Stage 6 - Port Alberni to Courtenay



Distance: 133 km
Riding Time: 2 hrs




Photo by Randy Hall

Overview
Stage 6 is a departure from the gravel on Stage 5 and brings you back onto well engineered pavement with beautiful views of Cameron Lake, a fun place for a pit-stop in Coombs, and then you jump onto the main highway (Hwy 19) with its peppy 120km/hr speed limit. 

Special Note
If your schedule allows, a side-trip to Tofino and Ucluelet is worth it.

Meetup Location
Grab coffee at the Steampunk Cafe before heading out.

Food and Coffee
You cannot go wrong by stopping in to the Coombs Old Country Market (aka Goats on the Roof) for lunch. It's also a fairly large grocery store with lots of unique food available, so stocking up on road snacks would also be in order.

Scenery3 / 5
All of the nice scenery comes early on in Stage 6 when yo upass through MacMillan Provincial Park with views of Cameron Lake and passing through Cathedral Grove. In the off-season, this road has some stunning views of snow capped mountains as well.

Traffic3 / 5
Lots of traffic will be found all over this stage, however it usually moves at a good pace and there's lots of opportunity to pass. It can get a little backed up in the summer near Cathedral Grove, so care should be taken when passing through.

Difficulty2 / 5
Coming out of Port Alberni, there can often be rain, so please take care as the roads can get slick.  

Road Conditions5 / 5
Well paved along Highway 4 and Highway 19.


 Points of Interest
1. Cathedral Grove
Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Provincial Park, is one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island. Here visitors can stroll through a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas-fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world – some more than 800 years old.
 
2. Little Qualicum Falls
Impressive waterfalls cascade down a rocky gorge in a beautiful forested setting bordered by steep mountain peaks at this park, one of the most beautiful parks on central Vancouver Island. The falls, lake swimming, shaded riverside trails and picnic facilities make Little Qualicum Falls a very popular family recreation destination. A number of walking trails are available in and around the park, offering picturesque views of the river and providing access to the upper and lower falls.

3. Goats on the Roof
The Old Country Market in Coombs is famous for international foods, imported gifts, in store baked goods, and ice cream. There's also a restaurant, a deli and fresh produce available. The roof of the building is covered in grass and many goats can be found eating lunch on the roof. A lot of other interesting shops are near by as well.