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Cable Bay Nature Trail Near Nanaimo

I am an avid hiker with a focus on easy to moderate trails in natural settings. I occasionally do harder trails.

A still from a video taken at the end of the Cable Bay Trail on Vancouver Island.

A still from a video taken at the end of the Cable Bay Trail on Vancouver Island.

Cable Bay Nature Trail Specifications

The Cable Bay Nature Trail is described as a "6.6-kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nanaimo, British Columbia" at Considered an easy trail from that source, the Cable Bay Nature Trail features 119 meters of elevation gain. Spread out over 6.6 kilometers, most people would not really notice the changes in elevation that much.

I took this trail in August of 2020 and found that it was a nice and wide trail. Furthermore, there were park signs at various points so that you could stay oriented.

The trailhead itself was a little difficult to find. It was tucked away in the Cedar area in the greater Nanaimo area. While still on Vancouver Island, Mudge Island isn't too far away from the trailhead. I recommend finding this trailhead using GPS.

What you want to do to get out to this area is head out toward Duke Point Ferry Terminal from Nanaimo. From Cedar, locate Holden Corso Road, which turns into Barnes Road. When you get to Nicola Road, you will spot a very small road sign that directs you to Cable Bay Trail.

At the end of this road, I found a small parking lot and what appeared to be an unimpressive trail when judging by the trailhead area. However, it really wasn't that bad of a walk. I can't say that it was a challenge and you won't be doing any arduous hiking on this trail but the Cable Bay Trail was a nicely shaded trail in the summertime heat.

Cable Bay Nature Trail: A Well-Shaded Trail

Arriving at the Bay

This wasn't a long trail. I estimate that it would take most people about 75 minutes to complete the trail both ways. However, that would not include time spent exploring the endpoint of the trail. There was a small area that definitely intrigued me for a little while.

At the end of the trail, you come to Cable Bay. There are a couple of points that you can explore out in this area, points that have lapping waves gently hitting the shores. There were a lot of washed-up logs on these shoes that could act as resting points as well.

One thing I did not like about this trail is that there seemed to be some evidence of territorial disputes. Many times on the trail there were some unfriendly signs that warned hikers not to deviate off of the path. These weren't simply "Private Property" signs but ones that seemed to be yelling. I wondered if there were historical conflicts that these signs referenced.

This isn't an area where you can go a diversion off of the main trail with any kind of confidence that you are staying on public lands. In the following video, I show the bay area at the end of the trail for a few minutes.

Down by the Cable Bay

A Bayside Area With Smoothed Rocks

My favorite part of the trail was a bayside area that had some very smooth rocks. I saw one very large crab, however, I discovered that it was dead. There looked to be an area where people used a swinging rope around the water. That's all covered in the video that concludes this article.

Overall, I would recommend this trail as a walk as opposed to a more strenuous hike. It looked there was swimming in the area for the hottest times of the year. Furthermore, so long as you heed the signs warning you not to trespass, there did seem to be some areas for exploring.

It definitely wasn't the easiest place to get to. However, such efforts are always double-edged: it might take extra effort to get there but then you have a bit more seclusion. If that's what you are looking for, then visit this park because I only came across a handful of people during my walk.

This is a park that you might visit if you can't get on the ferry you want at Duke Point and have a few hours to kill before the next one departs. I like Cable Bay Nature Trail better than Hemer Provincial Park. I would put it in the same category as Robert's Memorial Provincial Park but Cable Bay is longer.

The Highlight of the Cable Bay Nature Trail

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Shane Lambert


Liz Westwood from UK on August 27, 2021:

This is a great account of your hike along this trail. It is anniying to hear of territorial disputes. I hope the trail remains open and accessible for hikers in the future.