fossils, sedimentary chert, or just regular old pretty stones. Vancouver
Island's volcanic origin promises the energetic hounder a constant
supply of interesting treasures and precious finds. Combine rockhounding
with casual strolls along the beach or strenuous hikes in search
of exposed mineral veins - either way, it's memorable outings amid
and accessibility of beaches on Vancouver Island makes it a 'gold
mine' for the rockhound. Most beaches are public with good access,
and full of treasure at low tide. The glacial origin of the Island
is responsible for large deposits of debris full of rocks, with
the fascinating geology visible everywhere here and in the Gulf
Islands. Ferocious winter storms constantly churn up the coastline,
offering renewed bounty to the rock enthusiast.
Even the cobble
beaches within Victoria can
provide areas of interest to the rockhound. Dallasite, named after
Dallas Road, is a volcanic rock found on almost any beach, and is
not restricted to the Island. Just outside Victoria on the way to
Swartz Bay is Island View beach, the site of several palaeontological
finds and a good area for rocks and fossils. Large pieces of the
sedimentary cliffs that overhang the beach often crumble to the
ground below, revealing precious fossils and rock specimens.
West of the
city, between Sooke and
Jordan River, miles of rockhounding terrain include Whiffen Spit,
Sooke Bay, Otter Point and Gordon Beach. Each of these areas has
its own unique beauty, geography and rock finds.
up the Island will bring you to the Cowichan Lake region, including
the ridge around Lake Cowichan and the community of Youbou, known
for their supplies of rhodonite. At Nanaimo
there is Petroglyph Park and the Horne Lake area, which is rich
in dallasite. The beaches at Parksville
and Qualicum are wonderful
for rockhounding, beachcombing and swimming.
River Falls is a spectacular series of waterfalls and pools
with unusual geological formations and interesting rocks and boulders.
The area has been made into a provincial park and campground, and
it is an easy day trip from Victoria. To get there, drive west out
of Parksville for ten minutes on well-marked roads.
Many of the
Gulf Islands are home to interesting geology, and provide good areas
for rock hounding, particularly Saltspring,
Saturna and Hornby
travel on Vancouver Island, it is possible to discover interesting
geological specimens. The experienced rockhound will not find it
difficult to search through the overgrowth and vegetation of inland
areas, while the novice may want to stick to the beach. Either way,
the trails, roads and paths that crisscross the Island make it possible
to have a rewarding rockhounding experience.