Discovering the Comox Valley: Top 10 Activities
Discovering the Comox Valley
The Comox Valley is in the centre region of Vancouver Island, consisting of the communities of Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland. With the island's best ski hill, Mt. Washington, just kilometres from the city centres, Comox Lake as the perfect summer hangout, and endless biking & hiking trails, you're likely to find yourself occupied indefinitely. Here's a list of the top 10 activities you need to do when visiting.
1. Gladstone Brewery
Sharing the premises with the incredible Pizzeria Guerrilla, Gladstone Brewery offers indoor and outdoor seating, which you can make use of at any season, because of the blankets and outdoor heaters provided for those who choose to sit outside. Grab a glass of Black Braggot, order a delicious flatbread pizza, and get cozy at Courtenay's best fine dining hole in the wall! Other honourable mentions include the porter, the IPA, and the dangerously delicious sour ale that will sometimes go on rotation at the taps.
2. Mount Washington Alpine Resort
In the summer and in the winter, Mount Washington Alpine Resort is Vancouver Island's best outdoor adventure site, perfect for skiiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and in the summer months, hikers! With an endless number of cozy cabins available for rent, Alpine Lodge and Raven Lodge serving as the home bases for the alpine and nordic trails respectively, and known as "Canada's deepest pile of snow," Mt. Washington will have you occupied for days. If you're here in the summer, enjoy a peaceful break from the hordes of people you'd find in the winter, and venture on the endless hiking trails found on the resort premises. Bonus: Mt. Washington is 25 kilometres from the Comox Valley!
3. Town of Cumberland
Once known as a shady coal mining town, Cumberland has transformed into a bustling, charming community filled with cute storefronts, delicious restaurants, and colourful heritage houses. In the summer, the town is filled with brightly coloured flowered baskets at each street corner, and busy with people visiting the nearby lake, hiking trails, and mountain biking hot spots. The Waverley serves as the town pub, and the Riding Fool Hostel is a popular spot for young and old looking for a cheap, nice spot to stay. Make sure to check out the town's museum & archives, for thrilling tales on the town's industrial history, and a stop at the village bakery for their famous donuts is worth getting up at the crack of dawn before they predictably sell out!
4. Mount Albert Edward
As the 6th highest peak on Vancouver Island, and mere kilometres away from the Comox Valley, Mount Albert Edward is one of the best overnight hikes to do in the area. People typically take 2 or 3 days to complete this hike, by hiking out to Circlet Lake campsite on first day, taking the peak on the second, and returning later that day or the following day. You'll run into two glaciers on your way up, and the vistas that this incredible hike provides will have you stopping at every turn. Try for the warm months of August and September to do this, as the altitude at Circlet Lake means it will be cold all year long, and weather can be unreliable for much of the year.
5. Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park
A beautiful green space in the heart of Comox, Filberg Lodge and Park is run and tended to by volunteers, and open all year long. Sometimes, tours of the inside are offered, and in the summertime, the Filberg Festival brings in a crowd, as the town of Comox celebrates the region's art and culture. The Summer Kitchen is also open during this time, offering tea, beer, wine, lunch, and dessert. Even if you're just wandering around the premises, the Filberg property has acres of freshly cut green grass perfect for tossing a frisbee, napping, or picnicking, as well as an incredible view of the mountains that surround the Comox Valley.
6. Cumberland Brewing Company
With an outdoor beer garden open all year long, Cumberland Brewing Company is another necessary stop for the micro-brewery crowd looking to try some of the island's finest. Menu items include pizzas and paninis. A popular spot for locals and visitors alike, this spot will almost always be crowded, with an authentic, small-town vibe accompanied with great beers. As you walk down Cumberland's main street, you can't miss the iconic Cumberland Brewery mural painted on the old industrial building, beckoning you to come in and have a taste.
7. Comox Lake
In the winter, Comox Lake is a great spot to take in a view and to hike one of the many trails that belong to the 24 hectare park. In the summer, though, Comox Lake is the ultimate hot-spot for swimming, kayaking, tanning, and any other water-related activity you might be interested in. You will likely find yourself spending the whole day here - grabbing poutines from the food truck, taking a hike, playing beach volleyball on the sand - and even the night, if you think to book a campsite on the lakefront.
8. Comox Valley Marina
Situated in the town of Comox, the marina is a great spot to sit back with your coffee and admire the incredible mountain views from "sea to sky." With a long, wooden boardwalk, and beautiful boats lined up to see and admire, the Comox Valley Marina is a great spot to unwind after a day of outdoor activities, or shopping in nearby Courtenay.
9. Town of Courtenay
As the largest community in the Comox Valley, Courtenay has a great selection of restaurants, shops, and historical & cultural sights for visitors and locals alike. Wander down Courtenay's main street for endless home decor and clothing shops, and stop to admire the great murals that have proliferated in the downtown core in recent years. When you get to the turquoise bridge, follow the paths that take you along the water, for a peaceful walk not far from town.
10. Biking Trails
Last, but certainly not least, are the hundreds of biking trails that litter the Comox Valley. Considered as one of the best mountain biking areas on Vancouver Island, the Comox Valley draws in thousands of mountain bikers per year, ready to explore the endless forested trails that wind up around the mountains and hills surrounding the valley. All three towns have a number of equipment rental places and stores, so make sure to do your research before heading out for your great adventure!