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We’ve got a few days of clear (if cool) skies, so time to lace ’em up.
Grab your boots, your trail mix and a seat on the ferry: you’re set for a day of hiking on the Sunshine Coast. We’ve compiled the best hikes under two hours to get a dose of exercise and nature… while still leaving plenty of time to grab a beer before you head back to the Langdale terminal.
Photo: Chris Thorn Photography
Length/Time Roundtrip: 2km (5km of trails in total) | 1hr
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate (steep)
Dogs: Permitted on-leash
What there is to see: This beautiful hike takes you through second-growth forest, up 434 steps, and to the top of Soames Hill, but is well worth the climb when you get to the top and see the views of the Strait of Georgia and Keats Island. With four entrances—depending on whether you’d like to begin in upper or lower Gibsons—Soames Hill is a great workout if you only have an hour or two to kill. There are also three geocaches to find along the way.
Photo: Sunshine Coast Tourism
Length/Time Roundtrip: 4km | 1.5 hrs
Level of Difficulty: Easy
What there is to see: Named after the smugglers who would hide here during prohibition as they transported alcohol down South, this trail uses a wooden platform to take you over a marsh, and then out to a lovely trail loop that takes you out to the water. There are many rocks to sit on for a picnic lunch or quick snack break at the numerous viewpoints showcasing views of the Georgia Straight, Thormanby and Texada Islands. Easily accessible, with minimal stairs or incline, this trail is full of wildlife for the bird watchers and also has swimming and kayaking options.
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Length/Time Roundtrip: 3km | 1.5 hrs
What there is to see: Homesite Creek Falls is made up of three stunning waterfalls, the main one is viewable from the South section of the trail, “Falls Trail,” which is just a short walk and allows for the best views. For those who would like a slightly longer walk, the North section of the trail, referred to as the “Nature Trail,” is a loop that allows for views of all three waterfalls. The Falls are located just across the road from the Homesite Creek Park trails and campground.
Length/Time Roundtrip: 8km | 2 hrs
What there is to see: After an hour-long hike, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of rapids and whirlpools that flow between the Jervis and Sechelt Inlets. Named after the word “strong water” in Chinook, these rapids flow twice a day with the changing of the tides. Going at the right time is crucial, but thankfully there are charts available, which mark when and where to view the big waves (Flood Tide) and whirlpools (Ebb Tide). At peak times, tides can reach speeds of 25 kph, and about 200 gallons of water pass through the narrows each tide change. There are two viewpoints, North Point and Roland Point, both of which are accessible, and one of which has benches where you can stop for a bite to eat and enjoy the views.
Length/Time Roundtrip: 7km in intersecting trails | 1.5-2.5 hrs
What there is to see: This location has a variety of easy hiking loops (the Washout, Katimavik, River Run, and Shortcut Trails—colour-coded in Red, Yellow, Green and Blue). The trails all intersect, and you can make the trip as long or short as you wish by looking at the signage and deciding which route you’d like to take through the forest, over the little bridges, and to the gorgeous waterfalls. Attached to the park is a field, two baseball diamonds, and a playground. Bathrooms and picnic sites are also available.
Burnett Falls – If you’re passing through or are already in Sechelt, then taking a quick detour to Burnett Falls should be added to your list. At 0.5km, it only takes about half an hour and has a couple of nice benches to sit and watch the falls.
Sargeant Bay Provincial Park Trail – While this easy walk is only 0.5km, this short trail is right between the wetlands and the beach. With over 157 species of birds, this is an excellent place for avid birdwatchers, or people who wish to read the signs along the way to learn about the different animals that live in the area.
Pender Hill – This is steep 2km trail is marked as intermediate/difficult and takes about an hour to complete. That being said, the panoramic views of Hotel Lake, Mount Daniel and the Georgia Straight at the top make it all worthwhile.