Return to Rosewall Creek

I like the hike up Rosewall Creek—it’s fairly easy going and the walk doesn’t take much more than 45 minutes to get to the first view point of the main falls. At this time of year, the water levels are high and accessing good view points for photography is challenging.

Rosewall Creek
Rosewall Creek flows through lush west coast forest.

Today I had the creek to myself, not another person on the trail (unless they came and went while I was focused on a long exposure). I had unintentionally left my 6-stop B+W Neutral Density filter at home and so had to resort to the 10-stop ND filter which I had brought with me. On a grey, overcast day, the 10-stop was overkill and I was pushing exposures of between 3 to 4 minutes.

Waterfall Viewpoint
First viewpoint on the Rosewall Creek trail – the main falls are just around the corner.

The first view point is spectacular. A tall seasonal waterfall feeds into the creek just below the main falls. The larger waterfalls are little harder to see and a clean sightline is very challenging, especially at this time of year. I was able to work my way carefully along the edge of the main pool a little further up, but even so, the view was partially obscured. A higher vantage point gives a good overall view of the main waterfall, but trees make a good photograph impossible.

Rosewall Creek - Main Falls
The main falls on Rosewall Creek – had to work my way out on a very narrow set of rocks below a cliff beside the main pool.

This is usually the place where I turn around. The trail continues up and over, but it gets increasingly steep and challenging (especially if you’re uncomfortable with heights like I am). I decided to perservere and made my way to the base of the main falls.

Rosewall Creek Falls
Main falls at Rosewall Creek.

It’s hard to get an impression of the size of the main drop from the photograph above, and even harder to get a good vantage point. The main channel has an impressive flow of water right now but it is mostly hidden behind a large rock outcrop.

Downstream from the Main Falls
Large boulders fill the channel downstream from the main waterfall on Rosewall Creek.

Downstream, the views are better as the water of the creek rushes around large boulders before shooting to the left in front of the first view point.

Even in winter, Rosewall Creek Provincial Park is worth a look. The forest has a dark moody feel and the creek roars with the season. The trail is a little rough in places—early winter storms have brought down trees and high water flow has washed out the trail in places. Woody debris covers the trail in the low areas next to the water. If you’re prepared for the challenge, the falls are definitely a suitable reward for your effort!

6 comments

  1. Thanks Dave, Rosewall Creek Provincial Park is on my list. it has been for awhile.

  2. It’s a beautiful little hike Martin – some trees down on the trail but it looks like someone has removed the larger ones. The last bit to the bottom of the main cascade is definitely steep in places and it took me some time to find a trail/route that felt safe. Ran out of light so didn’t try to get to the top of the falls, but that might be interesting to check out as well.

  3. Hi Lucien – these are in colour, mainly greens and greys/blacks. The light was so muted that there wasn’t a lot of contrast. I could have lightened them up, but these better reflect the darkness and moodiness along the creek. They probably would look good in black and white as well. Rosewall Creek is on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, about 40 km south of Courtenay.

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