The Tall Trees

“We must protect the forests for our children; grandchildren and children yet to be born.  We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.” ~Quatsomas – (hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation Was a representative in the House of Smayusta , the traditional form of Nuxalk Government in Bella Coola

Forests, Individuals, and Festivals

Take a walk on the wild side, pack a picnic, and head to the trees.  Trucks, SUVs, 4WD vehicles are the best and we speak from experience.  Ask us!! There is no cell phone reception in the Port Renfrew and the surrounding area, so always be prepared.  Have a full tank of fuel, a spare tire you can count on, and a first aid kit with bottled water.  We recommend the Vancouver Island Backroads Mapbook.   You can find a well-used map book in our library.  It is a remote wilderness – travel smart.  Treat the land and all creatures with respect, tread gently.

Find your happy place. The term shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”)emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise. It is not just for the wilderness-lover; the practice can be as simple as walking in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you.

While hiking involves moving purposefully across the terrain, forest bathing isn’t about following a defined route. Call it a fitness trend or a mindfulness practice (or a bit of both).


Immerse yourself in the magic of Avatar Grove.  You will find a mixture of boardwalks and lightly challenging trails/stairs. The upper walk is shorter but steeper and includes the gnarliest tree. If you have limited time see just this one. The lower grove has larger trees to see, is a little easier to reach and if you keep walking through, the trail will end up at Upper Gordon River.

For a do-it-yourself tour, check out the map to Avatar Grove and the Tall Trees. Alternatively, check out TJ’s Guided Day Hikes to BC’s Biggest Trees at Big Tree Tours.

My favourite is Lonely Doug by virtue of the name; same as our down under son-in-law.  This old-growth Douglas-fir stands in the middle of a clear-cut and is not so lonely these days. He stands 4.0 metres wide and 70 metres tall and estimated to be 1000 years old.  His rival the Red Creek Fir lives just a valley away.  ***Unless you plan on the long hike up the logging road off Gordon Mainline, you will need a vehicle with guts and high road clearance.  The off-road path through the clear-cut will require good hiking boots and stamina.

Red Creek Fir is Canada’s largest Douglas-fir tree; measuring 4.3 metres wide and 74 metres tall. The drive to the Red Creek Fir past the San Juan Spruce takes about 40 minutes and is along bumpier road logging roads but worth the journey for the adventurous big tree fans.

San Juan and Harris Creek Sitka Spruces

One of Canada’s largest Sitka spruce sits on the edge of the San Juan River; just off the main road leading from Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan.  A gentle giant surrounded by bigleaf Western maples; she sits at 3.7 metres wide.

The Harris Creek Sitka is by far the easiest tall tree to access and is just 20 minutes outside of Port Renfrew on the Pacific Marine Road. Over 80 metres tall, it towers above the surrounding 2nd growth forest.  Somehow this 200+ year old tree managed to escape the European saw blade of the late 1800s.  And, even though it’s not protected in a provincial park, the unofficial respect and awe from all are evident.

Support, as we do, The Ancient Forest Alliance with their efforts for tall tree justice.

Song and Surf Music Festival

An annual event not to be missed.  Book early not to be disappointed.

Song & Surf is the jewel of Port Renfrew and a showcase of the Canadian West Coast. It embodies what we love: close friends, amazing Canadian musical talent, a backdrop of ocean and mountains, all enjoyed from a hot tub on the beach or cozied up by the fire (beer always in hand).

Small and intimate. Taking place in Port Renfrew, BC over the BC Family Day long weekend, it’s the perfect retreat to breathe in the fresh coast air and stare at the mountains. It’s about bonfires on the beach with your best and new friends. Please come and join!

#forests #hiking #sightseeing #trees

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