Ammonite Falls Trail is a 4.8-kilometre moderately trafficked out and back trail near Nanaimo in British Columbia, Canada. It features a beautiful forest of massive fir trees and a stunning waterfall. Most of the trail is easy to follow and has minimal elevation change. The final section of the trail leading to the waterfall is steep and can be difficult for some people, although there are ropes to help.
Ammonite Falls Hike
Hike Key Facts
- Distance: 4.8 km out-and-back
- Estimated Time: 1.5-2 hours
- Elevation Gain: 201 m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Dog Friendly: Yes
- Location: Benson Creek Falls Regional Park
- Best Time to Visit: Spring and Winter
- Parking: Ammonite Falls Parking Lot
Ammonite Falls Trail
From the trailhead, we walked down a well-maintained logging road amongst tall firs. After about 650 meters, we came to a large Y junction. The trail on the left went up the hill.
We stayed on the trail to the right. Very soon, we came across a sign marked for Ammonite Falls. Subsequently, the trail was easy to follow with the directions on the posts. There were also some orange flags in the trees throughout the hike.
We hiked the trail at the beginning of February, which is a rainy season on Vancouver Island. There was only a bit of mud throughout most of the trail, but the last section was exceedingly muddy. We do recommend wearing proper footwear during a wet season.
The Ammonite Falls hike is very popular with the locals; we saw many people and families walking on the trail.
My sister and mum, who both live in Europe, called us during this time. They accompanied us through a video conversation as we were walking between the trees. We had fun speaking together. There was an excellent internet connection, by the way.
Strolling through the forest felt pleasant and relaxing. During many of our trips, we hike up steep mountains. This was a nice change of pace. Ammonite Falls trail is an excellent place to go on the weekend if you have kids. Or if you feel like walking through a pretty forest with friends or by yourself.
As we got closer to the falls, we could hear the roaring sound in a near distance. We began to descend more downhill. When we reached the end of the trail, there was a final, steep descent towards the falls. Few ropes were attached to some tree’s roots and can help to get down to the waterfall base and then to go back up.
The ropes do come in really handy if you plan to visit in spring or winter as the trail can get very muddy and slippery. The slope was very muddy during our visit, and our shoes and hands got a bit dirty.
Some people decided not to go down the slope. If you are unsure if you can make it down the ropes to the bottom, then do not. But if you can, it is worth it! The Regional District of Nanaimo does have plans in the future to install stairs, giving everyone the chance to see the beautiful view of the Ammonite falls.
There is something magical about waterfalls. From hearing roaring water from a distance to up close, each waterfall is wonderfully unique. They intrigue us, inspire us, and are one of nature’s greatest beauties. Living on Vancouver Island has allowed us to check out countless waterfalls.
Ammonite Falls is one of three significant waterfalls in Benson Creek, in Mount Benson’s northwestern foothills. The falls cascade off a rock-studded sheet with oceanic Ammonite fossils, thus the name Ammonite Falls. The view of the waterfall from the bottom is spectacular.
Meaning of Waterfalls
We love visiting waterfalls because of their positive energy. No matter how small it is, a waterfall always amazes its viewers, being a splendid natural phenomenon and an enjoyable sight to everyone’s eyes.
Waterfalls symbolize the process of letting go, cleansing, and the continuous flow of energy and life. For me, waterfalls also represent happiness, vigour, clarity and newness.
Waterfalls could be huge, breathtaking, dangerous, magnificent and most definitely impressive. They could be small and dreamy, as well. Each one has its own beauty and charm.
Planning Your Hike
If you are thinking about hiking to Ammonite Falls, you may want to plan your timing. In the summer, the falls may be little more than a trickle. Winter and early spring on the west coast is typically the best time for viewing waterfalls.
All that rain makes for spectacular cascades. However, during these times, the trail tends to be muddiest, so be prepared for that as well.
Tips for Photographing Waterfalls
To get the smooth, silky photos of waterfalls that look so good, you will need a tripod. Set the timer delay to 2 seconds. Alternatively, you can use a remote release. We also use an ND filter if we shoot waterfalls during the daytime. Use a slow shutter speed, around 2 seconds or slower, and you will get the smooth flowing water look.
It is a good idea to bring a few lens cloths so you can dry your lens in between shots. Everything gets wet photographing waterfalls, especially your camera.
A change of clothes back at the car is great for waterfall trips. Standing or sitting at the base of a waterfall is a very wet place to be. Even better, bring a good waterproof jacket if you do not want to get soaked in the first place.
Watch your footing. The area around the waterfall gets very muddy and slippery. We wore waterproof shoes, and our feet stayed nice and dry. They got a bit muddy, but that is to be expected during this time of the year.
Driving to the Ammonite Falls trailhead takes around 20 minutes from downtown Nanaimo. Follow the Jingle Pot Road for several kilometres. Then turn left onto Kilpatric Road and then a quick right onto Jameson Road.
At the end of the Jameson Road is an old logging road with a yellow gate roughly 30 meters down. This is the trailhead. Do not park on the forest service road, or you may get towed. We found a gravel parking lot around 150 meters down Creekside Place. This is the parking for the Ammonite Falls Trail.
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