I am an avid hiker with a focus on easy to moderate trails in natural settings. I occasionally do harder trails.
Giant Cedar Trail Located Near Port Alberni
The Giant Cedar Trail, one of the lesser-known trails on Vancouver Island, has a trailhead and a parking lot on the westbound highway of the route from Port Alberni to Tofino/Ucluelet (Highway 4). The trail is located in an area where I have seen bears on many occasions while driving. That said, I would not chance this short trail without some bear spray for peace of mind. I decided to visit this trail, bear spray in hand, on a trip out to Tofino in July of 2020 on what was a damp and cloudy day.
The trail's signature trademark is the enormous cedar trees that you can look at during your walk. You will be walking in narrow and awkward conditions for footing. This certainly is not a well-groomed trail. While the terrain is mainly flat, the unstable footing does add a degree of difficulty to the trail, one that goes alongside the Kennedy River for the most part.
In the following video, which I made on July 7th, 2020, I filmed the trailhead area. As you will see, if not for the large parking lot and the signage, this trail wouldn't really be discernible from the highway. Vegetation encroaches the entry point, something that I don't really like. If you can't already tell, I'm not going to give this trail an amazing review, but there was construction ahead that only allowed cars through at a certain time. I felt it was better to be on a trail than sitting in traffic.
Giant Cedar Trailhead on Highway 4 in BC
A Short and Not-so-Sweet Trail
This was a short trail that was neither wide nor clear. At many points, you were walking on a bed of rocks that I felt might have been a dried-out riverbed. Perhaps it was where the river water flowed in times now in the distant past. The trail definitely required a degree of nimbleness and dexterity.
If you are really just interested in getting out to the large trees and then heading back to your car, then you can do that in less than an hour. That short length certainly made it easy while the lousy conditions would make it a little harder. I would still label this trail as a walk as opposed to a long hike. The uneven terrain was more of a nuisance than a workout.
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In the following video, I show some of the trees in the area. Additionally, I use my hiking stick for scale so that you can get an appreciation of just how large the trees are. There seemed to be more to the area for exploration. However, I was under some time pressure the day I visited this trail and had to turn around.
Giant Cedars Out Near Tofino and Ucluelet
Other Hikes in the Area
It isn't absolutely critical for a hiker to visit the Giant Cedar Trail. There are far better ones in Ucluelet, Tofino, and Port Alberni. My decision to visit this trail was mainly just because I had driven by it many times. I finally decided that I would check it out.
If you don't have a lot of time in the area, then be sure to skip the Giant Cedar Trail. Instead, spend your precious time at other attractions.
For Ucluelet, go to the Rocky Bluffs or the Lighthouse Loop for top-notch trail quality. For Tofino, there are loads of trails to choose from. I like to walk out to Third Beach from Tonquin Beach. In Port Alberni, I would recommend the Stamp River Long Trail in Stamp River Provincial Park.
I'm not kidding when I say to watch out for bears. I've hiked a lot over the decades and half of my bear sightings while hiking are from this greater area.
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.