Upper Avatar Grove

Avatar Grove is located around Port Renfew. It has Canada’s gnarlist tree and big red cedars. The trees are 500-1000 years in some areas. There are two portions to Avatar Grove: Upper and Lower. We chose the Upper Trail to explore this rainforest.

The trail mostly consists of boardwalk. There’s a section our guide even worked on. Toni, our guide from Rainforest Tours, either donates her time or money to Ancient Forest Alliance. The Ancient Rainforest Alliance is an organization in British Columbia working to save old growth trees and to ensure sustainable forestry jobs. They are run by activists Ken Wu, TJ Watt, Joan Varley, and Hannah Carpendale. Toni wanted to introduce us to TJ but he was away at the moment.

Because of them we have these trees to walk amongst. They were marked for clear cutting when one of the activists stumbled upon them. I don’t quite remember the story but I found an article written about the discovery of the trees and talks about Ken and TJ.

This banana slug didn’t mind me taking pics of him. When Toni and Vic got close it’s head and antennae would retract. This little one and I hung out for a while. I’ll confess – I was chatting with my slug friend for a few minutes.

Avatar Grove consists of giant red cedar and Douglas fir trees located in the Gordon River Valley and it’s hard to get over the fact that it’s pretty close to the city of Victoria.

The area has a long history in forestry and fishing. It’s nice to see outdoor recreation gaining steam. The sustainable income makes a great case for conservation.

Canada’s Gnarliest Tree.

The trail can be explored on one’s own but we don’t drive and personally, we realized we feel safer when we hire a guide. The outdoors is new to us and we like having someone who knows what to do and they teach us. Our guides carry a GPS locater on them in case anything bad happens. Click here for a map to Avatar Grove And Port Renfew old trees.

I thought this walk would be exhausting but it wasn’t. It consists mostly of boardwalk and some uneven ground sections. It was a nice way to end our Port Renfew trip. We were sad to leave the rainforest. The more nature trips we go on, the more we realize we need to get out of the city. I can’t live without my 24 hour everything (really, I can find anything in the wee hours and only walk a few blocks). But I don’t know, my heart is aching to see nature and all her beauty. These trips feel good but at the same time, our jaunts into nature feel too brief.


8 thoughts on “Upper Avatar Grove

  1. Those are some seriously big cedars. I wonder how old they are?

    You were fortunate to be in the rainforest (temperate or otherwise) without being rained on.

    1. They are huge but really wish Muir Woods wasn’t my first time in the woods. For some dumb reason I keep thinking I’d feel the same way each time. Vic said, “You know these are different trees, what makes you keep thinking that?” 500-1000 years. The Lower half was our favorite, seemed a bit denser. We have weird luck going away, it tends to be drier than usual or warmer but we’d rather it be ‘normal’ weather. If we travel locally we tend to get rained on. There’s a giant tree in another area of Port Renfew, Big Lonely Doug, we didn’t have time to get to him since we had to head back to Victoria. PNW is one of the most beautiful places, we miss it everyday.


    1. It was too dry in the rainforest. They were having forest fire issues in the summer on Vancouver Island. Guess it felt like a cold dampness. Not many banana slugs out and about.

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