Distance: 3.5 km
Elevation gain: 140 mView mapDownload GPS track
The Dover Trail is a beautiful hike through 1000 year old forest. Highlights include huge ferns, a large waterfall, spawning fish, and of course massive trees. It was perhaps my favorite hike of the entire trip.
The trail begins on the BC Ferry side of the Haans Creek bridge, just outside Sandspit. The first half of the trail wanders near Haans Creek, crossing the creek at one point on a fascinating natural bridge formed by a fallen tree so large and old that it currently has medium-sized trees growing on it. In the fall the stream fills with spawning salmon, but even on this day we saw several large fish in the shallows. After a bit of reading, I think they may have been spawning steelhead trout.
Near the midway point the trail climbs moderately steeply away from the creek. Near the end of the climb a small stake indicates 400 m of difficult trail leads to a waterfall, and if you're feeling capable it's certainly worth the effort and detour. Be aware, however, that the word difficult is properly used here and that the trail is narrow, steep, and muddy/slippery nearly the entire way. Some creative maneuvers are required just before reaching the waterfall to first climb over a large tree and then duck under another, all while balancing on slick mud or wood.
The final section of trail loops back towards the road, connecting up with the trail you started on at the natural bridge over Haans Creek. Along the way you'll see many enormous, likely 1000 year old trees and at least one that was altered ("culturally modified") by Haida perhaps a century or more ago. You'll also encounter a trail, blocked by a few deliberately placed logs, branching off the main trail along this section. I presume this is the skyline trail, but for some reason the trailhead sign indicates it is closed.
To hike the trail and take in the surroundings took us 2 hours, although it can be completed much faster. We also hiked the trail in the evening and the lighting at this time through the trees was amazing - definitely recommended!