Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove is without question one of the most famous places on Vancouver Island. It is remnant of the ancient Douglas fir ecosystems that were once widespread across Vancouver Island, BC. The trees in Cathedral Grove are the survivors of a forest fire that ravaged the area approximately 350 years ago and the extensive logging on Vancouver Island that began when Europeans who colonized the island in 1849.

Cathedral Grove Vancouver Island BC

Cathedral Grove is located in MacMillan Provincial Park, which was donated the 136 hectare of land to the people of British Columbia for their perpetual enjoyment. The biggest trees in the Grove are a remarkable 800 years old and measure 75 m (250 ft) in height and 9 m (29 ft) in circumference. One of the things that makes Cathedral Grove so popular with locals and tourists alike, is that is unquestionably one of the most easily accessed stands of old growth forest, within the Coastal Western Hemlock Biogeoclimatic Zone, remaining and Vancouver Island. 

Needless to say, MacMillarn Provincial Park is a protected site. Woodpeckers, owls, insects, reptiles, amphibians, deer, elk, black bear and cougar all call the old growth forest of Vancouver Island their home. The Cameron River, which runs through the grove, is home to rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout.

There is a small parking lot along the highway, and a short network of trails on either side. You will find the largest Douglas Firs tress on the south side of the highway. On the north side, you will find stands of ancient Western Red Cedar overlooking the scenic Cameron Lake. When you are on your way into the Valley of Trails, Cathedral Grove is simply a must see.

20 minutes round trip (0.8 km)
Vehicle Access: 
Elevation Gain: 
23 m
Trailhead Coordinates: 
49°17'.473, -124°39.782
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.