If you are looking for an easy 7 km walk through lush forests beside a beautiful stream then you really should check out the Big Qualicum trail. The Big Qualicum river flows from Horne Lake into the ocean a bit north of Qualicum. Over the years the fisheries have done a lot of work to maintain a salmon hatchery.
You get to the start of the hike by taking the Horne Lake turnoff, but head east, as shown below:
The hike starts at the hatchery and follows the river upstream. From the parking lot follow the road past the hatchery building and cross the bridge. Keep to the left and follow the road upstream for a couple of hundred meters, passing under the railway bridge. Just after that you will come upon a steel walking bridge. You want to take that, crossing back to the south side of the river.
The trail follows the river, threading through an advanced second growth forest with some hints of the original old growth harvest.
The trail climbs up some stairs onto a bench for a hundred meters, before dropping back down to the river.
When you get back down to the river you will quickly come upon a walk log crossing the river.
Ignore the walk log, keeping to the left and continue upstream on the south side of the river. The trail follows the river, under the Island Highway.
Along the way you will see a series of rock "dams" built by the fisheries to create spawning pools for the salmon.
The forest is quite lush with some excellent bear habitat. Black bears are common, expecially in the fall when the salmon are spawning, you you should keep a watch for them.
The most exciting element of this hike is crossing a narrow walk log, but it is a piece of cake. There is a rope to hold onto as you cross.
The trail continues on upstream
and crosses the power line. While crossing the power line keep a watch for a jog to the left where you cross some more walk logs.
From here the trail continues for nearly a kilometer to the next stream crossing.
While the trail continues, this is the turn around spot. You can either retrace your steps or cross the river and follow the road back along the north side of the river. Of course, you might want to stop here for a moment as it is quite a beautiful spot.