Forests and Waterfalls
It’s not just passive wildlife watching that can help relax your body and brain: Active immersion in nature also provides the benefits of the British Columbia Effect. Old-growth forests often conceal majestic waterfalls, reminding us of a deep, biological connection to water. In fact, the mere sight and sound of water can induce a flood of neurochemicals that promote wellness, increase blood flow to the brain and heart and induce relaxation. At Elk Falls Provincial Park, easy walking trails lead to a cascading waterfall surrounded by old-growth Douglas fir trees, where you can see and hear the raw power of the falls.
Simply being surrounded by trees can also help to energize us, thanks to the aroma compound (terpene) pinene, which is found predominantly in pine and has been shown to have an invigorating effect on mood. Standing amongst the potent pines and ancient cedars, experiencing the thick silence of the forest, is a humbling experience for us humans.
Just a short walk (but a world away) from the highway, you’ll find the majestic 800-year-old trees of Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park. Visitors can immerse themselves in another world and breathe in the reenergizing woody aromas of this ancient forest Douglas fir and red cedar trees.
Nearby are the fast-flowing falls of Englishman Falls Provincial Park and Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park, which includes Little Qualicum River and the southern shore of Cameron Lake. Hike through the peaceful forest to find impressive waterfalls that cascade down a rocky gorge and offer a place to cool off on a warm fall day—delighting all the senses in one scene.