MacMillan Park Entrance

MacMillan Provincial Park – A Temperate Rainforest

Standing in front of ancient Douglas Fir

Vancouver Island, Canada, is home to some of North America’s last remaining temperate rainforests. MacMillan Provincial Park is one of them. The nondescript name obscures the park’s beauty and uniqueness. MacMillan was a logging industrialist who owned the tract of land then known as Cathedral Grove. While most of the area was logged, MacMillan ultimately relented and donated this area to the public, saving its ancient trees.

Visiting these majestic trees, some of which are more than 800 years old, is completely free – if you can find parking. Parking is limited to a small area along Route 4 which gets very busy and fills up quickly. We almost dared to park past the no parking sign like some other daredevils, but fortunately a spot opened up. After encountering a wasp’s nest in one of the two public restrooms, we were ready to explore the trails. There are only two and both are quite short. The northern trail touches on the shore of Cameron Lake and adjacent wetlands. The southern one is more woody and features bigger trees that are great for photo ops. At the end of the trail, a fallen tree allows you to cross Cameron River, but it is much more slippery that it looks. I found out the hard way. There is nowhere to go once you cross the river.

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