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Dog owners love to watch their canine friends run free, which is why off-leash dog parks, trails, and beaches are becoming increasingly popular. Vancouver Island has a great many of these leash-free parks. So many, in fact, for the purpose of this article I narrowed my research to just the Mid-Vancouver Island area.

Please utilize this list as a resource of places to go when your dog needs a little extra freedom and exercise.

I only ask that you show good dog park etiquette by making sure to always pick up after your pooch, and ensuring the waste is disposed of appropriately!

If you want your dog to get a little more exercise, check out these fantastic off-leash dog parks and trails in the Mid-Vancouver Island area.

Off-Leash Dog Parks and Trails in the Mid-Vancouver Island Area

Ladysmith

The Town of Ladysmith provides seven designated off-leash areas. Each off-leash park includes signage, a dispenser stocked with biodegradable waste bags, and a waste container.

Ladysmith Off-Leash Dog Parks

  • Davis Road Dog Park – A fully fenced off-leash park located at the old Davis Road Elementary (444 Parkhill Terrace)
  • Transfer Beach Park – This off-leash area is designated by the wood fencing in the upper field of Transfer Beach Park. The easiest access is above deKoninck Way.
  • Gourlay-Janes Park – You will find this unfenced dog-friendly area off Chemainus Road.

Ladysmith Off-Leash Trails

  • Holland Creek Trail  – This 5.8 km (easy/moderate) trail has several access points, including Dogwood Drive, 6th Avenue & Methuen (location of the Kinsmen Shelter and washroom), Davis Road Park, or Mackie Road. Wheelchair access is available at the Methuen Street entry point.
  • Rotary Lookout Trail – You can access this easy 1.2 km trail near the log bridge at the top of Holland Creek Trail.
  • Stocking Lake  – This 9.3 km (challenging) trail begins at Davis Road Park, and intersects with Heart Lake Loop (below).
  • Heart Lake Loop – This 6.4 km (challenging) trail has a very steep start, and is accessed at Davis Road Park, or at the Holland Creek Trail.
Westwood Lake

Nanaimo

The City of Nanaimo offers twelve off-leash dog parks and trails. Each dog park has specific areas and times for dogs to exercise off-leash. Please remember that your dog must remain under your control and that you carry a leash with you at all times.

Off-Leash Dog Parks in Nanaimo

  • Beban Park –  (Labieux Road) – This park provides a two-acre fenced-in grassy and gravel area complete with fire hydrants, especially for dogs. Also provided are tables, benches, a waste bag dispenser, garbage can, wheelchair access, and lots of parking. Hours are 8:00 am – Dusk.
  • Beaufort Park Dog Off-Leash Area –  This partially fenced grassy area is accessed at the end of Chelsea Crescent (near the tennis court).
  • Diver Lake Park – This off-leash park is seasonal, and only open from October 1 – April 30 (it is used as a sports field from May until the end of September). You can access this park off of Black Franks Drive.
  • Invermere Beach – This off-leash beach is dependent on the tides. Before you go, please check the tide information for the best use of this beach. The beach is accessed off of Invermere Road.
  • May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park – Please note: only the forested land next to this park is off-leash. Park entrances can be found at 6700 Dover Road and 6780 Dover Road.
  • Northfield Rotary Lookout Park – There is a fenced-in off-leash dog park behind the visitor’s centre (located on the Parkway). The official address is 2450 Northfield Road.
  • St. George Ravine Park – Located in the Brechin Hill neighbourhood (980 Terminal Avenue N.), this off-leash park features an open grassy area.
  • Wardopper Park – Located in Departure Bay, this park offers a fully fenced off-leash area. You can find this park at 2957 Departure Bay Road.
  • Gallows Point Light Park – This is Protection Island’s only off-leash area. You access this park at 208 Colvilleton Trail.

Off-Leash Trails in Nanaimo

  • Cable Bay Trail – This 2 km (easy to moderate) forested trail leads down to a rocky beach. Waste bags and a garbage bin are available at the trailhead. You will find the trail off of Nicola Road in the Cedar area.
  • Colliery Dam Park Off-Leash Area (upper dam trail only) – Use the Upper Lake parking lot off of Nanaimo Lakes Road to access the designated off-leash dog area. Waste bags and a garbage can are available at the trailhead.
  • Westwood Lake Trail – This is a 6-kilometre trail loop, however, only the area underneath the power lines (on the Southern side of Westwood Lake) is a designated off-leash area. So keep in mind that your dog will need to remain on the leash until you get to that particular area. There are waste bag dispensers and garbage cans available at the park entrance (in the parking area, next to the map signage board).

Oceanside Area

You will find four designated off-leash parks in the Oceanside Area.

  • Greemax Crown Woodlot – This woodlot, located south of Moorecroft Regional Park in Nanoose Bay, is open to the public for off-leash dog walking.  You can access the off-leash area from the woodlot parking lot on Stewart Road, or from the Moorecroft Meadow trail.
  • Springwood Park Dog Play Area – This dog park, located on Despard Avenue near Springwood Park in Parksville, offers a fenced exercise area with grass, and some trees for shade. You will also find running water for thirsty dogs, waste bags, garbage cans, benches, and a shelter with picnic tables for owners.
  • Civic Centre – Tucked in behind the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre complex you will find a lengthy network of designated off-leash trails. A waste bag dispenser is available, as well as garbage bins. The Civic Centre is located at 747 Jones Street.
  • Near the Qualicum Beach Airport – Across the street from the Qualicum Beach Airport entrance, at Rupert Road East and Bennett Road, you will find a designated off-leash area.