Port Alberni has so many unique trails and amazing waterfalls. And Cold Creek Falls, located a short distance off the Log Train Trail, is another spectacular one to explore.
- Trail / Park Features: Waterfall; Second growth forest; Historic Sites
- Length: The entire point to point trail is 25 km’s long, however, access to Cold Creek Falls is 5 km’s (or shorter)
- Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
- Hazards: Motorbike and ATV area
- Suitability: Horses, mountain biking, hiking
- Bike Trails: Yes (mountain biking)
The Log Train Trail
The Log Train Trail is a linear Regional Park leased to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District by the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. This 25-kilometre section of trail was originally a rail bed developed in the early 1900s as part of the Bainbridge Mill rail-logging operation.
This multipurpose trail is accessible from many points in Port Alberni and is suitable for horses, mountain bikes and hiking. Although the Regional District doesn’t promote it, this long flat trail is also a popular spot for motorbikes and ATV travel. In fact, a portion of the trail used to access Cold Creek Falls runs right beside the motocross track and can be extremely noisy.
One end of the 25 km Log Train Trail is found off of Woolsey Road, while the other is on Lacy Lake Road, directly behind Coombs Country Candy (on Hwy 4). Two historic points of interest along the trail are the McLean Sawmill National Historic Site and the old Bainbridge Mill site.
For a reference point, please view this map courtesy of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.
The section of the Log Train Trail enjoyed by most is the one that gives us access to Cold Creek Falls.
Cold Creek Falls
Cold Creek Falls is an 18 meter (60 foot) waterfall found a short distance off the Log Train Trail. This short section to the falls is undoubtedly the prettiest part.
There are a few ways to get to Cold Creek Falls. For a longer walk, park in the large dirt area on Lacy Lake Road behind Coombs Country Candy. With the store at your back, you will start your walk going left along the trail. From this particular point, it’s a 9 km walk round trip.
For a shorter 5km hike, park your vehicle at the wide spot on the corner of Maebelle and Mozart Roads (recommended!) and look for the trail sign near the house on the corner. Keep following this main trail all the way to the Cold Creek Falls sign.
Or for an even shorter walk (approximately 1 km), access the falls via Milligan Road through the Motorcross Track. Head to the very back of the track, and follow the trail down the hill and to your left.
No matter the distance you choose, you are following the Log Train Trail for the majority of your walk. Cold Creek Falls is a short (0.5-kilometre) jaunt off this main trail.
The Trail to Cold Creek Falls
Right after the Motorcross Track, there will be a steep descent to a small wooden bridge and the Cold Creek Falls sign. After crossing this bridge and following the trail to your right, things really start to get pretty! You will be surrounded by large mossy rocks, lush ferns and old fallen trees. At the base of the falls, there is also a beautiful large rock wall that towers above you.
Please note, this portion of the trail is less manicured than the Log Train Trail. It can be extremely muddy and slippery and has many uneven sections. As mentioned, it’s only 0.5 km, so definitely doable! For those who venture here on their mountain bikes, you’ll want to park your bike at the Cold Creek sign and walk this last section.
Accessing the Log Train Trail by Horseback
Both parking areas mentioned above (Lacy Lake Road and Mozart Road) are big enough for horse trailers. Another great parking area is at the McLean Mill National Historic Site. However, it’s important to note the mill gate is closed each evening and your vehicle WILL be locked inside.
I’m not sure the trail to Cold Creek Falls is wide enough for horses, so access to the waterfall may not be an option for you if on horseback. As well, the noise from the Motorcross Track might scare the horses.
Things to Note
- The Log Train Trail is not suited to camping, as it passes through private forest lands and farms.
- The seasonal creeks you come across are not recommended for drinking without treatment
- Cell coverage can be found along the entire 25 km Regional Park Trail
- Please be mindful and aware of your surroundings at all times. As noted above, portions of this trail are frequented by smaller motorized vehicles.
Have you been on any section of the Log Train Trail? Have you been to Cold Creek Falls? Tell us about it in the comment section below!
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