah Giant, is estimated to be around 400 years old with a height of over 95 meters. The spruce groves attain a biomass of nearly twice that of a tropical rain forest and can live for more than 800 years. Some of the Western Redcedar in the area are well over 1,000 years old.
Designated hiking trails and boardwalk provide access to many of the park’s natural features, view points and wilderness camping areas. Trails are often muddy and primitive and it is advised to be equipped with appropriate clothing and good hiking boots, including rain gear.
Wildlife viewing can be enjoyed from the viewing platforms located at Coast Tower, Three Sisters and Heaven Tree. These viewing platforms help to protect the surrounding vegetation and offer Park Visitor an awe-inspiring perspective of a majestic old growth forest.
*Caution – Boardwalk and trail repairs are ongoing.
There are several locations upstream from The Three Sisters trail for camping. During the summer months, camping is permitted on the exposed gravel bars and walk-in camping is available above the Valley where the Carmanah Valley Trailhead is located.
The main campsite area is located near the parking area on the service road with picnic tables, tent pads and fire rings.
A backcountry camping fee is charged and a self-serve registration vault is located in the parking lot at the Carmanah Valley Trailhead. Park Visitors also have the option to register and pre-pay on-line at http:/www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/registration. The registration fee allows for overnight camping in backcountry areas but does not guarantee that a campsite in a specific area will be available.