Bridge over the Franklin River is no more

One span of the Franklin River bridge has now completely collapsed, as you can see in the images.  The last remaining stringer is now in the river. Now the only way to cross the river between Stages 2 and 3 of the Alberni Inlet Trail is by wading at low flows.  Footing is not great because of slippery, algae-covered stones and cobbles – best to use hiking poles or equivalent! Alternative access to the north end of stage 3 can be obtained by turning off the Alberni-Bamfield road at the Hawthorn Main sign and following it past Hawthorn Lake and Lizard Pond (on your left). Stick to the most-traveled branch of the road and keep right at a crude sign pointing to ‘Jack’s’.  Park when you reach a yellow gate and walk downhill for about 10 minutes to the trail head. Hawthorne Main is suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles. Access to the south end of stage 3 is obtained by turning off the Alberni-Bamfield road at the Headquarters Bay Road sign and following it until it comes to an end where a branch road heads downhill to a residential resort area. This road is also suitable for two wheeled drive vehicles. Because the Alberni Inlet Trail (stages 1, 2 and 3) is at a low elevation and largely right along the coast, the trail is suitable for year-round use but it is best avoided for a while after periods of heavy rain because there are several creek crossings which can be difficult in high water.

April 17, 2019