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Photo Copyright 1999-2006 Sylvia Daniels & Christiane Saake  West Coast Trail Photo Journal

West Coast Trail Photo Credit Christiane Saake & Sylvia Daniels

All information reprinted from Parks Canada materials with permission


When either going to, and/or coming from the West Coast Trail, why not make a pit stop at Victoria's only waterfront B&B within walking distance to a castle, a historic Fort and the first lighthouse (still in operation!) on Canada's west coast?  Victoria Bed and Breakfast - Birds of a Feather B&B

The exposed open coast of the Pacific Coast Mountains make up the spectacular surroundings of Pacific Rim. This unique park is composed of three parts - Long Beach, the Broken Group of Islands and, the West Coast Trail. Features include sand beaches, an island archipelago, old-growth coastal temperate rainforest, and significant archaeological sites. Extensive interpretive programs are available throughout the summer for exploration of this amazing marine and forest environment.




Damage cleared, West Coast Trail opens to hikers
BY JUDITH LAVOIE Times Colonist staff
May 17, 2007

The scenic West Coast Trail will reopen to hikers tomorrow, after being badly damaged in December's windstorms.
More than 2,000 trees blew over the famed 75-kilometre hiking trail, and winds toppled two cable cars and a suspension bridge.
Parks Canada had hoped to open the trail May 1, its annual opening day, but had to delay it because the work had not been completed. "Most of the structural work is now in place, but the biggest hang-up has been the Logan Creek suspension bridge," said Parks Canada community relations manager Louanne Ralston.
The difficulty has been in bringing in equipment to rebuild the towers and engineers to check the re-stringing of the bridge, she said, adding the bridge will be completed before the first hiker hits the trail.
Work on the Klanawa cable car will not be completed, but Parks Canada will temporarily provide ferry service.
"It's only a short distance - about 20 feet - but it's very deep and you can't wade across," Ralston said.
All the trees are now cleared from the trail - in most cases, they've been left in place with a hole cut through the middle. In some areas, hikers will have to look for flagging tape, something that will be covered in trail-head orientations, Ralston said.
Wardens hiked the trail to make sure it's safe, but it has changed significantly. As clearing started, even people who had hiked the trail for 20 years lost their way, she said. "There's definitely been a change in the landscape, but people have to remember it's a natural phenomenon and all part of Mother Nature's grand scheme."
The good news is that some views are better, there's more sunshine and the rapidly depleting supply of nurse logs has been replenished.
A few hikers turned up during the last two weeks, not realizing the trail was closed, and bookings are now starting to come in, she said. The grand-opening ceremony will be held in July, when all the infrastructure is in place, Ralston said. "The First Nations are going to participate in a healing of the trail ceremony."

Parks Canada will also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the trail, established in 1907 as the Dominion Life Saver Trail. The trail was used to help rescue shipwrecked sailors whose ships sank off the rugged coastline.


trail statistics

Length 75 km
Elev. Change minimal, mostly at sea level
Time Required 5-7 days
Difficulty Moderate  - Difficult
Map Provided by the Park with trail permit


most popular campsites

Michigan Creek
Tsusiat Falls
Camper Cove
most infamous section
over 200 feet of ladders on both sides of Cullite Creek
from the bookstore

Blisters and Bliss - A Trekker's Guide to the WCT
Hiking on the Edge


a partial listing of shipwrecks
Nov. 1860 "John Marshall"
no loss of life
July 1879 "Becherdass-Ambridass"
no loss of life
Nov. 1886 "Charles B. Kinney"
no survivors
March 1888 "Woodside"
no loss of life
Nov. 1891 "Sarah"
2 perish
Jan. 1893 "Michigan"
no loss of life
Jan. 1896 "Janet Cowan"
7 perish, 20 survive
Dec. 1897 "Vesta"
no loss of life
Oct. 1899 "Uncle John"
no loss of life
Jan. 1906 "Valencia"
117 perish
Jan. 1909 "Soquel"
2 perish
Jan. 1923 "Alaskan"
no survivors
Jan. 1925 "Raita"
no loss of life
April 1923 "Robert Lewers"
no loss of life
Feb. 1940 "Varsity"
4 perish, 3 survive
April 1943 "Uzbekistan"
no loss of life


guided option

Parks Canada warns all hikers that the trail is strenuous and difficult and beginner or novice hikers should not attempt it.

