Hiking on the Wild Pacific Trail on Vancouver Island
We experience what is probably one of the most beautiful hiking trails on Canada's West Coast in April this year at the Wild Pacific Trail Lighthouse Loop, a simple version of the Pacific Trial on Vancouver Island. We actually chose this time of year because we wanted to experience one of the infamous storms on the Pacific Rim. Instead, the weather gods give us a stay full of sun and glorious weather. There was no trace of the famous storms on Vancouver Island's West Coast! Well, that was certainly not the last time that we visited this beautiful piece of earth. And so we take advantage of the opportunity to hike the southernmost part of the trail, which stretches - in sections - between Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park. The Wild Pacific Trail is an experience not to be missed on a trip to Vancouver Island. Map
The Lighthouse Loop, a section of the Wild Pacific Trail
It is planned that it will take up the entire length between the fishing village and the national park. At the moment there are some sections, each of which is more beautiful than the other. Since I love lighthouses, we choose the section that starts south of Ucluelet and leads past the Amphitrite Lighthouse through the coastal rainforest and always offers wonderful views of the cliffs, the Broken Islands and the Barkley Sound. This part of the hiking trail is only two and a half kilometers long, for which we take a good hour - some will say a lot. Not enough, we say, because the wonderful views along the way invite you to pause and be amazed, but above all to enjoy. Another advantage of this section of the Wild Pacific Trail is that it is a circular route. It starts and ends at a parking lot where you can easily park your car.
Hike on the Lighthouse Loop Trail
Cozy leads the well-maintained path in a circle through a forest area. Most of the time we walk along the edge of the forest with ever-changing views of cliffs, wild surf and offshore islands. In between, there are small lookouts, sometimes with, sometimes without a bank, from which you can enjoy the wild coast even better. In some places I like it so much that I would like to spend the whole day here.
The Broken Island Group from the Wild Pacific Trail
In the southern part of the hiking trail there are views of the Broken Island Group. Behind it we see the mountains that extend south on the west side of Vancouver Island. This region cannot be reached by road. The only means of transport that get there are seaplanes or chartered boats. Alternatively, you can hike along the coast along the rugged West Coast Trail. However, this demands the utmost from hikers. You are on the road for several days. Climb over stick and stone. Uses shaky cable cars that you operate on your own to cross deep gorges. Spend the night in the wild. An adventure for anyone looking for a wilderness experience.
A hiking trail for connoisseurs
The Wild Pacific Trail is completely different: this hiking trail is a well-developed path that runs along the coast. Sections cross the coastal rainforest. Here the hiker experiences the nature of the West Coast up close - but in a tame way. Another advantage of the Wild Pacific Trail is that it is accessible to everyone at all times. In contrast to the West Coast Trail. If you want to hike this, you have to register. Because on the route through the wilderness only a certain number of hikers are allowed per day. Registration also ensures that those who embark on this adventure will log out after the adventure ends. In this way, the authority keeps an overview that all hikers arrive safely at their destination. Actions like this are not required on the Wild Pacific Trail.
The coastal rainforest on the Wild Pacific Trail
Sections of the Lighthouse Loop run through the coastal rainforest. Here, too, the Wild Pacific Trail offers an easy option to get to know the typical flora of the region. The paths are well maintained and easy to walk. In the Pacific Rim National Park a few kilometers further north there are also paths that lead into the coastal rainforest. However, these are more difficult to master than the Wild Pacific Trail. As you climb and hike across boardwalks through the harsh world of forests, the Wild Pacific Trail path is an easy trail that contains only a few easy climbs. This makes it easy for most hikers to master.
The Wild Pacific Trail offers hiking for slow travelers
Unlike the West Coast Trail, which begins on the other side of the estuary and stretches south on adventurous trails on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the Wild Pacific Trail also allows inexperienced hikers to experience the beautiful nature of the Pacific Rim up close. This path can be mastered without climbing sections, gorges and rock crossings. You should only bring enough time and leisure to enjoy the scenic beauty of this nature intensively. Take it especially in spring and autumn when the Gray whales on the coast passing by, enough time, you can maybe even watch the whales from the coast.
The second section of the Wild Pacific Trail at Ucluelet
The second section of the Wild Pacific Trail starts at the Black Rock Resort's car park and winds its way along the coast for about three kilometers. Again, there are lookout points that offer the best views. However, you have to go back this section again, as this piece is not a circular route, as in the southern section.
