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Waterfall at Oyster Bowls potholes
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Oyster River Potholes A north Vancouver Island secret.

Oyster River Potholes is a secret location on Vancouver Island. Great for spending a morning taking photos. There are two locations, the first being a 15-minute drive from Campbell River along Highway 19, and the second includes a rough road and a bit of scrambling up and down a rougher road before you reach your destination.

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Interesting facts about the Oyster river

The Oyster River is a river located on northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The river get its water source from the mountains of Forbidden Plateau and drains an area of about 376 square kilometers before emptying into the Strait of Georgia. The river experiences higher flows during the fall rains in November, and again when the snow melts in May and June.

Pano of the Oyster River Potholes upper potholes

How are the potholes formed?

Potholes are created when the river’s currents wash away the sediment around rocks, forming small depressions in the bedrock. These depressions fill with water and become ideal habitats for aquatic insects, amphibians, and sometime fish.

Where are the Oyster River Potholes?

There are 2 distinct location know as Oyster River Potholes. You have the upper and lower Potholes. Both locations are perfect for a morning out hiking, swimming and enjoying nature. The Lower bowls are off the inland Island highway 19, close to Cranberry lane. The upper bowls are located on Piggot Main

Lower river Potholes

Getting to the lower river potholes is quite easy. Parking is in on the side of Highway 19 just after the bridge but before Cranberry Lane if heading north. Look for a wildlife gate which you pass through to get to the trail.

The Oyster River Potholes are a series of small, deep pools located along the lower section of the river. They are a popular spot for swimming  and are a great place to cool off on a hot summer day.

Oyster River Potholes - lower holes

Upper river potholes

The upper river potholes is a little less know and takes a little bit of research to find. But if you are looking for a place to get away and do a bit of photography. The upper potholes is another great place to spent a morning.

Getting there – Head down Cranberry lane to Iron River Rd. which turns into Duncan Main. Follow Duncan main till the Piggot Main exit. Follow Piggot Main for about 5 kilometers until Pig2F (it will be a small logging road to your right almost like a Y intersection)  It’s very easy to miss, often there will be trail tape in the trees as a marker. I left an orange parachute cord in the trees.

Pig2F is a rough road, so take your time or use a 4×4. It is possible to drive right to the river. But most park at the top walk the 100ft down the hill. As you will see in the Video. I wouldn’t recommend driving to the river unless your 4 X 4 clearance!

Oysgter River Potholes - Upper potholes

Photographing the landscape at the pot holes

When I walked to the river, my 1st thoughts were WOW! There are actually falls? I’ve only seen photos of the bowls themselves. It’s great when you get to a location and see things differently from everybody else. I prefer to visit the bowls in Oct – Dec when the trees have changed colour, and the water is higher because of the rain. Yes, I know we live in a rain forest and Douglas fur and cedar trees are green all year round. However, there is a little splatting of yellow and orange along the river’s edge.

The Oyster River potholes are certainly a worthwhile spot to photograph. There’s lots to photograph. I can easily spend several hours and a couple or trips taking pictures of the beautiful scenery at this amazing location.

Final thoughts about Oyster River Potholes

Oyster River Potholes is a nice location for a morning outing. The water is crystal clear and the potholes make for an interesting photo excursion.

While the lower potholes are an easier location. It can be crowded (especially on hot days) so get there early in the summer months.

The upper potholes are less popular and a more difficult to find. However, the waterfall is small and the little cascades are fun to photograph.

All these things considered, no matter which potholes you prefer, you should have a fun day taking photos.

Thinking of going out to photography the upper potholes? Well! why not check out Oink Oink Waterfalls  or Oyster Bay Shoreline Park while you are there.

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