Vancouver Island Field Trips

Central Vancouver Island

  • Nanaimo Area Geotour
    • A Tour Through Nanaimo’s Geology (City of Nanaimo and VIU).  Geological information signs posted at four parks around Nanaimo – Bowen Park, Sugarloaf Mountain (Departure Bay), Jack Point Park and Pipers Lagoon.
  • Top 5 Geologic Places in Nanaimo
  • Millstone River, Bowen Park, Nanaimo
  • Beach Estates Park, Nanaimo
    • Park in the Church of the Nazarene parking lot and walk down the trail toward the Departure Bay Ferry terminal
    • Examine the transition between Cretaceous sedimentary rocks and glacially transported Quaternary till.  Observe evidence of soil erosion, slope stability, and human impacts and mitigation measures.
  • Pipers Lagoon, Nanaimo
  • Neck Point Park, Nanaimo
  • Cottam Point, Nanoose Bay
    • travel to Beachcomber Regional Park and walk down to the beach to observe Cretaceous sedimentary rocks sitting right on top of Devonian metasedimentary rocks. This is a fantastic example of an 'unconformity'.  Unconformities are contacts between two packages of rocks that represents a significant gap in time.  In this case, this unconformity represents almost 300 million years worth of missing rock! 
  • Qualicum Beach Museum, Qualicum Beach
  • Horne Lake Caves, Qualicum Beach
  • Mount Benson, Nanaimo
    • This long and strenuous hike gets you to the top of Mount Benson which at 1000 m overlooks Nanaimo and most of the central part of Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea.  Most of the area is underlain by volcanic-breccia material that is part of the Late Triassic Karmutsen Formation. https://www.rdn.bc.ca/mount-benson-regional-park

  • Westwood Lake Park, Nanaimo
    • The 6 km loop trail of Westwood Lake is one the most popular and accessible trails in Nanaimo being relatively flat except for one hill.   For geology, check out the glacially scoured pillow basalt of Triassic Karmutsen Formation next to the dam and on the shoreline bluffs to the northeast of the lake.
  • Ammonite Falls, Nanaimo
    • This trail takes you across the lower slopes of Mount Benston and through VIU’s Wood Lot ending at a spectacular water fall that is located with sandstone, shales and conglomerates of the Late cretaceous Nanaimo Group.  Ammonites are of course report have been reported to be found in this location. https://www.rdn.bc.ca/benson-creek-falls-regional-park