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. Note: The southern half of the Clayoquot Valley Witness Trail is overgrown and no longer a trail. More information: https://medium.com/paradigm-cascadia/clayoquot-valley-witness-trail-revisited-71ee1fa5a776
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.
Clayoquot Wilderness LodgeClayoquot Wilderness Lodge
West Coast Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island’s celebrated luxury outpost Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge skirts the banks of its namesake ocean inlet, Clayoquot Sound, and offers an escape to the still, tranquil beauty of Canada’s remote wilderness. Set among magnificent conifer forests, the lodge offers guests an unforgettable experience of the landscape and its wildlife. Twenty-five canvas tents designed with contemporary interiors complement period and local artisan-designed pieces to offer a decadent retreat.
Guests have direct access to 600-acres of gloriously wild nature reserve where opportunities for adventure, education, natural enrichment and personal connection abound. Experiences span equestrian, marine-based, land-based, helicopter and fishing adventures.
Drawing inspiration from Vancouver Island’s wild beauty, Executive Chef Asher Blackford translates the landscape to the plate through the sights, scents and tastes of the region and uses premium sustainable, locally grown and foraged ingredients to deliver a 5-star taste of the destination.
Adventure-filled days are bolstered by the freedom to unwind at the spa, where physical and spiritual sanctuary are found in restorative treatments for body and soul. Featuring a waterfront massage tent, saunas and cedar hot tubs for relaxing and drinking in the view.
Ocean Outfitters LtdOcean Outfitters Ltd
Adventure Seekers & Nature Lovers – OCEAN OUTFITTERS is the place to kick off all your Tofino activities! Our experienced, local guides will pilot you through beautiful Clayoquot Sound to view gray whales, humpbacks, orcas (killer whales), black bears, sea otters, sea lions, wolves, eagles and other seabirds aboard one of our luxury covered boats, or one of our Zodiac boats.
Whether you’re headed to Hot Springs Cove, joining us for an inlet tour to view Black Bears, or wanting to meet up close and personal with our local gray whales, humpbacks, and orcas… we are your gateway to adventure!
Looking for a calmer and more intimate experience? Join us on a beautiful 4.5 hour guided kayak trip in a remote part of Clayoquot Sound. While kayaking through the calm waters and discussing the history of Clayoquot Sound, we will also be looking for Harbour Seals, Black Bears, Bald Eagles and various other forms of wildlife that out populate humans in this area!
Interested in fishing? We are proud to bring you some of the best fishing itineraries that Tofino has to offer! Charters are available for both experienced fisherman and families looking for fun. Tofino offers world-renown deep sea salmon fishing, as well as 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. Also available on our Fishing Charters, is our sea-to-fork ‘Gourmet At Sea’ add-on, where our guide (who is a professional trained chef) will prepare your freshly-caught seafood for you while you’re still on the water!
Our programs are not only a ton of fun, but they are also educational and encourage stewardship. We are a certified green business and are committed to connecting you with nature and to inspiring conservancy. Live the experience with Ocean Outfitters!
Our waterfront location on Main Street, in the Shore building, has all of gear needed to get you out there, as well as organic coffee to fuel your adventures! We are proud retailers of Arcteryx, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Vortex binoculars, Pendleton, and a great collection of books. Feel free to enjoy our lounge/cafe before or after your trip.
Video: Ocean Outfitters – Your Tofino Adventure Specialists
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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
A consistently top-ranked Tofino hotel on TripAdvisor, this family and dog-friendly resort offers beachfront and ocean view accommodations ranging from 520 to 1400 square feet and is the only resort in Tofino with fully-equipped kitchens.
Located steps from spectacular Cox Bay on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the 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. From year-round adventures including infamous storm watching, to make-yourself-at-home resort services and hospitality, experience Paciﬁc Sands Beach Resort – the perfect convergence of land, sea and simple pleasures.
More at http://www.PacificSands.com
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. Fishing also offered out of Victoria during the winter months.
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!
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.