Stage 2 Alberni Inlet Trail (9.8km)

Mature forest and huge bedrock walls/rock-cuts line this hike along the old CNPR grade.

Footpath only, not suitable for all hikers hiker

The Trail

Stage 2 of the Alberni Inlet Trail is a backcountry trail. It starts with a nice and easy grassy walk down to the Underwood Cove.  After Underwood Cove the trail eventually hits a “T” intersection; go right to Underwood Point or left through a cut block for about 0.5 km. Then the trail continues on the right with a single track leading down to a small creek and old bridge with the date 1913. The trail starts following the old CNPR grade with walls on either side (blasted by men and women during the building of the railroad which was never completed). Just after the end of the Grade you’ll come across Nina’s Beach and Katimavik Creek Bridge.  Cross the bridge and after about 200m the trail goes back on the CNPR Grade with views of the Inlet on your right and big rock walls on your left. There is some falling rock from these walls , so caution is advised. A big rock fall came down in January 2017. Other than a few scrambles over rock fall, the trail has good footing. At around 5.5km the trail wraps around a steep knoll and has some chains for hand lines.  After the chained section,  the trail goes up through the forest to a logging road. Take a right hand turn on to the road and follow it to the Parking lot and the end of Stage 2- start of Stage 3.


Katimavik Bridge.


Drainage works from early 1900’s helps the fresh water make it’s way to the sea.


Typical trail conditions on Stage 2.

Stage 2 of the Inlet Trail has quite a few water crossings with 4 bridges and a couple of small creeks that are not bridged.  There are also some small waterfalls coming down the cliffs.

The Inlet Trail System is extremely well built and marked with evacuation points and gps coordinates on the maps. Stage 2 is mostly flat with rocks and roots and some creek crossings, bedrock outcrop scrambles and one steep chained section wrapping around a knoll. All connecting roads are private and subject to closures.

The closest place to re-supply is in Port Alberni at the north end of Inlet Trail Stage 1. Stage 2 of the Inlet Trail has lots of good natural water sources (even so, you are advised to boil, treat or filter it before consumption). China Creek Campground also has clean water stations. This campground has a restaurant coming in the summer of 2017 and also offers pay showers for hikers. The trail down to the China Creek Campground is just behind the small building 100m in the trees behind the main trail sign in the parking lot. The campground is a long way down and back, up the same trail.

No Fires and Leave No Trace Policy applies to the entire area. Much of this trail is on Private land where no camping is allowed.  Camping spots include:

(1)  China Creek Campground (49º09’12” N 124º47’42” W)

(2)  134 Mile Creek which is marked with a wooden sign along the trail; it is the next main creek after Katimavik Creek travelling north to south (see #8 on the ACRD brochure pdf file noted below in the Web Links section)

Stage 2 of the inlet trail offers quite a few spots for lunch, including:

1) Underwood Cove  2) A picnic table along the trail at 2 km 3) Underwood Point 4) the Old 1913 Bridge and

5) Nina’s Beach ( swimming here too).


Floral sunshine on trail!

Driving Directions to Trail Head

As you come down the long hill and enter Port Alberni, turn left onto Redford St. (signs to Bamfield).  Turn left at 10th Ave N and then left onto Dunbar St. which angles up to become Anderson Ave. At the end of Anderson, turn left onto Franklin River Road and at the end of the blacktop bear to the right where it becomes a gravel logging road (watch for large commercial vehicles and logging trucks). Follow the signs for Bamfield. Bear right at the sign for China Creek Campground and you will see the parking lot at the next left.  Continue on this road all the way down to get to the campground on Alberni Inlet.


There is a free gravel parking lot that can hold about 30 cars. Trailers can turn around if it’s not too busy. There is also some parking available at the China Creek Campground.


Parking area for Stage 2.

49º08’59” N  124º47’08” W  

Endpoint of the Trail

49º06’03” N  124º48’28” W

To get to the end of stage 2, continue along the main logging road past the China Creek turn-off  for 5.1 km and turn right onto Bell’s Rd. (follow the Inlet Trail signs).  Parking is 3 km down the road on your right .  Bell’s Road is an active commercial road and is very tight in the canyon section; drive with caution and give commercial vehicles the right of way.

Other trail options in this area 

Port Alberni Inlet Trail Stages 1&3

Runners Trail

Log Train Trail

Other Web Links for info on the area


As Recorded by Andrew Porter and Chris Zygarlicki with additions by Judy Carlson on camping spots

May 2017