Somass Estuary

The trail to the Somasss Estuary begins on the bank of the Somass River. It by-passes privately owned poplar lands until it reaches a gate which marks the boundary of the conservation property owned by Ducks Unlimited. At this point, the trail turns inland, following an old berm with views across the fields and a large tidal marsh. It ends at the water pipeline which runs from Sproat Lake to the Catalyst Papermill on the opposite side of the river.

The Somass Estuary is a nature reserve; please do everything in your power to avoid undue disturbance of birds including keepings dogs under control. Bird watching is best in the winter when the estuary serves as a major wintering area for ducks, and in the spring when many neotropical migrants pass through.

Interestingly, parts of the Ducks Unlimited lands are still used to raise hay. This continues a farming tradition on this Vancouver Island estuary which dates back to 1850 when Charles Taylor established the first farm in the Alberni Valley.

2 hours round trip (3.8 km)
Vehicle Access: 
Elevation Gain: 
Trailhead Coordinates: 
N 49°15'48.6896" W -124°50'27.8097"
GPS File: 
GPS Map: 


UPDATE - The BC Wildfire Service has declared a ban on all Category 2 fires.  This means anything larger than a campfire (0.5 meters wide and 0.5 meters high) is presently prohibited. The forest is extra dry this spring so please be very careful!

IMPORTANT – Any of the various trails described on this website might be accessed through, or pass over, privately owned land. It is solely your responsibility as a hiker to ensure that you have the appropriate permission from the landowner before travelling on any privately owned land. When travelling on privately owned land, please be respectful and responsible, to help ensure the landowners future cooperation with hikers.  

When travelling on privately owned forestry roads, make sure to stay aware and follow all posted signs. Do not enter any areas that are marked closed for active logging, and never approach any logging equipment. Island Timberlands kindly provides information on access restrictions and other important info on their BLOG.

Whenever you venture into the wilderness it is important that you make someone aware of your travel plans, in the event that an emergency situation occurs. Always make sure that you bring with you appropriate survival equipment when venturing into the wilderness for even the shortest hikes. Be mindful of the difficulty of individual trails, and do not attempt hikes that are beyond your physically abilities or training. The volunteers, and owners, of the Valley of Trails website provide information about trails and outdoor activities in the Alberni Valley, but in no way assume responsibility or liability whatsoever in regards to your safety when venturing into the wilderness. It is your responsibility to stay safe in the Valley of Trails.