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Nanaimo's Extension Ridge Trail: The Abyss

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

That crack in the picture is known as The Abyss to Nanaimo locals. This is an over-rated attraction for the area, in my opinion and those looking for something to do need not be overly interested in this trail.

That crack in the picture is known as The Abyss to Nanaimo locals. This is an over-rated attraction for the area, in my opinion and those looking for something to do need not be overly interested in this trail.

Nanaimo's Extension Ridge Trail: The Abyss

In July of 2020, I was looking for more and more trails to do in the Nanaimo area. I went online and found one called "The Abyss" and noted that it did not actually have that great of reviews. designates the trail as "The Abyss via Extension Ridge Trail" and it has a 4-star rating out of 5 in the "easy" category.

When I think of easy trails, I think of trails that are good for injured people, handicapped people, seniors, children, or people just starting a fitness routine after one too many bags of potato chips. This trail wouldn't be easy for people in those categories, in my opinion. There was an uphill slope that lasted for a large chunk of the 2.1-kilometer trail. Personally, I would position this trail as moderate but certainly not difficult.

In the following video, I feature footage of the trailhead area near Harewood Mines Road. I think it's worth watching because I actually had a little trouble finding the trailhead as it was well hidden in between some lanes and houses. As you can see from the video, the start of the trail certainly didn't hold much promise as a walk or hike through a beautiful area.

Trailhead Area for the Extension Ridge Trail (The Abyss)

This Was Not a Scenic Trail for Nanaimo

The trail to The Abyss certainly was not a scenic trail. I felt like I was in an area that had been logged in the past. I also wondered if maybe there was a forest fire in the area a few decades ago. Mainly, it was low-growing vegetation and at some points, the trail wasn't discernible.

In an area that was mostly dominated by brown earth tones, I did not find any kind of amazing viewpoint en route to the top. However, after just 20 minutes I got to the main attraction, an area where you could still hear the traffic of nearby vehicles. That's a good point for someone that prefers a trail that seemingly gets away from it all (ie. this one doesn't).

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The Abyss is a crack in the ground made from geological events. The purpose of the trail is mainly just for the novelty of checking out this crack in the ground out. When I left, I didn't really feel any more educated than before I went there.

There was a little bit of a viewpoint near The Abyss. You could look mainly north and see the area around Departure Bay ferry terminal.

I appreciate the fact that tastes vary. Feel free to check out the video I made of the main attraction below. If you sense some disappointment in my voice, it's because I wasn't all that impressed but at least the uphill jaunt helped me lose some weight.

The Abyss via Extension Ridge Trail

Other Trails More Recommendable

I mainly ended up on this trail because I am constantly looking for something new. I can't say that I recommend it. Furthermore, there were no other hikers on the trail when I went and that speaks for itself to a degree.

If I had to find something positive to say, I would say that it's a trail that might be interesting to someone that is interested in geology. You could take a kid up there and speak to them about how events like earthquakes affect the surface of the Earth. Be careful that the kid doesn't step in the crack because he might do more than just break his back.

For firm recommendations in the area, I would point toward Benson Mountain trails, Westwood Lake Trails, and both Neck Point Park and Piper's Lagoon Park as more enjoyable areas in and around Nanaimo. I have written about all those locations so feel free to poke around my profile for videos and previews.

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

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