The range of outdoor adventure to be found on Vancouver Island in British Columbia attracts explorers from around the world. While many of the recreational activities in BC can be enjoyed on your own, or in private groups, many are best enjoyed under the care and guidance of experienced tour operators. Casual visitors to British Columbia are seldom able to venture into the backroads and experience the real wilderness – that’s where 4×4 offroad All Terrain Vehicle tour operators play a valuable role, offering full-day or half-day ATV Quad trips.

ATV Quads offroading on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
ATV Quads offroading on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Don’t be deceived by the cozy but thin veneer of civilization that has been thrown up around the wilderness. Those who do not respect the neighbouring wilds often face uncompromising consequences. With proper preparation and a confident spirit you can negotiate your way in and around the landscape, emerging with untarnishable memories of your encounter with the natural world. Fortunately, most travellers don’t have to resort to extremes in order to get an inside look at these fantastic features.

Pacific Rim
On the west coast of Vancouver Island, exciting backroad adventures are offered out of Tofino and Ucluelet in the comfort and safety of 4 x 4 vehicles. Experience breathtaking panoramic views of the rugged west coast with an offroad trip up Mt. Ozzard, from where the view stretches from Barkley Sound and the Broken Islands Group, across Long Beach and beyond that past Tofino to Clayoquot Sound. After leaving Mt. Ozzard, take a short walk along the beautiful nature Trails at Kennedy Lake and view the huge old-growth cedar trees.

Offroading along the shoreline of Barkley Sound east of Ucluelet is a great wildlife experience. Eagles gather to feed on herring spawn, waterfowl gather along the shores to rest during their spring migration. In late summer, bears linger near the salmon bearing Thornton Creek.

The gravel road hugs Tofino Inlet providing breathtaking views of Clayoquot Sound. Watch for bears along the shoreline, and birds and waterfowl along the beaches and mudflats of the estuaries feeding the sound. After leaving the Inlet the road climbs high into the mountains, with Tofino Creek as a companion.

Huge rock formations evidence a landscape shaped by the girth of glacial ice that until quite recently covered the entire landmass. So strong was the force exerted by this miles-thick crush that, as it retreated, it cast a ragged impression in the bedrock.

Central Island
Explore the beautiful and challenging off-roads of South and Central Vancouver Island. From weekend adventures, to challenging 6-day safaris, weekend 4×4 schools, and corporate weekend challenges.
Fun-filled and intense weekends are for all comers, designed for anyone wishing to learn safe operation of 4×4 vehicles in the wilderness. Go offroad in the wilderness areas surrounding Shawnigan Lake and north to Cowichan Lake.

The weekend 4×4 schools include qualified instruction on safety, winching, vehicle recovery and the philosophy of treading lightly in the wilderness.

New Regulations for Off-roaders
British Columbia announced new regulations for offroad vehicles in 2011, including safety and environmental regulations, and requirements regarding licensing and registration.

Only a licence will be required for crossing highways at designated areas, rather than the operations permit previously required. The designated crossings will help connect trails across the province. Off-road vehicle users are also required to have a one-time registration permit.

The changes will apply to all-terrain vehicles, quads, off-highway motorcycles and utility vehicles, as well as snowmobiles. By fall 2012, all of BC’s new requirements should be in effect, including required helmet use, spark arrestors to avoid forest fires, and new mufflers to control noise.

Responsible off-road riders welcome the new regulations in BC, particularly the registration and display of plates, as it may help to identify off-road users who damage the environment. A portion of the registration and licensing fees will go back to the associations to build trails.

The new policy regulations were implemented by ICBC in consultation with the Quad Riders Association of B.C. and the Private Forest Landowners Association.