With the support of local First Nations, local communities, and each of the local, provincial, and federal governments, in January 2000 Clayoquot Sound became designated as the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Biosphere Reserves are in essence global laboratories for sustainable development. They combine the three functions of conservation, sustainable development, and support for research, education, and training.
The designation of Clayoquot Sound as a United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve demonstrates international recognition of the achievement of a shared vision for social, environmental and economic sustainability in Clayoquot Sound.
The original inhabitants of Clayoquot Sound, the Nuu-chah-nulth people, have a guiding philosophy of Hishuk-ish ts’awalk. This means everything is one which recognises that communities, cultures, economies and environments are interwoven and impact one another.
The open ocean stretches off unbroken and vacant, while the elemental forces at play here, the winds and tides, the sun and rain, excite within visitors a deepseated resonance, a sense of belonging to this place.
Population: 7,848 (Clayoquot)
Location: Clayoquot Sound is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, north of Tofino.
Boating and paddling in the waters of Clayoquot Sound is one of the most rewarding ways to experience this environment. Depending on your skill level, you can either plan a trip on your own or join up with one of the tour operators that use Tofino as their base. Day trips close to town include Meares, Stubbs, Wickaninnish, and Vargas Islands, all within sight of the federal dock in Tofino. Far afield is Flores Island. The sandy beach on Stubbs Island makes it an ideal getaway within sight of Tofino. You can land on the east coast of Vargas Island, a 3-mile (5-km) paddle north from Tofino, and make the one-hour journey across island on foot to Ahous Beach. If you paddle to Ahous rather than hike, be prepared for a stretch of open ocean as you round the exposed southwest corner of Vargas. If it’s blowing too hard, check out isolated Medallion Bay on the south end of the island, a delightful place to land.
Nothing on Vargas, however, tops Ahous Beach’s lengthy expanse, which rivals Long Beach in size. So vast is its hard-caked, sandy surface that light planes occasionally land here.
Hiking: For a real taste of a rainforest trail, take an excursion around Clayoquot Sound from Tofino to Meares, Vargas, or Flores Islands. On Meares Island (also called Wah-nah-juss/Hilth-hoo-iss by the Tla-O-Qui-Aht and Ahousaht First Nations), the Big Cedar Trail (moderate; 2-mile/3-km loop) is marked by yellow ribbons and can be quite muddy. Boardwalks and stairs assist hikers over some of the boggiest sections but can themselves be treacherous when wet. Use caution and enjoy the experience of being in a pristine, temperate rainforest, where moss grows as deep as snowdrifts. Reaching the trailhead on Meares Island (part of the Tla-O-Qui-Aht and Ahousaht First Nations’ traditional territory) requires a 10-minute water-taxi ride from the main government wharf in Tofino. Transportation (and, if desired, a guided tour) may be arranged with the Nuu-chah-nulth Booking and Visitor Centre in Tofino.
Farther north on Flores Island, an ambitious trail-building project is underway to complete the Ahousaht Wild Side Heritage Trail (moderate; 20 miles/32 km return). The ambitious project links the Nuu-chah-nulth community of Ahousaht (Marktosis) with gorgeous, unpopulated white-sand beaches on the island’s south and west sides as it traverses the slopes of Mount Flores. Flores Island lies 12 miles (20 km) north of Tofino and is accessible by water taxi, kayak, or floatplane. For more information on the trail, to arrange a guided tour, and to arrange water-taxi transportation, call the Nuu-chah-nulth Booking and Visitor Centre in Tofino.
An old telegraph trail runs the width of Vargas Island between its east and west coasts. The Ahous Trail (3 miles/5 km return) begins behind the Vargas Island Inn and has recently been protected as Vargas Island Provincial Park. The Ahous Trail takes about an hour to walk each way, most of it across the tussocky bog that characterizes much of the landscape inland from the beaches along the west coast. An ancient corduroy road runs through meadows of pink western bog laurel, kinnikinnick, and Labrador tea, the hummocks of peat carpeted with moss in shades of strawberry and gold. So thick is the perimeter of salal through which the trail tunnels that the entrance on the other end at Ahous Beach is difficult to locate. A pile of beach refuse is the only clue to its presence. Mark this location well in your mind or, better yet, arrange some driftwood that you will recognize upon your return before setting out to explore the vastness of this magnificent beach.
Exciting raincoast backroad adventures are offered out of Tofino and Ucluelet in the comfort and safety of 4 x 4 vehicles. View the newly formed Clayoquot UN Biosphere, pristine mountain lakes, streams and waterfalls, with magnificent vistas of Barkley Sound and Clayoquot Sound. Walk nature trails through ancient forests with huge old growth cedar trees, see bears, birds and waterfowl. Full or half day trips.
