Imbued with an otherworldly beauty, the lush interior and bare beaches of Vancouver Island are best explored on foot. Devoid of motorized traffic, cyclers, horseback riders and unleashed dogs, Pacific Rim National Park offers a surreal experience for hikers. Follow the ocean, scramble over boulders, wade through rivers and pull yourself across cable cars on these ten incredible hiking trails.

Note: Dogs must remain on leash to avoid disrupting local wildlife, habitats and other visitors.  Read more here: pc.gc.ca

 

1. West Coast Trail

photoAnselm Hook Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 75 km
Time: 6 to 8 days
Elevation Gain: approx. 200 m

This epic multi-day hike passes through historic First Nations paddling and transportation routes. A challenging trail meant for advanced hikers with backcountry experience, the WCT travels through temperate rainforest, up and down ladders and across rivers in self-propelled cable cars. A limited number of overnight hikers are allowed on the trail each summer. Reservations must be made online in advance through the Parks Canada Reservation System.

How do I get to the trailhead? pc.gc.ca

Bloggers who have lived the adventure:

brookewillson.com

seehertravel.com

 

2. Halfmoon Bay Trail,

Long Beach Unit

 photoGerry Thomasen Flickr cc by 2.0

Length:  1 km roundtrip
Time: 30 minutes

Branching off the 1.3-km Willowbrae Trail, this trail continues to Halfmoon Bay through an old-growth cedar-hemlock forest. Climb down wooden steps and find yourself on a crescent-moon-shaped beach. Nearby craggy rocks inspire further adventure.

How do I get to the trailhead? tofinohiking.com

 

3. Nuu-chah-nulth Trail,

Long Beach Unit

 photoRoy Luck Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 5 km roundtrip
Time: 1 - 2 hours
Elevation Gain: approx. 50 m

Previously known as the Wickaninnish Trail, this historical path was used by the Nuu-chah-nulth to connect Florencia Bay to Long Beach. As you stroll the wooden boardwalk, imagine what this area would’ve been like without paved roads or the sound of traffic. When you reach the beach, watch surfers riding white-capped waves in the ocean.

How do I get to the trailhead? tofinohiatus.com

 

4. South Beach Trail,

Long Beach Unit

 photoColin Knowles Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length:  0.8 km
Time:  30 minutes

Although this trek is short, you’ll want to stay awhile. Here, you'll find access to some of the best wave-watching on the West Coast. Strong currents and lofty waves crash onto this pebble beach, making surfing and swimming extremely hazardous. Even watching could end up a wet—or dangerous—activity.

How do I get to the trailhead? tofinotime.com

 

5. Rainforest Trail,

Long Beach Unit

 phototom hartley Flickr cc by nd 2.0

Length: 2 x 1 km loops
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: approx. 700 stairs

Trails A & B will take you into thick rainforest. Overhead, towering western red cedar and western hemlocks provide green-tinted shade. Birds, streams and massive ferns all flourish around you. Breathe in deep.

How do I get to the trailhead? gotofino.com

 

6. Shorepine Bog Trail,

Long Beach Unit

 photoAaron Carlson Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 0.8 km loop
Time: 20 minutes

This wheelchair-accessible trail allows hikers of all levels to experience a unique ecosystem within the coastal rainforest. Flat boardwalk passes mossy trees and stunted shorepine. Interpretive brochures available at the trailhead explain the vegetation in the bog.

How do I get to the trailhead? tofinotime.com

 

7. Schooner Cove Trail,

Long Beach Unit

 photoKristina D.C. Hoeppner Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 2 km roundtrip
Time: 1 hour

Descend through cedar-hemlock forest into Stika spruce as you follow this trail to the beach. Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations reside in a small village named Esowista nearby.

How do I get to the trailhead? pc.gc.ca

Bloggers who have lived the adventure:

globeguide.ca

 

8. Broken Group Islands

photoRoy Luck Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 0.5 km
Time: Varies

Take a guided kayak trip around the Broken Group Islands, which are accessible by boat only. Unmaintained trails with the added challenge of bare roots, mud and steep slopes await eager hikers.

How do I get to the trailhead? Book a boat ride here: pc.gc.ca

 

9. Cape Beale Lighthouse Trail,

Cape Beale Headlands

 photoDale Simonson Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 13 km roundtrip
Time: 4 - 6 hours (depending on the weather)

Take heed of the tide when trekking to the Cape Beale Lighthouse. The original structure was Vancouver Island’s first lighthouse, built in 1874. Starting from the community of Bamfield, this trail passes beaches and boggy sections. It can be difficult to follow.

How do I get to the trailhead? millslanding.com

Bloggers who have lived the adventure:

slickandtwistedtrails.com

 

10. Keeha Beach Trail,

Cape Beale Headlands

 photoGerry Thomasen Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 7 km roundtrip
Time: 2 - 3 hours

Rocky headlands, large sand dunes and freshwater mark this crowd-free trail. It’s a short hike but requires substantial time, so plan ahead with camping gear or leave ample time for a return trip. Explore nearby tidal pools and sea arches on the beach.

How do I get to the trailhead? pc.gc.ca 

 

 

Have you hiked in Pacific Rim National Park?

Which trail is your favourite?

Comment below!

 

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