The extensive network of trails in the Pacific Rim National Park is provided for hikers only – no bikes or horses are permitted, and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the park’s beaches or trails.
The hiking trails are designed to expose visitors to the miles of quiet sandy shoreline and to the truly wonderful forests of the region – whilst preventing any damage to the fragile environment.
Visitors must, therefore, remain on the well-maintained trails in order that the wonders of the Pacific Rim remain unharmed for future generations to enjoy.
Long Beach Unit Trails
There are nine short walking trails; two are wheelchair accessible. Most feature interpretive signs or brochures explaining the cultural and natural heritage en route. In addition to park trails, approximately 20km of sandy beaches provide enjoyable hiking.
An 880m boardwalk leading from a parking lot on Highway 4 to the north end of Long Beach. Schooner Cove is around the headland, immediately to the southwest. Look for the magnificent old-growth Sitka Spruce forest near the beach.
Spruce Fringe Trail
A boardwalk trail with numerous wooden staircases leading from a parking lot on Highway 4, at the northern end of Combers Beach. Interpretive signs tell the story as visitors wind through the fringe of Sitka Spruce that runs up the west coast shoreline of Vancouver Island.
Rain Forest Trails
Two loop trails located either side of Highway 4, four kilometres northwest of Wickaninnish Road. Each trail is under 30 minutes duration and leads hikers through some of the Pacific Rim’s best old-growth rain forest of 800 year old Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock and Amabilis Fir.
South Beach Trail
The Wickaninnish Centre is the trailhead for this 700 metre trail and boardwalk that leads down to South Beach. The trail winds through the Sitka Spruce fringe with several branches leading off to secluded coves and beaches.
Shorepine Bog Trail
Located off Wickaninnish Road just west of the Florencia Bay road, this short boardwalk trail leads the visitor through poorly drained, moss-covered bogs. Interpretive brochures and numbered stops describe the Yellow Cedar, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar trees and the centuries old stunted Shorepine that survive the acidic conditions in the wettest region of the Pacific Rim.
The 2.5 kilometre trail crosses Quisitis Point, connecting Long Beach with Wreck Beach in Florencia Bay. Hikers can still view the remnants of this old land route between Tofino and Ucluelet. On the Long Beach end the trail is accessed via a fork off the South Beach Trail. The parking lot at Florencia Bay is the eastern trailhead for the Wickaninnish Trail.
Gold Mine Trail
The 2 kilometre Gold Mine Trail is accessed from a parking lot off Highway 4, 1 km northwest of the Park Information Centre. The trail leads down to Wreck Beach, following Lost Shoe Creek, the site of a small placer mining operation at the turn of the century. The rusting remnants of these gold mining days, including an old dredger, still remain today.
This trail to the beach is accessed from a parking lot off Highway 4, 2 km south of the Ucluelet/Tofino Junction. Also part of the original land route between Ucluelet and Tofino, the trail ends with a steep decline to the beach at the southern end of Florencia Bay. A Boardwalk, stairs and handrails are provided to assist hikers on the trail.
Halfmoon Bay Trail
The first section of Halfmoon Bay Trail is the same as Willowbrae Trail. A fork to the left takes you down a steep, winding staircase to Halfmoon Bay, a small secluded cove to the south of Florencia Bay.
Broken Group Islands Unit
No specifically maintained walking or hiking trails exist on any of the islands in the Broken Group. Instead, visitors should enjoy these islands for the wonderful kayaking, wilderness camping and adventure opportunities they provide.
West Coast Trail Unit Trails
The Cape Beale Headlands near Bamfield offer several hikes to exposed crescent beaches and to historic Cape Beale Lighthouse. The trails are rugged and very muddy, as access throughout the headlands is along a lowland, swampy drainage region, adjacent to Kichha Lake. Gumboots are the recommended footwear. Plan for a rigorous, full-day hike! All visitors to this area of Pacific Rim National Park must register with park officials.
Access to the Headlands is from Imperial Eagle road in southeast Bamfield. Parking is provided by the park, about 400m from the end of the road. Please avoid congestion near private driveways. Access to the actual trailhead, from the end of the road, is well marked. Use the forest trail if high tide prevents walking along the mud-flat shoreline.
From the trailhead at the end of Bamfield Inlet, on Imperial Eagle Drive, there is a 1.5km walk to the junction, which takes about forty minutes. The Keeha Beach Trail continues straight on for 2km. This stretch generally takes a full hour. At the southeast corner of Kichha Lake there is a floating bridge crossing, then the trail rises over a steep and difficult hill at the back of the beach.
From the junction, the Tapaltos Bay Trail swings westward and crosses the Kichha Lake slough over a fallen log. The trail to Tapaltos Beach is approximately 2km and takes nearly one hour. At the southwest end of Tapaltos Beach it is possible to regain the original telegraph trail. Cape Beale Lighthouse is on an island, about 3 km away from Tapaltos Beach. Allow 2 hours for hiking this stretch. The trail passes through a swampy bog then rises over a steep, rocky hill with drier vegetation and dwarfed trees. At the end of the trail, the lighthouse can be reached by crossing the sandflats at tides lower than 1.8m. Allow four hours each way with plenty of rest stops. It is approximately 12km for the round trip.
The West Coast Trail is the mother of all hikes on Vancouver Island, attracting adventurous hikers from around the world. Please remember to leave only footprints and take only memories. Have a safe and enjoyable adventure!
The Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet skirts the rugged cliffs and shoreline of the westcoast of Vancouver Island. Overlooking Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands to the east and the open Pacific Ocean to the south and west, it offers spectacular shoreline panoramas and seaward vistas through ancient cedar and spruce-framed viewing platforms constructed on the best headlands along the route.
The first segment of the trail is a 30-45 minute loop off Peninsula Road, using the adjoining He-Tin-Kis Park boardwalk, and passing Amphitrite Point Lighthouse. The trailhead for the main part of the trail is at Terrace Beach, with the trail hugging the coastline all the way to Halfmoon Bay in Pacific Rim National Park.
Carefully hewn by hand through old-growth thickets of twisted trunks, limbs and roots, the trail is a natural treasure-house of forest treats, including untouched examples of gigantic nurse-logs, raised root systems, mosses, fungi, lichens and ferns – offering the photographer unique opportunities to capture close-up images of nature imitating art.
At all times the views along the ever-changing outer coast afforded by this route are breathtaking – sunset and sunrise are a must-see. Storm watching is a natural on this trail, with many breathtaking views 20-30 metres above surge channels and outer reefs constantly pounded by ocean swells. Hikers get an up-close-and-personal look at the ocean’s fury, while viewing from the protection of the trail itself. During the annual gray whale migration (late Feb-late May), whales can be spotted not more than 5 km offshore, and sea lions, seals, mink and otter inhabit these coastal waters.
Nearby Regions & Towns:
- Pacific Rim (West Coast)
- Pacific Rim Highway 4
- Barkley Sound
- Broken Group Islands
- Port Renfrew
- Port Alberni
Parks Canada – British Columbia