If you’re looking for an easy forest walk with a beautiful waterfall as the main destination, Stocking Creek Park is an excellent choice. The park is located in the Cowichan Valley Regional District in the small community of Saltair, between Ladysmith and Chemainus on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Accessing Stocking Creek Waterfall
There are a couple of different access points which are close to the waterfall. Be careful because Google maps/Siri can be misleading and directed me to the North Watts Road parking area. While this location accesses the Cowichan Valley Trail, it also adds extra distance to your walk. I followed my intuition and continued to the Thicke Road access point. This parking area is much closer to the waterfall and provides a peaceful, creekside walk to get you to your destination. Note that this road is not well signed and easy to miss.
From the Thicke Road parking lot, you have the option of following the wide, flat, graded gravel Kon Trail. The Kon Trail travels up through the main part of Stocking Creek Park and connects with the Finch Place parking area. However, a better option is to take the Huckleberry Trail that follows Stocking Creek to the waterfall. There are several trails that connect the Kon Trail to the Huckleberry Trail.
The Huckleberry Trail
The Huckleberry Trail follows the left side of the stream (walking downstream). Note that the access to the right side of the creek (as indicated on All Trails) is now fenced and signed. The path is narrow and muddy and has exposed roots in places. However, it is much more interesting.
Alongside the trail you will find typical forest plants like sword fern, lady fern, salmonberry, western red cedar, and of course, huckleberry. Another interesting plant that is common at the beginning of the trail is false bugbane. Stocking Creek Park is an excellent place to see this plant.
As the creek makes its way toward the main Stocking Creek falls, it drops over several small selves of rock. Access to the creek is easy from the Huckleberry Trail and it is possible to find some good locations for photography. Because the trail is short, carrying a tripod is not difficult. It can also be walked in a sport sandal which enables water access without worrying about wet shoes.
Stocking Creek Falls
The main destination on this short 2.5 km long loop trail is Stocking Creek waterfall. A long set of stairs descends to a platform with excellent views of the waterfall. In order to encourage ecosystem restoration, fencing prevents access to the creek directly below the falls. It is possible to approach the falls by following the creek upstream from an access point further along. However, the platform provides a good view of the waterfall and the creek.
There is a shallow hollow behind the waterfall. However, I noted a pair of American dippers nesting on the far side of the waterfall. Make sure to approach with caution and awareness if you decide to have a closer look at the base of the falls. You can return to the parking area by retracing your steps or completing the loop by following the Kon Trail back.
As a short easy walk to a beautiful little waterfall, Stocking Creek is hard to beat. Make sure to stop in and check it out!
Access to the Thicke Road parking area is via Chemainus Road. The road is easy to miss because it isn’t signed. From Ladysmith, look for the Canco as a sign that you’re getting close to Thicke Road. From Chemainus, watch for Saltair Road and Saltair Books. There is a small parking area and outhouse at the trailhead.