The Clayoquot Valley Witness Trail (strenuous; 36 miles/58 km return) is an ambitious undertaking on the part of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee with permission from the Tla-O-Qui-Aht First Nation. No greater contrast imaginable exists between the clear-cut logging around the trailheads and the ancient rain forest the Clayoquot Valley Witness Trail traverses. Currently the valley is under moratorium until full and thorough inventories of all resource values, including spiritual, cultural, biological and recreational values, are conducted. The Witness Trail winds through big-treed ancient forests, alongside lakes and rivers and over two mountain passes. A minimum of four days are needed to hike the route and experience the deep rainforest wilderness. The trail begins a short distance west of Hwy 4 and is best done in a south-to-north direction. To receive a copy of the trail map complete with detailed directions, contact the Tla-O-Qui-Aht First Nations in Opitsaht or the WCWC in Vancouver.
Walk the Wild Side Trail is an 11-km trail historically used by the Ahousaht people for thousands of years. Visitors now have the opportunity to escape into the remote wilderness of Clayoquot Sound and hike along forest boardwalk and 9 gorgeous beaches. Be prepared for a strenuous hike, because the trail ends by ascending Mount Flores, offering a spectacular view of Clayoquot Sound. Bring a backpack with provisions and be prepared for some mud and spontaneous weather changes. Run the Wild Side Trail is an annual event held in June, offering a 22-km run or 10-km walk/run of the trail. For more information visit the Wild Side Trail office, located in Ahousaht Housing office building in Ahousat on Flores Island, 30 minutes by water taxi from Tofino.
Quait Bay: Nestled in a hidden cove deep in the wilderness north of Tofino on Vancouver Island is the remote Quait Bay. Located off Herbert Inlet in Clayoquot Sound, Quait Bay offers a unique experience for the discerning outdoor enthusiast.
For more information about the Clayoquot Sound region on the west coast of Vancouver Island, visit Clayoquot Biosphere Trust.
The Whale CentreThe Whale Centre
Box 111 411 Campbell Street Tofino BC V0R 2Z0 postalPhone: 250-725-2132homeFax: 250-725-2136homefaxToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
Experience the thrill of seeing whales up close – Killer whales (Orcas), Humpback whales, and Gray Whales – or watch otters, black bears, and birds in their natural habitat in beautiful Clayoquot Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. For a true west coast safari, combine whale watching with a soak in the natural hot spring at Hot Springs Cove.
Remote Passages Marine ExcursionsRemote Passages Marine Excursions
Whether watching whales, dipping into Hot Springs Cove, or kayaking to a rainforest trail, people of all ages have enjoyed our excursions since 1986. We launch out of Tofino in Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, just minutes from Long Beach and Pacific Rim National Park. We look forward to welcoming you aboard for a Clayoquot Sound adventure by Remote Passages.
Ocean Outfitters LtdOcean Outfitters Ltd
Adventure Seekers and Nature Lovers – OCEAN OUTFITTERS is the place to kick off all your Tofino activities! Our experienced, passionate guides will pilot you through beautiful Clayoquot Sound to view whales and bears aboard one of our luxury covered vessels or, for a real thrill, aboard a Zodiac! Whether you’re headed up to Hot Springs Cove, in search of a gentle inlet tour, or want to meet up close and personal our local Gray Whales, Humpbacks, Transient Orca and other wildlife… we are your ‘Gateway to Adventure’.
Ocean Outfitters is proud to bring you the best fishing itineraries that Tofino has to offer! Salt and freshwater fishing for salmon, halibut, trout, and our specialty, steel head. Charters are available for both the hard-core fisherman and families looking for fun. Tofino offers excellent “family friendly” fishing areas with calm, protected waters, and LOTS of fish. Helping kids and novice boaters explore the wonders of our area and wildlife is a big part of what we love to do. Our guides have generations of fishing history in their blood, they maintain the utmost professionalism, and they ensure a safe, productive day on the water every time.
Programs Offered: Fresh and Saltwater Fishing, Whale Watching Excursions, Tidal Black Bear Watching, Coastal Hot Springs Cove Explorer, Pelagic Bird Tours, Meares Island Big Tree Trail Water Taxi Service (Guided & Solo), Meares Island Lone Cone Taxi, Interpretive Harbour Tours, and Custom Tours
Reservations are recommended. Our waterfront location on Main Street in the Shore building has an in-house organic espresso bar.
Wickaninnish InnWickaninnish Inn
Osprey Lane at Chesterman Beach PO Box 250 Tofino BC V0R 2Z0 postalPhone: 250-725-3100homeFax: 250-725-3129workfaxToll Free: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
The Wickaninnish Inn is an enchanting and critically acclaimed landmark offering rustic elegance on nature’s edge. From remote fishing to sunset beach walks, your luxurious custom getaway is our priority, and no trip to BC would be complete without experiencing this remarkable Tofino destination. The Wickaninnish Inn offers accommodation with direct beach access, 75 deluxe rooms, and panoramic ocean or beach views from every guest room.
Clayoquot Wilderness ResortClayoquot Wilderness Resort
380 Main Street P.O. Box 130 Tofino BC V0R 2Z0 postalPhone: 250-726-8235homeFax: 250-266-0412workfaxToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
West Coast Vancouver Island
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is a small, privately-owned and operated Relais & Chateaux eco-safari-style resort Outpost in the remote wilds of Vancouver Island, near Tofino, open seasonally to guests from all over the world. We are a true resort destination in that we own and operate our own adventures and activities, and, working with the Ahousaht First Nation, provide unprecedented access to the UNESCO-designated Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve.
