New Trail!! There’s a new trail in the Walbran! It’s challenging, rugged, but well worth the effort with incredible payoffs throughout the hike.
Since Teal Jones, the logging company with harvesting rights in the Walbran, announced its proposed cut blocks, the Friends of Carmanah Walbran have wanted a witness trail through all the cut blocks behind the Castle Giant. Witness trails helps create access, letting people experience these forests before they are cut.
A few years ago, the Wilderness Committee made it into cut block 4424 (the aptly named black diamond grove), but no one had extensively explored the three other cut blocks above the Castle Giant. The grove had many giant trees and let a lot of us of wonder if the other cut blocks were just as equally stocked.
Excitement reached a fever pitch during the summer of 2018 when Torrance Coste and Alex Smith, on a bushwacking mission around the ‘unexplored’ cut blocks, stumbled up a grove of some of the biggest and most magnificent trees ever seen in the valley. During the following winter and spring, we explored this area and cut a loop trail through all the cut blocks (4410, 4411, 4412), culminating at the “Crown Jewel” of old growth groves. From the grove at the top of the loop, an additional trail was cut up the steep hillside to a clifftop summit with views that extend down the valley to the bridge and beyond to the pacific. A truly spectacular sight.
From the Castle Giant Tree, walk past the tree, and follow a rough trail along the edge of the gully. After approximately 20m, you’ll see a sign for the witness loop and lookout trails. The trail is marked with white placards so not to be mistaken for logging flagger. Follow either the right or left fork of the the loop trail up the hill. Once at the “Crown Jewel” grove, follow another rough trail behind the tree with a viewing bench up the hill.
* This trail is a rough witness trail. Be prepared for a steep trail that can be difficult to follow.
* This is a VERY challenging hike! Be prepared and give yourself a minimum of 3-4 hours for the round trip.
* USE EXTREME CAUTION TO THE VIEWING ROCK!!!!!!!! It is a very steep dropoff with no protection! Tread very carefully. NOT RECOMMENDED IN THE RAIN!!!!!!!
Check out the Trails Page for a topographic map of the trail.