Vancouver Island Hiking: Harewood Plains, Nanaimo
The Harewood Plains in Nanaimo B.C is home to second growth forest and open meadows and highlights an amazing view of south Nanaimo. It is bordered by Harewood Mines Road, 10th St and McKeown in Chase River. It can be accessed via Harewood Mines road just past Rimrock Trail, or at the end of McKeown Way the first right off of Chase River road past the elementary school.
The Harewood Plains area is privately owned by stakeholders Island Timberlands and the BC Transmission Corporation (they maintain the transmission lines throughout this area). The area contains some rare plants, 10 rare plant species that are considered endangered or threatened. One extremely rare plant called the meadow bird's foot trefoil (Lotus pinnatus), is only found on the Harewood Plains and in a small area in Duncan.
This area is unprotected and at risk for being destroyed by motorized vehicles and people walking off-trail. It is important to respect the land and stay on designated trails. We entered the Plains at the end of McKeown, where you will come to a gate where you will park and walk about 5 minutes alongside the Parkway until you reach the end of the paved road and will come to another gate indicating you have reached the Harewood Plains. A lot of the trails were quite washed away (due to a lot of rain lately) and it was quite mucky (I would suggest exploring this area when it is drier, spring and early summer is the best!). We headed up towards Extension ridge and came across this interesting little carving...
The extensive logging can be seen throughout this hike, but you can also see the replanting efforts. This is also a popular area for mountain biking, since the famous Abyss is just over the ridge.
Check out this video of a mountain biker jumping the abyss!