With just 25 guest tents and an over-full complement of staff, wilderness guides and food and beverage artisans, our clients receive respectfully intimate attention from the moment they arrive via floatplane until they wave goodbye from the horse-drawn wagon carrying them back to the dock.
Adventure unfolds in tandem with the rainforest, tides, seasons, and the call of the wild. An impressive menu of equestrian, marine, hiking, fishing, interpretive, and restorative activities is offered daily – each outing custom-built to suit age, skill-level and expectation.
The resort in Bedwell Sound provides 21st-century-safari style lodging in opulently outfitted prospector tents, and a massage and therapeutic treatment centre with the soul of an outpost spa. Activities include whale watching, bear watching, horseback riding, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and hot springs tours.
Pacific Sands Beach ResortPacific Sands Beach Resort
1421 Pacific Rim Highway Box 237 Tofino BC V0R 2Z0 postalPhone: 250-725-3322homeFax: 250-725-3155homefaxToll Free: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
Located beachfront on spectacular Cox Bay on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Pacific Sands Beach Resort sits on the edge of Paciﬁc Rim National Park, a short scenic drive from Long Beach as well as the charming, seaside village of Toﬁno – famous for local culture and artisans.
Blessed with over 40 acres and 1,000 feet of sandy beach, and built on family, romance and fun, guests have revered and returned to Paciﬁc Sands for decades. From s’mores and board-games around the gazebo, to surﬁng adventures and boardwalk strolls to Pettinger Point, it’s a hotbed of history and memories.
Breathe in the intoxicating ocean air as you relax on your private deck. Enjoy home-cooked meals from your fully-equipped kitchen or venture out to a variety of restaurants for local ﬂavours. Renowned for year round activities, explore summer ﬁshing, whale watching and golf, winter storm watching, and all season beachcombing.
From wise, old-growth forests and the relentless melody of pounding surf, to make-yourself-at-home resort services and hospitality, experience Paciﬁc Sands Tofino accommodations – the perfect convergence of land, sea and simple pleasures.
Coastal ChartersCoastal Charters
We have the keys to the seafood supermarket, right here in Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. If you’re here to fish for dime-bright Pacific salmon, the massive and delicious halibut, cod, snapper, or even albacore tuna, then you’ve come to the right place.
Coastal Charters offers on and offshore fishing packages, coastal adventures, and your choice of tour activities. Explore the coastline of Tofino while fishing, soak in mineral rich pools of the Hot Springs Cove, or walk the boardwalk through temperate rainforest.
We always have our guests and our planet at heart and we relish in creating exciting, safe and unforgettable adventures. We get to know our guests, and go that extra distance to ensure that they are completely satisfied or just downright over the moon!
Tofino Resort and MarinaTofino Resort and Marina
Tofino Resort and Marina is a resort “Inspired by Adventure”. We are nestled in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere; ideally located just steps from Tofino’s village and local beaches. Take our onsite shuttle to explore Pacific Rim National Park, or watch the sunset at Long Beach. Reserve pet-friendly ocean-view lodging, surf rentals, whale watching, bear watching, fishing, and hot-spring tours. Onsite dining features wood-fired pizzas and craft beer on three different patios, an oceanfront restaurant, and Tofino’s only pub.
Majestic Ocean KayakingMajestic Ocean Kayaking
1167 Helen Road Ucluelet BC V0R 3A0 postalMailing Address: Box 287 Ucluelet BC V0R 3A0 homePhone: 250-726-2868homeFax: 250-726-2860workfaxToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
Kayak the Majestic West Coast waters of British Columbia. Our ecotourism adventures will take you to Barkley Sound, the Broken Group Islands, Pacific Rim National Park, Clayoquot Sound and the Deer Group Islands. We provide Part-day, Full-day, and Multi-day trips. Camp on pristine beaches, eat gourmet food, hike through dense rain forests, and learn about the rich variety of Pacific Coast seashore life. Rental kayaks available.
Archipelago Wildlife CruisesArchipelago Wildlife Cruises
For an experience unlike any other, step aboard our luxurious 53-foot motor yacht, the “Raincoast Maiden”, to view whales, bears, sea lions, eagles and other wildlife in comfort. We offer a relaxing wildlife cruise with a personal touch. With a spacious cabin, washroom, comfortable seating inside and out, guests can sit back and take in the abundant wildlife and magical scenery with a taste of luxury. Truly a nature cruise of a different nature!
More than just wildlife viewing, our interpretive and very personal tours include a scenic cruise through the sheltered waters and breathtaking scenery of the Broken Group Islands and an optional gourmet meal while at anchor. Romantic Evening Cruises and Private Charters are also available. We will share our love and enthusiasm for the area and make your West Coast experience an unforgettable one.