• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

Forest
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Lush old-growth rainforest. Giant Red Cedars and Douglas Fir trees with contorted burls"Canada's Gnarliest Tree".

To get to the Avatar Grove, drive to Port Renfrew along West Coast highway 14. Turn right onto Deering Rd and cross the long bridge over the San Juan River. Stay right at the next Y intersection, and then left at the T intersection. At the next Y keep left and cross a tall bridge over the crystal clear Gordon River . Stay right at next Y, and then cross a small bridge at Baird creek. Park on the right shoulder immediately after the bridge and look for the Avatar Grove trailhead signs.

When you step into this forest grove just a fifteen minute drive from Port Renfrew it feels like you are in another world. Massive trees are covered in moss, ferns crowd the ground, and little creeks meander through mossy rocks.

The grove is divided into upper and lower grove, separated by the Gordon River Main logging road. The lower grove slopes down from the road to the Gordon River. The upper grove extends uphill from the road. "Canada’s Gnarliest Tree", a huge Red Cedar with a massive burl 12 feet in diameter, is in the Upper Avatar Grove. The trail is still under construction in areas, a vital project by the Ancient Forest Alliance to protect tree roots and improve safety and access for visitors.

Look out for carvings of owls and faces peering down from various trees. We counted six, but there are likely more. This is not a long hike, but among the ancient massive firs and cedars, huge fallen nurse logs and lush undergrowth you will feel like lingering, and you will feel very small and so very recent.

The Costal Kitchen Cafe in Port Renfrew is a great place for lunch or drinks after the hike. If you are driving back to Victoria stop at Shirley Delicious in Shirley for the best cappuccinos and baked treats.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Rain coat
  • Warm clothes
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Water
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Becky Simrose

Seriously in love with the mountains and ocean... and travel. I live in Calgary, just a short drive from Banff and so spend a lot of time in the mountains. When I'm not working I'm often on Vancouver Island...my other home and my ocean fix!

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