Top 5 Nanaimo, B.C., dog friendly hikes and off leash areas
Being a dog-lover is pretty much a perquisite to be a member of our family. All three of my daughters have dogs, and two of them actually have two. As such, I have become increasingly aware of how difficult it is to find places we can go walking with our pups off-leash. As a local to the area, I thought I’d write a little post about the top 5 dog friendly hikes and off leash areas around Nanaimo, B.C., with our favourite places and trails, so our visitors can make some plans for their pooches. Please note, these are just areas that we like to visit; always be sure to obey all posted signs (private property, no trespassing, keep on trail, etc.) and of course pick up after your pets.
1. Cable Bay Trail, Cedar, B.C. is very dog friendly and you can have free run of the trail and beach area.
This trail boasts stunning ocean views as well as an easy walking trail that is wide enough for several people to walk side-by-side on. There are often lots of other dogs here, so it is a great place for doggy play dates. The way down to the ocean is a bit steep in some sections, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear (sandals don’t count, trust me). If you are feeling ambitious, continue past the bridge at the bottom of the trail to walk the additional trail to Dodd’s Narrows. This is one of the reasons the Cable Bay Trail makes it to the top of our list, as our pups like to sit and rest while watching boats, whales, seals, and sometimes dolphins pass through the rushing current of the narrows.
2. Enos Lake, Nanoose, B.C. fantastic trails for your dog!
Tucked quietly away in Nanoose Bay, Enos Lake is a great trail to go walking with a group of dogs. There are a multitude of different trails to take and many of them meet up with the lakeshore. If your dog loves to swim, or you need somewhere to hangout with your pup on a warm summer day, be sure to check this area out.
3. Benson Creek Falls Regional Park, Nanaimo, B.C. awesome to explore the falls with your dog off leash!
This beautiful hike leads to Ammonite Falls, a popular hiking destination in Nanaimo. In the summer, the waterfall slows to almost a trickle and we like to take our dogs into the creek bed to splash around in the water while we look for fossils. In the rainy months, the hike down to the falls can be pretty slippery so we avoid bringing our dogs in case they have a hard time on the steep parts. There are many trails in this area though, so don’t be scared to explore the other trails if it is muddy out.
4. Holland Creek Trail, Ladysmith, B.C. a series of off leash dog friendly trails close to Nanaimo excellent for hiking!
This beautifully treed hike has many trails and connecting hiking areas, but only portions of this network are designated off-leash areas. This hike is a great way to exercise your dog(s) before a night on the town; all the ups and downs make for one tired pup! Please see our ‘Holland Creek Trail’ blog post for more trail details about Crystal Falls and the Heart Lake Loop.
5. Colliery Dams Park, Nanaimo, B.C. has sections for off leash areas for you and other dog friendly owners!
Colliery Dams is a beautiful network of trails year round, but be aware that they are only off-leash in sections. The upper dam trail is where we go with our pups, as they are free to run around and play with other dogs here. To access this part of the trail network, use the upper lake parking lot off of Nanaimo Lakes Road. There are poop bags and garbage cans right by the parking lot, which is always great!
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