Nature Viewing Guide

Welcome to the Comox Valley Nature Viewing Guide.

For seasonal highlights, viewing tips, and general chapters on nature in the Comox Valley, choose a page from the drop-down menu above.

To start exploring our 40+ nature viewing sites, choose a site from the drop-down menu above. You can also see a summary of the top 17 nature viewing sites in our printed Nature Viewing Guide brochure – see the Publications page.

Scroll down for an overview of nature in the Comox Valley.

Estuary Aerial photo by Brian Schoneberg

Comox Glacier, Comox Lake, Comox Bay & Comox Valley – photo by Brian Schoneberg

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 migrated 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.