[Sat June 1st!] Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association (VISTA) Celebrates International Trails Day in Port Alberni – Join us!

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Trail runners may sign up for one of two FREE trail runs in the mountains near Port Alberni to celebrate International Trails Day on Saturday, June 1st.  Both runs start and finish at the junction of Anderson Rd. and Ship Creek Road.

Both courses are on the Alberni Inlet Trail. They start with a 200m climb to a spectacular lookout, which offers views over the Alberni Canal and across to the snow-capped peaks of Strathcona Park, then descend along a forest trail to the inlet.

From the inlet, the long course then turns south for a gorgeous out-and-back run along the canal along undulating single-track approximately to Lone Tree, then returns via a 300 m ascent over Copper Mountain. Total distance is approximately 13-14 km, most of it along well marked but very technical running trails, with a few short sections of gravel logging road, for a total elevation gain of about 600-700 m.

From the inlet, the short course turns north along scenic single-track, passing through lush rainforest and alongside two lovely waterfalls. About two thirds of this course is on well marked forest trail, with the remainder on gravel logging roads. Total distance is about 6-7 km, for a total elevation gain of about 300 m.

Each course will have a ‘run leader’ who knows the route. We recommend the long course for experienced trail runners who have no difficulty running on challenging terrain for 2.0 to 2.5 hours. The short course is suitable for novice trail runners who have no difficulty running (or mixed running/hiking) for 1.0 to 1.5 hours. Complimentary refreshments will be provided by the Prairie Inn Harriers running club of Victoria at the finish line.

Directions: From the Visitors Information Centre, take Highway 4A, following the signs to Bamfield. Drive 3.8 km. to the traffic light on 10th Avenue. Turn left on Argyle, then 0.3 km. ahead turn right on Anderson for a further 2.2 km. to where it meets Ship Creek Road. The parking lot for the trailhead is directly opposite the junction.

Sign up: you may sign up in advance by emailing vancouverislandtrails@gmail.com – please include your name and contact information. All runners must sign a waiver of liability. If you sign up in advance, we will email the waiver to you and ask you to sign it and bring it with you to the trailhead.  Alternatively, you may sign up on the day of the run, but please allow sufficient time for that.

Time: Please arrive at the trailhead by 9:30 a.m.  A hiking option is available – for more information please watch this website.  All events will begin at 10:15 a.m.  

Gear: Runners must be self-sufficient. You may need: sunscreen, water, bug spray, a change of clothing at the finish, and gels or other snacks to consume during the run. Runners on the long course should be conservative and not expect to arrive back at the parking lot before 1:00 p.m.

Additional descriptions and a Map of the Alberni Inlet Trail – Stage 1: Port Alberni to China Creek  may be found in the brochure published by the ACRD athttp://www.acrd.bc.ca/cms/wpattachments/wpID206atID984.pdf