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Elphinstone Chronicles: The secret (and not so secret) trails of Area E

Finding new places for gentle jaunts and heavier hikes
The Reed Road Forest Trail is also called “the forest that holds water” was developed by Elphinstone Logging Focus in collaboration with the Elphinstone community.

I recently had David from Area E write in with a request for interesting, or even secret, trails in the Elphinstone Area, so I put on my detective hat and asked a few people in the know. This mission took a couple turns. Talk of small trails quickly turned into big hikes, and talk of Elphinstone got me a flood of suggestions for all over the entire Mountain. But we’re just talking about Elphinstone as in Area E, a little place with its own community, and its own name. Cue typical Faye educational moment: Elphinstone is not just our local high school, and it’s not just the backdrop mountain behind each episode of The Beachcombers; Elphinstone is also a specific area, not quite town, wedged in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw traditional territory between Gibsons and Roberts Creek. I sorted through many messages from passionate people here on the Coast who love hitting the forest for some fun and fitness to find the ones in our neighbourhood. 

Area E director Donna McMahon has a ton of favourite trails, including the Chaster to Sunnyside connector, “because it comes with skunk cabbage, frogs and horses, and is bike/stroller/wheelchair accessible.” If you’re looking for a little more of a challenge, she recommends the Tramway Trail from the historic Elphinstone Pioneer Cemetery. If you haven’t been up there, that cemetery is absolutely enchanting in and of itself. You can follow the red markers to Highway 102 and see remnant artifacts from a century old logging camp along the way. 

One person I heard from was Rosie Kelman, who started the Facebook group called Sunshine Coast, BC Women’s Hiking Group just last year. “It’s hike at your own pace, and nobody gets left behind,” said Rosie of the popular local meetup group, now up to 1.5k followers. This friendly community hikes places all over the Coast, and always welcomes new members. 

An amazing response I received was from Robert O’Neill who organises the Elphinstone Hiking Group, which holds two hikes each week on Saturdays and Mondays. “Hiking with a group is a great way to explore the many lesser-known forest paths and enjoy a truly authentic and awe-inspiring forest experience,” Robert told me. When asked about his favourite trail in Area E, he had a wonderful reply, and it happened to be about my own favourite trail: 

“One example of our many local trails is the ‘Reed Road Forest Trail,’ which is within walking distance of our community. It was developed a few years ago by Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) in collaboration with the Elphinstone community. It is also called “the forest that holds water,” because like every mature forest, it functions as a natural sponge, absorbing millions of gallons of rainwater and then releasing it slowly into the brooks and creeks. A special feature of this trail is the series of educational signs, which ELF recently placed along the route, showing hikers different features of the forest ecosystem, and explaining how that system plays an integral role in the life and health of our community.” 

Robert suggests checking out great local hikes on mobile apps such as and, with the slight caveat that many of them are unmarked and can be difficult to find. For more information about The Elphinstone Hiking Group, you can go to

If you are hoarding the knowledge of some delightful, secret trails around Elphinstone, I would love to hear from you so I can pass that info onto David. In fact, if you’re hoarding any neat-o facts, stories or wild-goose-chase ideas regarding our little area, please shoot me an email so I can gradually improve my super sleuthing for the benefit of our community. Email me at [email protected]