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Pacific Rim (West Coast)

Rugged Pacific Rim Coastline
Nowhere else on earth has the meeting of land and sea created the magnificent beauty of Canada's Pacific Coast. The magnificent Pacific Rim National Park is the only national park entirely on Vancouver Island, providing protection for substantial rain forests and an amazing marine environment on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The full force of the mighty Pacific Ocean mercilessly pounds the constantly changing shores of this rugged coastline.

The territory now known as the Pacific Rim National Park has a significant history, having been inhabited by the Nuu-chah-nulth people for thousands of years. A rich natural heritage evolved as Vancouver Island became isolated from the mainland, retaining a great diversity of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish species.

The unique Pacific Rim National Park encompasses a total area of 49,962 hectares of land and ocean in three separate geographic units - Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail. Features of the park include long sandy beaches, an island archipelago, old-growth coastal temperate rainforest, and significant Nuu-chah-nulth archaeological sites.

The following communities and areas are located in the magical stretch of coastline (80 miles / 140 km) that is the Pacific Rim (West Coast) region of Vancouver Island. Click on a name for ddetailed information on that community or region.

Alberni Inlet
Barkley Sound
Bedwell River Valley
Broken Group Islands
Clayoquot Sound
Long Beach
Port Alberni
Quait Bay
Sproat Lake
Tofino Highway 4

Location: The Pacific Rim region is located on the wild southwest coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Access to the Pacific Rim is on paved Highway 4, which heads west from Parksville, travelling through Port Alberni and passed Sproat Lake. Estimated travel times to the Tofino-Ucluelet junction from: Victoria 5 hours, Nanaimo 3 hours, Parksville 2-1/2 hours, and Port Alberni 1-1/2 hours.

View maps of the area:
Map of the Pacific Rim
Map of the Pacific Rim - Detailed Map

  • Pacific Rim, Vancouver Island
    Long Beach Unit
    The best known and most visited of the 3 regions, Long Beach is famous for the long sandy beaches of Schooner Cove and Wickaninnish and Florencia Bays, stretching between the two villages of Tofino and Ucluelet. The 13,715 hectare unit incorporates numerous rocky points and headlands, offshore islets and the mudflats of Grice Bay, an important wintering habitat and stopover for migrating waterfowl.

    The impressive Green Point Campground caters to campers and RVs and, along with the Wickaninnish Centre and Parks Canada, provides valuable and interesting heritage learning programs on cultural features and the natural ecosystem of the Pacific Rim National Park. Long Beach caters to visitors seeking to relax in the picnic areas, comb the beaches or stroll along the trails and boardwalks.

    Radar Hill, just south of Tofino, provides a great view of Tofino Inlet, Meares Island and Gowlland Rocks. Naturalists watch whales from shore or follow the self guided Shorepine Bog Trail to study the moss, plants and interesting bugs found in a bog environment.

    Visitors can drive the Pacific Rim Highway (Highway 4) from Port Alberni to Long Beach, 108 km of paved winding mountain highway. Busses run between Port Alberni and Ucluelet/Tofino, or the more adventurous can hop aboard the MV MV Frances Barkley for the trip down the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound to Ucluelet.

  • West Coast Vancouver Island
    Broken Group Islands
    The Broken Group Islands Unit consists of over 100 islands, islets and rocky outcrops scattered in the centre of Barkley Sound, between Loudoun Channel and Imperial Eagle Channel. This unit totals 10,607 hectares, of which only 1,350 hectares is land. The larger of the forested islands are Effingham, Turret, Turtle, Dudd, Jacques, Nettle and Gibraltar Island.

    The Broken Group is known internationally for awesome kayaking and wilderness camping enjoyed by organized adventurers seeking escape to the remote and desolate islands within the park. Natural features of this tranquil group of islands include lagoons, sandbars, blowholes, arches and secluded anchorages. Ancient native middens, village fortifications, stone fishtraps and archaeological sites stimulate the imagination of visitors to this traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth people.

