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5 Unique Waterfalls on Vancouver Island That You Need to Visit

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The Best Waterfalls on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is the one of the best places in British Columbia for outdoor adventure and one of its natural wonders includes its beautiful waterfalls! There are loads of waterfalls on Vancouver Island but there are a few really special ones which I am going to talk about in this guide.

This guide lists the best Vancouver Island waterfalls and provides you with everything you need to know including how to get there, other things to do in each area and more! The waterfall list only includes a few really unique waterfalls on Vancouver Island rather than all of them.

If you are planning a trip to Vancouver Island, you might want to check out Jordan River or Sooke which are two towns near some of the amazing waterfalls that I talk about in this guide.

couple standing at the Mystic Beach waterfall on Vancouver Island at sunset

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How to Get to Vancouver Island From Vancouver

Vancouver Island is as its name says, an island which you can only get to by crossing the water either by plane or ferry. If you would prefer to fly, you can book a flight from Vancouver Airport to Victoria International Airport.

If you would prefer to bring your car and catch the ferry, I recommend booking in advance. The ferry that you book will depend on where you want to go on Vancouver Island. There are a couple of different ferry terminals on mainland Vancouver and on Vancouver Island to choose from. Your choice will depend on where on the island you are trying to get to.

There are two ferry terminals on Vancouver’s mainland, Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay.
There are also two ferry terminals on Vancouver Island, Victoria (Swartz Bay) and Nanaimo (Duke Point).
Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay / Duke Point
Horseshoe Bay – Swartz Bay

Click here to open the map in Google Maps!

When is the best time of the year to chase waterfalls?

You are going to want it to have rained quite a bit so that the waterfalls are at their most epicness. Summer is the least best time to go waterfall chasing as the falls tend to dry up and some of them end up only being a tiny trickle. The best seasons for waterfalls are Winter and Spring with either of these being a great option.

Waterfall Safety Tips ?

  • Wear Hiking Boots or other sturdy/waterproof shoes
  • Follow the rules and warning signs at waterfalls. The rules are there for a reason.
  • Do not jump off waterfalls or into the pools
  • Be aware that the areas surrounding the waterfall is most likely very slippery
  • Do not swim in the top of a waterfall
  • Supervise children and pets

Waterfall Chasing Clothing Attire

Couple standing next to Sombrio Beach Waterfall on Vancouver Island


When choosing what to wear on your waterfall adventure, remember that it is probably going to be wet and potentially slippery in the area around the waterfall. This is what I recommend wearing on your waterfall adventure!

The Best Waterfalls on Vancouver Island

The following list is of some of the top most beautiful and unique Vancouver Island waterfalls. Each description also includes which ferry you will need to catch from Vancouver over to the Island and how much of a hike each waterfall is to get to.

Mystic Beach Falls

Hike Distance: 4km / 2.5 miles 
Time: 2 hrs  
Elevation: 65 metres / 213ft 
Dog Friendly: Yes

Mystic Beach Waterfall on Vancouver Island


Mystic Beach is a hidden gem on Vancouver Island as you need to hike along part of the Juan De Fuca trail through the forest to reach it. The beach is fairly small and very wild, where elephant seals are often spotted! The hike to Mystic Beach from the China Beach parking lot is a 4km return through the forest. Dogs are allowed on the trail and at Mystic Beach but need to be on a leash.

To find the waterfall, once you reach the beach, turn left and walk all of the way down the beach. Soon you will come to the waterfall which flows off the headland into the ocean. At low tide you are able to walk all of the way past the waterfall without getting too wet although I recommend taking off your shoes.

We spent sunset at the Mystic Beach waterfall and hiked back to the parking lot in the dark but we don’t necessarily recommend doing that! However, if you decide to visit at sunset, make sure that you are properly prepared with headlamps and bear sprayYou are in bear and cougar country so please be take wildlife precautions.

⛺ You can also camp at Mystic Beach by reserving a campsite spot through BC Parks. Make sure you pitch your tent on the beach rather than disturbing the vegetation in the forest, but make sure your tent is placed far enough back from the water so that you don’t get wet when the tide comes in.

Which Ferry to take from Vancouver to get to Mystic Beach

To get to Mystic Beach from Downtown Vancouver, the shortest trip will be to take the Tsawwassen Ferry to Swartz Bay. Once you arrive in Swartz Bay it is a 1.5 hour drive further to the Mystic Beach trailhead.

Sombrio Beach Hidden Waterfall

Hike Distance: 3.5km / 2.2 miles 
Time: 1 hr 
Elevation: little to none
Dog Friendly: Yes

Couple standing at the hidden waterfall at Sombrio Beach Vancouver Island


The hidden waterfall on Sombrio Beach is a true Vancouver Island hidden gem! It is located near the tiny town of Jordan River in the Juan De Fuca region. We were completely blown away when we first arrived at this waterfall! It is tucked away behind the beach and the trail up to the falls really doesn’t look like much.

