Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Park, is one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island. The park protects and preserves an internationally significant representative example of Douglas fir old-growth forest within the Coastal Western Hemlock Biogeoclimatic Zone.
Here visitors can stroll through a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world, some more than 800 years old.
Trails on either side of the highway lead visitors through the mighty stands of this coastal forest. On the south side you will find the largest Douglas firs, one measuring more than 9 metres in circumference. On the northern side of the road you’ll find groves of ancient western red cedar standing sentry over nearby Cameron Lake.
A severe windstorm on New Year’s Day in 1997 changed the look of the park forever. The storm toppled hundreds of huge trees and obliterated sections of the trail system. Some sections of the trail system were so badly hit that they have never been reopened.
Restoration and clean-up began almost as soon as the winds stopped, and although visitors will now find many of these huge trees lying on the ground, their value has not diminished. These fallen trees open the canopy to provide light, space, shelter, and nutrients for the next generations of plants. Natural regeneration is beginning to restore the grove’s pristine beauty and the park’s diversity, making a visit to Cathedral Grove all the more intriguing.
Improvements to MacMillan Park can be supported by 'feeding' the donation tree next to the main trail. Your contributions will be used for youth team trail projects, volunteer projects, revegetation projects, and new signs.