    Canoe and kayak access to the Broken Group Islands from Bamfield or Ucluelet is not recommended due to the exposed passages. Boaters and ocean paddlers can access the Broken Group Islands via Toquart Bay in northwest Barkley Sound. The unsigned road turnoff is located about 12 km northeast of the junction of Highway 4 and the Tofino-Ucluelet Highway.

    A BC recreation campsite is located at Toquart Bay on the North side of Barkley Sound providing a boat launch for access to the islands. The popular Torquart Bay Recreation Campsite sees a lot of traffic from kayakers heading over to the Broken Islands. There are about 15 oceanside open tent sites, as well as RV areas, a cement boat launch, and lovely south-facing sand beaches. There is a parking fee for those who wish to park at the site but not camp there. From Port Alberni follow the Tofino Highway 4 for about 50 miles (80 kms). Turn left at the sign for Torquart Bay on to the Maggie Lake Forest Service Road and follow it for 15.5 km.

    The MV Frances Barkley will transport paddlers, kayaks and canoes to Sechart, on the fringe of the Broken Group Islands. The passenger and cargo vessel travels between Port Alberni, the Broken Group Islands, Ucluelet and Bamfield during the spring, summer and fall.

  • Pacific Rim, British Columbia
    West Coast Trail
    The West Coast Trail Unit of the park includes the section of coast southeast of Barkley Sound between the villages of Bamfield and Port Renfrew. This 25,640 hectare strip contains the 75 kilometre historic West Coast Trail, originally constructed for the rescue of unfortunate mariners shipwrecked off the treacherous west coast of Vancouver Island.

    This internationally acclaimed hiking trail largely retraces an old telegraph route first established in 1890, and follows a rugged shoreline where approximately 66 ships have met their demise along this stretch of the "Graveyard of the Pacific". The old telegraph line once connected Victoria with Cape Beale near present day Bamfield. Shipwreck survivors followed the rough and arduous trail in either direction, finding shelter in wooden cabins constructed at intervals along the route.

    The land of the West Coast Trail unit is temperate coastal rainforest dominated by old-growth spruce, hemlock and cedar. Some of the tallest and largest trees in Canada grow along the West Coast Trail and in the adjacent Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park. The topography of the region features natural wonders like the Hole-in-the-Wall, a natural sandstone arch carved by relentless wave action over time, the Tsusiat Falls at the mouth of the Tsusiat River, the Nitinat Lakes and Narrows and countless caves, creeks, coves, tidal pools and rocky headlands.

    Recreation is decidedly of the wilderness variety! The merits of hiking the challenging West Coast Trail are known around the world. Of equal stature in the paddling world is the Nitinat Triangle Canoe Route, a gruelling battle against the wilderness, winds and extensive portages. Access to the West Coast Trail unit of the park is via the trailheads at Bamfield and Port Renfrew.

  • The weather in the Pacific Rim area has a profound effect on any planned activities, as precipitation along the west coast of Vancouver Island is amongst the heaviest in the world. Match the season with your desired activity, and come prepared for rain, awe-inspiring winter storms and glorious sunshine! Visit the Park Information Centre for information on all Visitor Services.
  • More Information is available on the Pacific Rim Park page, including information on the rain forest, marine environment, rugged shoreline, the weather, the history and natural heritage of the Pacific Rim, and wildlife in the park (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish species).
  • Golf: The Hollies Executive Golf Course in Port Alberni is surrounded by the Beaufort Range and breathtaking views of Mount Arrowsmith. The 9-hole par 30 public course offers a fully stocked pro-shop, club rentals, snack shop and licensed lounge. Located 2 km past the Visitor Info Centre on Highway 4 entering Port Alberni. Open daily from dawn till dusk, with no tee times required. The Long Beach Golf Course, on the Pacific Rim Highway between Ucluelet and Tofino, is surrounded by the ancient rainforest of the Pacific Rim National Park, one of the most scenic golf courses in BC. The 9-hole championship course is also known to be one of the most challenging courses on Vancouver Island. Golf Vacations on Vancouver Island.

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