Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles
I tried and failed to do the Wesley Ridge circuit:
- close to tourist hotspot Cathedral Grove
- trailheads on highway 4 between Parksville and Port Alberni
- about 10km with 750m elevation gain/loss
- about 6-8 hrs from one end to the other
- additional hour or two walking abandoned rail tracks back to start
- not maintained. Hundreds of fallen trees.
- buggy but few mosquitoes
- route finding necessary
I started at the end closest to Parksville assuming it would be less busy than the Cathedral Grove trailhead.
I made a video of the BikePacking trip. Cycling to and from my parent’s place in Parksville qualifies this as a #MicroAdventure.
Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.
I hid and locked my bike close to the trailhead. Transferred what I needed to my hiking pack — and headed up the railway tracks.
I missed the turn-off up mountain. It’s not obvious. On my return I flagged the start to make it more conspicuous.
The strenuous 2km climb up to the telecommunications tower is called Wesley Tower Trail.
Many continue on to the first lake vista. It took me about 2 hours to get here. There are two benches, one named Forever Tuesday after the Tuesday Walkers Club in nearby Port Alberni.
Most turn back at this point. There’s no one path across the ridge from here.
I gave it a good try. You follow different (competing) sets of orange tape flags. Some lead to dead ends.
A bigger problem was scrambling hundreds of fallen trees. Not bringing long pants, I got quite scratched up. It was bushwhacking.
Another problem is water. I saw no flowing water — only remnant snow melt tarns.
With daylight failing, I finally decided to find myself a great tent site.
It doesn’t get much better than this. I had to HIDE in the tent at dusk, however, pestered by small non-biting flies.
From here I could see steam rising from Port Alberni.
Here’s where I stopped.
Next morning, nearly out of water, I decided to hustle back the way I’d come. I’ll try the Ridge from the other end on some future trip.
related – Lonny Barr – Wesley Ridge Trail