by Anna Michalson
Looking for scenic views, rich history and outdoor activities all wrapped up in a quaint small town? Look no further than Cumberland, British Columbia, located approximately 134 miles northwest of Victoria in Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley.
Cumberland’s origins date back to the mid-1800s as a coal mining town. The coal mining pits are still intact today and can be visited and discovered both in person and through the Cumberland Museum and Archives.
But Cumberland has more to offer than its rich coal-oriented history; it has many beautiful hiking and camping destinations, equipped with several amenities to make your stay even more comfortable.
On your first stop, check out Strathcona Provincial Park, the oldest park in British Columbia. The park offers vast mountainous expanses, three watersheds, and several hiking trails of varying distance and difficulty. Try out the Della Falls trail, an 18.3-mile round-trip through the park’s remote scenery. This trail is perfect for backpacking for hikers wanting to complete the entire trail.
For less-experienced hikers, or those who aim for a day hike, try out Lake Helen Mackenzie and Battleship Lake Loop, a 5.3-mile hike along some of the oldest forests in the region; keep in mind, this trail may be crowded during popular seasons.
Hiking is not all avid adventurers can enjoy. Cumberland is also one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in British Columbia and is now attracting mountain bikers from around the globe. Cumberland’s biking trails are plentiful and of varying distance and difficulty. Here are a few you can check out if you are stumped on where to go first.
Upper Crafty Butcher: This trail is of moderate difficulty, with a distance of just under a mile, which can be a quick and fun ride up and down the forest hills.
UROC Fiver Route #1: This is a longer trail, spanning over 7 miles, featuring several trails during the duration of the route, such as Spanker, Above and Beyond, and upper and lower Thirsty Beaver. Several of these trails are advanced difficulty, so this route is for experienced riders only.
After a long day of hiking, bike riding and sightseeing, hunger will strike. Head back down to Cumberland to enjoy a meal at Riders Pizza, known for its variety of pizza, accompanying salads and more. Try out the classic Margherita, the Cumberlander or, if you’re feeling daring, go for the BBQ chicken with a side of polenta fries.
Need a liquid refreshment after a long day of excursions? Test out Cumberland Brewing Company’s line up of brews.
Whether you are visiting for the views, to explore the charming town or for some amazing outdoor recreation, there is something special for everyone in Cumberland. For more information on Cumberland and its attractions, visit the Comox Valley website at experiencecomoxvalley.ca or Tourism Vancouver Island at vancouverisland.travel.