When hiking during the wetter seasons (winter and spring) this beautiful area of the Cowichan Valley boasts three separate waterfalls. If you are a waterfall seeker like me, the trek to Christie Falls in Ladysmith is most definitely worth it!
- Trail Features: Waterfalls; Forested section; Hatchery
- Length: Approximately 6.8 – 7.1 km in total, depending on the path taken
- Elevation Gain: 176 meters
- Hazards: Slippery log bridge
- Difficulty: Easy start for the first 3 km, then a short single track uphill which would be considered moderate
- Suitability: The full loop trail is suitable for children and dogs; the first section along the Trans Canada Trail is stroller/wheelchair friendly
- Bike Trails: Yes
Christie Falls has several access points, but this is the one I use, as it seems to be the most straight forward.
You start out by walking along the Cowichan Valley Trail/Trans Canada Trail (although you don’t actually know this until you reach the fish hatchery). This approximate 3 km portion of the trail is a relatively flat, easy walk. The trail at this end is actually just a decommissioned logging road and unfortunately isn’t very scenic. But trust me, things get much better.
First, you’ll come to the Bush Creek Hatchery, which is quite nice, considering it seems to be out in the middle of nowhere. It is here you’ll see the sign for the Cowichan Valley Trail/Trans Canada Trail. This is also the spot where the first set of falls are located (Bush Creek Falls).
To continue to Christie Falls, you will follow the single track trail uphill (look for the signs to direct you). If you were to continue following the Cowichan Valley Trail/Trans Canada Trail, it would eventually connect with the Haslam Creek Suspension Bridge trail.
The single-track trail up to Christie Falls is quite steep but easily doable. There is an approximate elevation gain of 176 meters. For this last short section, you’ll be hiking through a beautiful forested area following the creek on your right-hand side.
At the top of the trail, you’ll come to the second beautiful waterfall. This waterfall is available year-round, but as mentioned at the beginning of this post, is the most full, and simply amazing, during the wetter seasons. To find the third waterfall, and arguably the most spectacular, you need to cross the creek. Thankfully, some lovely soul(s) made a bridge out of a fallen log, equipped with a rope for guidance. However, this log bridge can be very slippery when wet! So please use caution when crossing.
Here’s a short video of the third waterfall:
You can go back the exact same way you came up, but why would you when there is also an available loop!? Head back across the log bridge to the second waterfall and then take the trail to your right. This trail will lead you to the wooden cabin shown in the above image.
I can’t find any information about this cabin. It seems to be rentable, or at least useable, for after peeking inside, it was definitely being used (or had just recently been used). I’m not sure I could sleep in it, however, it’s a pretty neat find. The cabin is also noted on the sign near the fish hatchery.
Continue following the trail downhill to connect to the Trans Canada Trail/Cowichan Valley Trail you started on. You will end up much further along this trail than you think, as when you reach the flat trail the fish hatchery is quite a ways behind you.
The loop trail takes approximately 7.1 km, while the straight and back trail (according to the AllTrails app) is 6.8 km. The loop, in my opinion, is worth the extra 0.3 km. Especially to see the cabin!
Getting To Christie Falls
As mentioned above, there are several access points that I have come across in my research of Christie Falls, however, I’ve only ever attempted this one, as it’s the most straight forward.
- From the Trans Canada Highway just north of Ladysmith, turn onto Grouhel Road
- Continue onto Christie Road
- Left onto Arroyo Road and follow until the end (just before the gravel starts)
- Park near the houses just before the first gate (please respect driveways)
- Sometimes, this first gate is open, but this depends on whether or not the road is being used by logging trucks.
- Walk to the *red gate and walk down the hill for approximately 40 minutes or 2.5 km
- Continue walking to the Bush Creek Hatchery
- Take the single track trail uphill just before the bridge (there will be signs)
- Follow this until you reach the waterfalls
*A note about the red gate. Once in awhile this red gate is open. Although very tempting, do NOT drive down this road. This is the road to the hatchery and their extremely sporadic hours of operation makes it difficult to know when that gate will be closed. They WILL lock your vehicle in.
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