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Bonnell Creek Falls in Nanoose

My girlfriend and I wanted to go for an adventure of the hiking type on Valentine’s Day. More specifically, we wanted to go find a waterfall. My dad mentioned some waterfalls by the Arlington Pub by Nanoose that he had been to a couple weeks ago. He said they weren’t quite as large as Ammonite Falls, but were quite pretty. I asked how long it took to get there and he said only about 20 minutes in from the Pub. Easy enough. Off we go in search of waterfalls.

Where’s the gate?

I had been dirt biking by the Arlington years before and assumed it was quite easy to get back to. The Pub is on the highway, but the gate was not where I remembered it being. The road to the left of the pub is called Sea Blush Drive and it carries on a lot further into the bush than I thought. We drove right to the end of road thinking it was the obvious place for a gate to be. There was an entrance to some trails, but not the gate I was looking for.

Not able to find the gate, we started walking along the power lines at the end of Sea Blush Drive, taking every turn we could find, exploring the trails there.


Hiking along all the trails we could find in the direction we thought was suitable for waterfalls to be in, we hit Sundew Main, the main logging road in the area. We followed that to the start of the road and eureka, we found the gate. It just so happened to be at the end of Sundew Place, one of the side roads off Sea Blush Drive.

Armed with the knowledge that the trail to the waterfalls would be just 10 minutes up this road, we took a couple pictures, turned around, and started walking.Almost a kilometre up Sundew Main we found the double track trail that branches off the main on the right-hand side. We followed this trail straight down to the waterfalls.

Taking another right turn 5 minutes down this trail will lead you to a pretty view off the entire chain of waterfalls. There are a few sections, which are separated by large pools. The tallest level of these waterfalls is at the bottom. We headed back to the main trail and carried on (continuing straight if you didn’t take this detour), and then descended a very steep section with a long rope. It was fairly muddy here the day we went and I imagine it always is. Don’t slip here, it’s very steep.


Once at the bottom of the steep section, we were right beside one of the pools. To the left were two smaller falls and one larger set to the left. Overhead was something that is still a mystery to me.  A net about 3 meters by 3 meters was suspended 5 metres above the water. It hangs lower now since one of the trees it is tied to had fallen some time ago. I’ve come up with a few theories for what this net is for but none have made a lot of sense.


To the right of the ledge we stood on was another rope leading down a drop, which was steeper but shorter. To the left was a very steep, rocky section that didn’t really go anywhere. But I got curious and crossed this part. Then promptly decided there was nothing to see and got stuck trying to get back. After some awkward footwork and finding some mossy, almost nonexistent finger holds I pulled myself back to the other side.We had lunch here, right beside the waterfalls, and washed it down with some almost-hot hot chocolate (apparently my stove fuel canister was getting low).

Right after lunch, we headed straight back up the rope and jogged a bit on the dirt road and trails back to the car.

All in all, it was a pleasant day trip and highly recommended for those seeking some picture opportunities or a short trip around in the bush. Careful with younger and older folks as the descent down to the falls is very steep!


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Bonnell Creek Falls on

10 thoughts on “Bonnell Creek Falls in Nanoose”

  1. nice work on your hike to the falls…I played all over that creek ast 10 years old back in 1957….if you walk up the creek to the falls you will find a pretty cool cave that had a wooden water line run thruogh it on the top left side of the cliff just before the falls….it was pretty cool to hike it then…..cheers! stanley strazza

  2. I’ll have to take a look at that cave. I didn’t see it when we first went. It is definitely a pretty place.Any ideas what the net is above the falls?

  3. I see from another web site that there is a ropeline down to the falls. How far do you have to rappel? I did ammonite falls with my kids 14, 10, 7 and my two dogs. We managed the 75′ rappel just fine. The one dog did need some encouragement to go down and a bit of a shove to get back up, but we all made it unscathed. How does the steep part of Bonnell Ck, Falls compare to this?

  4. If you made it down to Ammonite fine then you’ll be ok on Bonnell Creek. The bottom of the Bonnell Creek rope is a tad steeper but not much. You should be ok. It’s a really nice hike just to the top of the rope as well so I’d recommend going and at least taking a look!

  5. Any more thoughts on the net?? Also to Stanley , where was the best point to enter if you wanted to hike up the river ? right at the road or is there another entry point?

  6. It looks like the net was put up so people wouldn’t jump out of the fir tree hanging over the pool. Maybe someone died there? I could be wrong, my GF thinks it is there to catch leaves.. hhaha

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