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Heart Lake Trail Near Ladysmith on Vancouver Island

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

Heart Lake is in the background.

Heart Lake is in the background.

Heart Lake Trail Near Ladysmith, British Columbia

The Heart Lake Trail is one of my favorite trails on Vancouver Island. It is mainly accessible from the town of Ladysmith, which is on the Trans Canada Highway. The town might be best known as the birthplace of movie star Pamela Anderson but trail hikers and nature enthusiasts will also be very familiar with the town.

To find this trail, head west from the Trans Canada Highway in the town of Ladysmith. You will be traveling uphill as you do this. Near the RCMP station on 6th avenue at the top of the hill, there is a parking lot in an area known as the Holland Creek trail hiking area. I like parking near police stations because I think only a brazen criminal would break into my vehicle right beside a police station.

This certainly is a trail where you will want some bear spray. Vancouver Island has plenty of bears. Although I have only ever seen a bear four times on the hundreds of trails I have walked or hiked in Canada, two of those sightings were on Vancouver Island. In the following video, I show you a great place to start your adventure.

Holland Creek Trail Area Near Ladysmith

Getting to the Heart Lake Loop Trailhead

This is a trail where you will want to be walking with GPS or an app that is meant to guide you while hiking. The Holland Creek Trail and the Heart Lake Trail are part of the same network but they are not one and the same thing. The first step in finding the Heart Lake Trail is to look for a trailhead called "Heart Lake Loop."

When I got to this trailhead map, there was a warning for bears and cougars in the area. To find the exact trailhead to Heart Lake, you would go to your left (as your approach the sign) from the trailhead that is featured in the next video. There was also a sign in this area that said "Volvo Flats," however, that was not the direction I went in.

Heart Lake Loop Trailhead Sign

Getting to the Heart Lake Trail Trailhead

After walking a short distance from the "Heart Lake Loop" trailhead sign, I got to the trailhead for the "Heart Lake Trail." It's a little confusing that these should be different. Basically, one leads to the other. A key difference is that the loop trail involves doing the perimeter of the lake while the Heart Lake Trail is for hikers that might want to go swimming as part of their outing. This trail leads to what was a nice viewpoint of the lake.

The trailhead is recognizable by a small staircase at the start, one that certainly didn't appear to be natural. There is also a sign that says motorized vehicles are not allowed, campfires are not allowed, and overnight camping is not allowed. Honestly, I didn't really see how motorized vehicles could be uses this trail, even if they were allowed. Have a look at the following video of the area so that you know what to look for while heading out to this trail. It took me about 35 minutes to get from the RCMP station to the Heart Lake Trail.

The Trailhead for the Heart Lake Trail

A Tough Trail and a Rugged Swimming Area

The Heart Lake Trail is a difficult trail. It was uphill for almost the entire time. Furthermore, there were loose sections when it came to footing and sometimes the pathway was narrow. Lastly, I did not come across all that many hikers, although I did meet a few. Perhaps it would have been busier in the daytime.

The lake itself isn't a large lake. The water felt fresh, it was warm in the middle of the summer, and there was nobody else in the lake.

I would recommend wearing swimming shoes when entering this lake. You can't expect a proper sandy beach out here. I entered the water off of rocks and there were a lot of sticks, stones, and logs in the water.

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There appeared to be a trail to the left and right when I got lakeside. However, I did not explore the area as it was in the evening. Having found a swimming spot, my goal for the day was satisfied.

Viewpoint of Heart Lake

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


BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 06, 2021:

That sounds a bit rugged for me. Maybe in my younger days, but not now.

Loose footing, and uphill surely counts me out.

Glad you didn't have any problems since no one else was out there.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 06, 2021:

Heart Lake looks absolutely beautiful! I think that at my age the idea of having bears and cougars possibly nearby would keep me from hiking that trail unless accompanied by many others. I once spent 3 days on Vancouver Island and only saw some highlights. Thanks for showing us more of the island.

Spiral Illusion on September 06, 2021:

Looks like you love the outdoors. What is your take on hiking and Covid? I'm asking how is it for people to socially use hiking as a means of getting together during the breakout of Covid? You have to have protective gear so what would the group do now that we are masked? This article is good for those who want to tour the island. You did a great job.

Shane Lambert (author) from Edmonton, Alberta on September 06, 2021:

Thanks. Vancouver and Vancouver Island are very different though!

Nell Rose from England on September 06, 2021:

That was so nice, thanks for the trip! If things had been different in my family, long story, we would be living out in Vancouver. Strange to think really. Instead I live in Lil ol' England, lol! Loved the videos!

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