I am an avid hiker with a focus on easy to moderate trails in natural settings. I occasionally do harder trails.
Piper's Lagoon and Neck Point Park on Nanaimo's North Side
There are a lot of opportunities for hiking in and around Nanaimo, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. Many of the amazing places in this area will be outside of the city's boundaries or on the outskirts. Places like the Cable Bay Trail and the trails on Mount Benson are very impressive but they are much easier to get to with a car.
For a couple of parks with very nice scenery and short trails, hikers or trail hikers should aim for the north side of Nanaimo. There you will find both Piper's Lagoon Park and Neck Point Park. These are two parks that you might want to enjoy on the same trip since they are near one another and small.
Piper's Lagoon Park in Nanaimo, British Columbia
Piper's Lagoon Park is a top pick for Nanaimo according to the opinions of many. It enjoys a 4.8 rating (as of September 9th, 2021) on Google Reviews (based on 1,234 reviews).
I have personally visited this park numerous times. It is not large enough to go on a grand adventure, however, the scenery that's out there is stunning for the area. An interesting fact about this park is that there are houses in the middle of the water that could only be accessed via small boats.
There's just enough walking and even climbing involved in visiting this park to burn a fair chunk of calories over an hour or so. In the following video, you will see the parking lot and the trailhead map. I was there in both the summers of 2020 and 2021. At times, parking is packed so don't let the video fool you since it shows a fairly empty lot. The lead-up trail was wide, clear, and right next to the water but be aware there are some difficult points on this park's tricky trail.
Trailhead and Parking Area of Piper's Lagoon Park
A Nice Shade of Blue in the Waters Around Piper's Lagoon Park
Often in the area around Nanaimo, the saltwater of the Salish Sea will have a deep blue color. You do get that off the shores of the Piper's Lagoon Park but at the shallow depths, there is a nice shade of turquoise or emerald. There are also a lot of tiny little areas where small beaches have formed.
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In the next video, I talk about the area from an elevated viewpoint over the water. The hiking in this park can be a little steep at points and an adventure requires careful footing and some athleticism. I would say that this park is not senior-friendly nor is it handicapped-friendly.
There is a small path that leads to the more difficult areas. I did see elderly people turning around at that point, once the more challenging hiking begins. Up to that point, there is still some beach scenery to take in.
Piper's Lagoon Overlooking the Sea
Neck Point Park Is Similar to Piper's Lagoon Park
Neck Point Park is in the same general vicinity as Piper's Lagoon Park. The two areas do not vary too widely from one another in terms of scenery.
A big difference between the two parks is that Neck Point Park is a lot bigger. Accordingly, there is more to explore at Neck Point Park and it is a better park for someone who wants to get more exercise in via footsteps.
There were a lot of human-made staircases and railing in this park to help with the walking. All considered, the trail would still have to be considered pretty easy. A lot of other park patrons seemed to be interested in the park for book reading on the beach and other leisurely activities.
In the following video, I show the view from an area I explored in August 2021. I was on a little islet that could only be accessed at the right time of the day. The land across the water would likely be the Sunshine Coast area.
Neck Point Park in Nanaimo Viewing Toward the North
Other Attractions in the Area
If you want to get away from the water and still go for a hike or walk, then you can head out to Linley Valley. I'm not a big fan of this recreational area but there are some nice viewpoints of Nanaimo and the surrounding area. One thing I noted on my visit to this park was that the area seemed to have a lot of construction going on. I wondered if real-estate pressures might make this a less desirable location in the future for nature fans.
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.