The total walk from the parking lot to the waterfall is 3.5km return and will take you about an hour altogether. The trail starts in the forest and takes you to Sombrio Beach where you then need to turn left and continue walking down the beach. For the full instructions on how to find the hidden waterfall, check out our guide. Sombrio Beach itself is a real beauty, so I recommend planning on spending some extra time here to take in the scenery.

Although the waterfall itself is “hidden,” it is definitely becoming more popular and when we were there, there was actually a bit of a line of people waiting to take photos. If you can, try to visit Sombrio Beach during the week rather than on a weekend.

Which Ferry to take from Vancouver to get to Sombrio Beach

To get to Sombrio Beach from Downtown Vancouver, the shortest trip will be to take the Tsawwassen Ferry to Swartz Bay. Once you arrive in Swartz Bay it is a 2 hour drive further to the Sombrio Beach Parking Lot.

Della Falls

Hike Distance: 29.5km / 18.3 miles 
Time: 8.5 – 11.5 hrs  
Elevation: 1,117 metres / 3,664ft 
Dog Friendly: Yes

This waterfall is for the more hardcore adventurers! Della Falls is located in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island and it is a whole big adventure to reach the waterfall! To start with, you can only reach the trailhead by boat. You can either paddle 45km across the Great Central Lake or hire a water taxi. This is one adventure you need to make sure you plan well for.

The hike itself is then a bit of a beast. It is 29.5km with an elevation gain of 1,117m and is classified as hard. The entire hike will take you anywhere from 8.5 – 11.5hours. The good news is that you don’t have to do this hike all in one day. You are able to camp overnight near the falls for free!

? Della Falls has a vertical drop of a whopping 444m and has been listed as one of the 10 tallest waterfalls in the world!

How to reach the Della Falls Trailhead

To get to Vancouver Island from Vancouver you will need to take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo (Duke Point). From Duke Point it is around 1.5 hours drive to the Great Central Lake RV resort & Marina.

Option 1

Most hikers choose to pay for a water taxi which leaves from the Great Central Lake RV resort & Marina, however this does cost around $175 return per person for a party of 2 or slightly cheaper per person if you have a larger group.

Option 2

The alternative option is to make your adventure an even bigger adventure and canoe or kayak to the Della Falls trailhead. The main two places that you can depart from are Scout Beach Beach Recreational Site or Ark Resort. Ark Resort does charge a small launching fee and they also charge for parking.

Niagara Falls

Hike Distance: 1.3km / 0.8 miles 
Time: 30 minutes  
Elevation: little to none 
Dog Friendly: Yes

Couple standing looking up at Niagara Falls in Goldstream Provincial Park on Vancouver Island


I mean with a name like Niagara Falls, how could it not be an epic waterfall?! This waterfall is literally on the side of a highway and the walk from the parking lot to the waterfall is more of a casual 5 minute stroll.

Niagara Falls is located in Goldstream Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. This waterfall is enormous with a 47.5 meter drop and surrounded by greenery which makes you feel like you have stepped through a portal into the jungle!

You can view this waterfall from the end of the trail or scramble down and cross the creek to have a full view of the waterfall. In my opinion, the better photo spot is from the other side of the creek.

Which Ferry to take from Vancouver to get to Niagara Falls

To get to Niagara Falls in Goldstream Provincial Park from Downtown Vancouver, the shortest trip will be to take the Tsawwassen Ferry to Swartz Bay. Once you arrive in Swartz Bay it is 1 hour drive further to the Niagara Falls Parking Lot.

Ammonite Falls

Hike Distance: 5.5km / 3.4 miles 
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours  
Elevation: 229 metres / 751 ft 
Dog Friendly: Yes

This waterfall is located in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and is a perfect 1 tier waterfall that makes for really great long exposure photos. We haven’t been to Ammonite Falls yet but it’s definitely on our list!

Once you reach the Ammonite parking lot, it is a 5.5km out and back hike to the waterfall with an elevation gain of 229m. The hike will take you around 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. Once you reach the waterfall, you can walk right up to the falls and even take a dip in the water if you feel like it!

Which Ferry to take from Vancouver to get to Ammonite Falls

To get to Ammonite Falls from Downtown Vancouver, you will want to take the Horseshoe Bay Ferry to Duke Point (Nanaimo). Once you arrive at Duke Point, it is 30 minute drive further to the Ammonite Falls Parking Lot. Ammonite Falls is a great stop for a road trip to Tofino as it is only a tiny detour.

Our Thoughts

We love a good waterfall, especially when you have to hike to get there because it feels so much more rewarding! There are loads of waterfalls on Vancouver Island and this is only a list of a few that we think are really unique and worth visiting. Like Vancouver Island, Vancouver is also home to some really amazing waterfalls which are all listed in our separate guide, The Best Waterfalls Near Vancouver.

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