If you are unsure about your abilities, consider joining a guided trip.  Contact Boreas Backcountry Adventures for info on their guided WCT treks.


The third unit of the Pacific Rim National Park, the West Coast Trail, 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 (46 mile) historic West Coast Trail constructed for the rescue of shipwrecked mariners. 
This 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 topography ranges from sandy beaches to rocky headlands and wide sandstone ledges. Caves, arches, tidal pools and waterfalls add variety to the shoreline. 

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 are known to be on or in the vicinity of the West Coast Trail. 

There is an optional reservation system in place to hike the West Coast Trail and a mandatory Trail use permit is required. 

The West Coast Trail Information Centers are open daily, from 9am to 5pm during this period. It is highly recommended you read this before you plan an excursion:



West Coast Trail Reservation System in Pacific Rim

Before calling:

  • Read the WCT guest information mail out available from the Park.
  • You need to know the regional layout of southern Vancouver Island to plan how to get to your starting location at one of the trailheads (Bamfield or Port Renfrew).
  • Your choice of starting dates and place must be determined in advance. Take the time to research the hike by reading one of the following West Coast Trail guidebooks:
  • The West Coast Trail & Nitinat Lakes, Sierra Club, Victoria
    Blisters & Bliss, D. Foster & W. Aitken
    Pacific Rim Explorer, Bruce Obee. Whitecap Books

  • Prospective hikers must understand that hiking the West Coast Trail is not without personal risk: it is difficult and physically challenging. Accidents and injuries are common. This trail is for experienced hikers in good physical condition who are prepared to have a wilderness experience. The trail is not a training or practice area for novices.
  • Maximum group size is ten.

Making a reservation:

  • Please note that  there is now a 90 day booking window. This means you can only book 90 days ahead of the day you are calling.
  • The Reservation Fee is per person and is non-refundable. You can make reservations 7 days a week through the DISCOVER BC reservation service between 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM (PST/PDT).
  • Greater Vancouver: 663-6000
    Within Canada & USA: 1-800-663-6000
    Outside Canada & USA: (250) 387-1642

When you call:

  • Have your credit card ready (Visa or MasterCard only)
  • Have the following information ready: Mailing Address of your group leader
    Number of people in your group (Maximum = 10)
    Date you plan to start your hike (and 2 alternative dates)
    Location you plan to start from (Pachena Bay or Gordon River Trailheads)

The non-refundable reservation fee gives each hiker:

  • a guaranteed start date for their hike
  • a weather proof map of the trail and
  • a hike preparation guide.

Reservations are available only for the current calendar year and can only be changed if spaces are available. Reservations are optional but recommended.

To maintain the ecological integrity of the area, only 60 hikers are allowed to start daily - 26 at Gordon River trailhead and 26 at Pachena Bay trailhead and 8 at Nitinat Lake.

Trail User Fee:

Hikers will contribute directly to protecting and managing the West Coast Trail through a Mandatory Trail User Fee. This fee is payable at the Trailheads only, on the day the hike commences, and is in addition to the reservation fee.

  • Visa, MasterCard and cash are accepted
  • Fees do not include the privately-operated ferries at Port Renfrew and Nitinat Narrows.

Peak Season:

May 1 to September 30

We would appreciate your comments about the West Coast Trail and any suggestions you may have for improving the experience for all hikers.

Contact Numbers for more Information

Pachena Bay Information / Registration Centre

Phone/Fax: (250) 728-3234

Open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., May 1 to Oct. 5

Gordon River Information / Registration Centre

Phone: (250) 647-5434

Fax: (250) 647-0016

Open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., May 1 to Oct. 5

Park Administration Office

2185 Ocean Terrace Road

P.O. Box 280, Ucluelet, BC V0R 3A0

Phone: (250) 726-4212

Internet: pacriminfo@pch.gc.ca

Long Beach Information Centre

Phone: (250) 726-4212 (June - September)




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Oceanside accommodations for trail hikers



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