Park Guide: Cable Bay Trail & Joan Point Park

Five reasons I love Cable Bay & Joan Point Park:

  1. Dogs. It’s an off leash dog trail and dogs are the happiest when they’re free to walk on a trail with their humans.
  2. It’s one of those special double-whammy forest AND ocean experiences.
  3. You can easily spend a few hours meandering.
  4. There little treasures to find along the way.
  5. The water rushing through Dodd Narrows
photo cred:

Cable Bay has been one of my favourite trails for many years. Back when my dog was around, I took her here often. One of my favourite memories was her running and leaping into the water. Or running ahead to hide behind a large tree and jump out to surprise her dog friends. She was a character! Every dog I’ve encountered here is equally smitten with its freedom to run and play.You get to the Cable Bay Trail along Holden Corso Road (it turns into Barnes Road) and turn left onto Nicola Road. There’s a large gravel parking lot and the trail head is easy to spot. From the parking lot to the ocean, the Cable Bay trail is about two kilometres long. It’s mostly down hill. You don’t notice the hill too much at first but when you come back up, that’s when you’ll really notice it!  You’ll cross two logging/construction roads, but keep to the main path as it’s the more interesting walk. Just on from one of the crossing, you’ll see a fork in the path – take either one, they come back together.

Over the past few years the feel of the Cable Bay trail has evolved. Years ago, I used to see people out in search of geocahes that were here.  They were always heads down and very intent on following the clues.  And though I’m sure geocaches are still around, today there are also more obvious characters and treasures to search for in this particular place. Tiny dinosaurs, wooden owls, and painted rocks are carefully placed along the trail.  It makes for a fun time trying to spot these hidden treasures before your walking buddies do!

You can also find many hidden treasures in the Whimsical Forest in Qualicum.  Read that post here – Park Guide: Arbutus Trails and the Whimsical Forest

There’s a bridge to cross at the bottom of the hill and you’ll be right at the ocean. There’s no real easy trail to get down to the water and the rocks do get pretty slippery when they’re wet so certainly take care if you venture to the water’s edge. You’ll be able to see the Harmac mill and maybe a ferry en route to Tsawwassen or Gabriola Island. When the tide is out this is a great beach for tidal pools exploration or a picnic.

From this vantage post, Gabriola will be closer than ever!  Read more about our adventures on Gabriola here – The Other Islands – Gabriola

Walking along the large rocks is where the meandering happens. Time stops here. Be prepared to be awhile – there’s a lot to explore!

The trail continues along the ocean to Joan Point Park. If you brought a stroller or like a smooth wide trail you might want to head back – the trail gets narrower and rootier from here! This trail follows the ocean and takes you right to the side of Dodd Narrows.

You’ll know Dodd Narrows when you hear it. The water rushes though the narrows between Vancouver and Mudge Islands. You can get pretty close to the water here so be careful. When the tide is high the water is even more exciting.  You’ll often see standing rapids, sea lions and seals playing the current, and boat passing through.  This place is my jam!  I fall in love with the ocean everytime I find myself on its shores 😍

There’s usually something interesting to see around the Narrows and there’s a lighthouse tucked in the trail. Spend some time here; this is the crux of the parks! Once you’ve seen this feel free to head back feeling fulfilled that you can check this park off your list (though I’m sure you’ll want to come back over and over like I have!)

When you are ready to head back, you have a few options. Normally, I head back the same way I came as I enjoy walking along the ocean, but Alina recently showed me a loop. To loop around, keep walking along the path near the narrows and you’ll go up a bit of a hill. You’ll walk along a natural set of stairs too. When you get to the “road”, turn LEFT.  You’ll mostly be walking along this old construction road, so this loop isn’t quite as stimulating as the forest trail. This loop trail will meet up with the original Cable Bay trail just before The Hill back up to the parking lot.

Hopefully a few hours go by and you leave the park feeling refreshed.

Cable Bay is surrounded by lots of other parks and places to stop.  You can easily turn your walk at the park into a day trip around Cedar!  You can check out Hemer Provincial Park while you are in the area; I frequent this park often and, while it’s not near the ocean, it has a great trail system!

When you are done exploring, be sure to visit the local businesses or pubs in the Cedar area.  We visited a few on our Food Adventure and the Crow & Gate is one of our top ten favourites pubs!

We hope you visit this park. Tell us what you enjoyed about it. Tag us on Facebook or Instagram and show us your adventures. We love to see people Get Out & Play!

To check out more of our Van Isle adventures, click here

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