Nature Viewing Guide

Welcome to the online Comox Valley Nature Viewing Guide. Here you’ll find general information, including seasonal highlights, viewing tips, a geology overview and a forests overview in addition to detailed information on more than 40 sites in the Comox Valley.

Estuary Aerial photo by Brian Schoneberg
Comox Glacier, Comox Lake, Comox Bay & Comox Valley. Photo: Brian Schoneberg

To read about a particular nature site, select it from the main menu under Nature Viewing Guide which is organized by area within the Comox Valley, or from this alphabetical list.

You can also see a summary of the top 17 nature viewing sites in our printed Nature Viewing Guide brochure (see details here).

Nature in the Comox Valley

The Comox Valley on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, features a great diversity of habitat: from the intertidal life of the ocean to the east, to subalpine and alpine terrain of the mountains to the west; from wet western hemlock forest to the north, to drier Douglas-fir forest to the south. The Beaufort Mountains and the Vancouver Island Range forming the western backdrop of the Valley have a dramatic centrepiece: the Comox Glacier.

At the heart of the Valley is the Courtenay River Estuary. More than 23 creeks and rivers enter the Estuary and Baynes Sound . The mixing of waters here results in a highly productive estuarine ecosystem.

During the last Ice Age, all of BC including Vancouver Island was ice-covered. When the ice melted and parts of the Strait of Georgia were dry, most of the land animals that were migrating north into BC also reached the Island. However, some have not yet made the crossing—the Island has no mountain goats, moose, bighorn sheep, foxes, coyotes, porcupines, chipmunks, skunks or resident grizzly bears. Happily, poisonous snakes, poison ivy, and poison oak are also absent from the Comox Valley.

Due to the extent of private land on the east side of the Island, protected areas are scarce. Remaining natural areas are few, fragmented, and under development pressure. Please enjoy our nature in the Comox Valley and help conserve and protect our natural environment.

This guide was developed with funding from the Government of Canada under the New Horizons for Seniors Initiative.