While out seeking a few nearby hidden gems, we discovered the trail system of the Puntledge River Recreation area. Owned by BC Hydro, this beautiful area has an abundance of multi-use trails to explore. The majority of which, start at the Comox Lake Dam near Cumberland.
- Trail Features: Multi-use trails; Second growth forest; Water features; Footbridges;
- Length: Variety of lengths
- Difficulty: Easy to Moderate depending on trail chosen
- Suitability: Everyone! (Trail dependent)
- Bike Trails: Yes! The majority of these trails were created for mountain bikers
A Bit of History
In 1912, Canadian Collieries Ltd. developed the hydroelectric potential of Comox Lake and the Puntledge River to provide electricity for the operation of its coal mines in the surrounding areas.
In 1955, BC Hydro’s predecessor, The BC Power Commission, acquired the development. The company then rebuilt the diversion dam, penstocks and powerhouse to expand the systems electrical output to nearby communities. The dam was upgraded once again in 1982.
The heavily treed property surrounding the dam was made into a multi-use trail system for all to enjoy. These trails were also built to connect with Nymph Falls Nature Park.
The Puntledge River Recreation area has trails that suit everyone. There are trails for biking, hiking, strolling and even ones suited for sport wheelchairs (so great for strollers too!). The trails are very well marked, and some even have a difficulty rating on the posted signs.
Here’s an overview of the trails found within the Puntledge River Recreation area.
Designated Walking/Hiking Trails
River Trail West
This easy 5.5 km trail follows the west side of the Puntledge River. Along this trail, you’ll find numerous boardwalks and bridges, and plenty of benches to sit at to enjoy the beautiful river views.
If you are looking for an even longer walk, this trail eventually connects to the trails within Nymph Falls Regional Park.
River Trail East
This 4 km trail follows along the east side of the Puntledge River and ends near the Lake View Guesthouse in Bevan. Look for the eagle head carving while on your walk.
Twin Lakes Trail
This easy walking trail is only 600 meters (one way). You’ll walk past two small lakes (more like ponds) while on the trail. Link back around by following the Loop Trail (below).
This interesting 1.7 km loop trail offers walkers benches to relax on, a log bridge to cross over and plenty of lake, forest and river views.
The following trails are designated as biking and hiking trails and are equally enjoyable doing both.
This 4.8 km (one way) trail begins at the Comox Lake Dam and ends at the Puntledge Diversion Dam near the old townsite of Bevan. There are many smaller offshoot loops along this main route which provide a shorter distance or an even more interesting journey.
Bear Bait Trail
This 4.7 km trail is full of unique bridges and log jumps (used by mountain bikers), which makes for an extremely interesting walk. If you do hike this trail please give bikers the right away.
The Puntledge River Recreation area is found at the Comox Lake Dam near Cumberland. Along with the trails mentioned above, there is a parking lot, a small beach area, pit toilets, information displays and a small picnic area.
The area is open to the public year round, but please observe posted gate closure times. There is an alternate parking area adjacent to the gate.
For some reason this area doesn’t have an official address:
- Take Exit 117 to Cumberland
- Turn left onto Comox Valley Pkwy S/Cumberland Rd S
- Continue to follow Cumberland Rd S,
- Take the 2nd right onto Bevan Rd
- Turn left onto Comox Logging road and keep following
- The dam will come up on your right-hand side
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