What needs to be in the suitcase?
- Pack matching ones walking boots a
- An rain jacket you should have with you. The Pacific Rim has a maritime climate, which means it rains regularly.
- The backpack serves you well on a trip to the west coast of Vancouver Island. There are many hiking trails, and also on a beach hike on Long Beach is it practical.
- In our hiking checklist you will find everything you need for hikes.
- Forget yours Camera Not. The coast at the Pacific Rim is breathtakingly beautiful and offers many photo opportunities.
A hike on the Wild Pacific Trail should definitely be part of every visit to the Pacific Rim, because there is hardly a better place to experience the great nature of this region. It's easy to put in one Road trip through Vancouver Island plan on.
Stormwatching vantage points along the Wild Pacific Trail
The west coast of Vancouver Island is famous for its storms. Even if we didn't experience any of them on our trip, they are notorious. They occur mainly in the period from October to April. Then the biggest waves hit the west coast of the island.
Along the hiking trail there are always places where the bare rock reaches into the water. This is an indication of how high the waves can reach. They tear away any vegetation clinging there. These places are also dangerous for hikers. Waves are faster and stronger than humans. Therefore, one should not go to the bare rocks on the coast. Waves can appear unexpectedly.
A safe vantage point is at Amphitrite Lighthouse. There are also countless vantage points along the Wild Pacific Trail from which to watch the storms.
Guided tours of the Wild Pacific Trail on Vancouver Island
You can also take a free guided tour of the Wild Pacific Trail from March through October. The topics range from natural history to the cultural history of the region. The tours usually last an hour and follow easy paths.
There are no fixed themes for guided tours. These vary from appointment to appointment. You can find the current topics on the Website URL of the Wild Pacific Trail.
Example topics are:
- tide pool and beach exploration
- What is in the peat bog?
- Bears - how do they change their behavior
- Salmon Trails - Insight into forest, fish and ecosystems
Guest speakers also give talks on guided tours of the Wild Pacific Trail.
Questions and Answers about the Wild Pacific Trail on Vancouver Island near Ucluelet:
What is the best time of year to hike the Wild Pacific Trail?
The best time to hike the Wild Pacific Trail is during the summer months, when the weather is at its best and the wildflowers are in bloom.
How long is the Wild Pacific Trail?
The Wild Pacific Trail is a total of 10 km long and is divided into several sections, each offering different scenic highlights.
Can I spot wildlife on the Wild Pacific Trail?
Yes, if you enjoy spotting wildlife, you won't be disappointed on the Wild Pacific Trail. Seals, otters, bald eagles and even whales can be spotted in the area.
Do I need to be physically fit to hike the Wild Pacific Trail?
The Wild Pacific Trail is suitable for all fitness levels, but it's important to wear appropriate walking shoes and clothing, and bring plenty of water and snacks. A backpack does a good job.
Are there guided hikes on the Wild Pacific Trail?
Yes, the community of Ucluelet, which manages the Wild Pacific Trail, also offers guided hikes and other activities. A guided tour can be a great way to learn more about the region and visit the best places.
Parking at the airport
How to get there
Arrival by plane, bus or train*. The nearest airport is in Tofino. International flights land in Vancouver. From there you can then take a rental car or a Caravan drive to Tofino. Then you should plan 2-3 days for the journey.
Car * you can rent at the airport in Vancouver. You should know that landslides occur on the Pacific Rim road after long rains.
Do you like to travel on The Wild Pacific Trail in an RV?
- Do you want to rent a motorhome? Then you will find information and a selection in these booking options.
- Check our packing list for campers to see whether you have packed everything for your motorhome tour.
- There is Ucluelet Campground, 260 Seaplane Base Rd, Ucluelet, BC V0R 3A0, Canada. However, there are still campsites in the region.
- These books are also helpful:
Other Slow Travel Tips here.
Do you also know:
- The most beautiful lighthouses on the Lighthouse Route
- Hiking at Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, on the Wild Pacific Trail
- Fresh fish for the Aquarium of Ucluelet
- Which rain jacket is the best?
- Gifts for hikers
- Why not grill game? - You need to know that
Source: On-site research supported by Tourism British Columbia and Tourism Tofino. However, our opinion remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline