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Backpacking the scenic West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island


Participate in one of the best hiking tours in the world on this backpacking expedition along the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.  Enjoy the natural majesty of the West Coast Trail – one step at a time. A hiker’s paradise, the famous West Coast Trail provides the diversity of sandy coastline, scenic cliffs and rugged trails and offers a new challenge with each sunrise. This remarkable route has earned an international reputation and appeals to the adventurous hiker who appreciates beautiful scenery and a physical challenge. The route takes you through old growth forest, across suspension bridges, down streams and rivers and out into the open coast. The trail, which draws hundreds of visitors each year, was originally developed as a rescue trail for shipwreck survivors on the rough Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island.

Your guides will ensure that your enjoyment is equal to the magnificent scenery of this spectacular coastal foot path.  This backpack has almost everything - sweeping sandy beaches, sea caves, rocky headlands, shelves teeming with marine life, and spectacular waterfalls.  Besides the backpacking, the trail offers many opportunities to explore tidal pools in the area.  The bays are full of inter-tidal life. Hiking through the ancient forests is also a popular activity. 

The West Coast Trail forms the southern unit of Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island's wild and incredibly beautiful West Coast and is the quintessential Canadian backpacking adventure. It provides the diversity of old-growth rainforest, sandy beaches, scenic cliffs and rugged trails along a breathtaking coastline and offers a new challenge with each sunrise. This remarkable, 76 km route has earned an international reputation and appeals to the adventurous hiker who appreciates beautiful scenery and a physical challenge.  The West Coast Trail is one of the remaining great adventures of our time.

The infamous route takes you through old growth forest, across suspension bridges, down streams and rivers and out into the open coast. The trail, which draws thousands of visitors each year, was originally developed as a rescue trail for shipwreck survivors on the rough Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island.  Pacific Rim National Park limits the access to the West Coast Trail to 52 hikers per day during the season from May 1st to September 30th of each year.

STARTING AT
$2190.00 CAD
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TRIP DETAILS
DESTINATION
EQUIPMENT/CLOTHING
ACCOMMODATIONS
MEALS & DINING
DATES & PRICING
ITINERARY
TRIP TYPE
Backpacking
SEASON

July to August

DIFFICULTY
Moderate / Challenging
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE
8
GUIDE INFORMATION

Services of two experienced and certified hiking guides are on each trip.

RESTRICTIONS

The West Coast Trail is a spectacular trekking trip but is also considered challenging. Participants are required to be of good physical fitness level and as the group equipment will be shared they should be capable of carrying 12 - 15 kg (26 - 33 lbs) per person above personal equipment.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Requirements: Sleeping bag, 75-80 L backpack, flashlight, pocketknife, first aid kit, towel, headlamp.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Trips originate and end from Victoria, British Columbia.

WEATHER

Weather conditions can be variable ranging from daytime temperatures of 21° C to 24° C (70° F to 75° F). Evenings are cool with temperatures near 10° C (55° F). Extended periods of rain are unusual, but possible, and mornings may be foggy.

The West Coast of Vancouver Island is well known for unpredictable weather. You need to be prepared for all kinds of weather. We've had groups that had practically no rain, others had rain for most of the days, but most have a mixture of both, rain and shine. 

REGION
Vancouver Island & Southern BC Coast
PROVIDED EQUIPMENT

Tent, state-of-the-art lightweight group camping gear, hiker preparation guide, waterproof map.

SUGGESTED CLOTHING

Rain gear, warm fleece or wool jacket, hiking pants, long t-shirt, gaiters, hiking boots, wool socks, long underwear, camp shoes,  bathing suit and towel, hat.  Clothing and equipment list available.

SUGGESTED ITEMS

Camera, daypack, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Accommodations are in basic tent campsites along the route.

MEALS & DINING

MEALS & DINING

Most of the food we pack along is dehydrated, although we do pack along fresh food as well. We choose to use dehydrate food supplies to limit weight and waste. Once prepared our meals are hearty and delicious.  We are happy to accommodate vegetarians.

7 day tour, available July - August
$2190.00 / per person - CAD
2018 departures: July 13, July 29, August 9.
PAYMENT INFORMATION
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.

A 25% deposit is required to hold your reservation.

Balance of payment is due 60 days before trip commencement.
CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS
West Coast Trail: Cancellation up to 61 days prior is a fee of $500 per person which includes the Park Permit Fee. Cancellation 60-0 days is no refund. Ideally, we would like all guests to have trip cancellation insurance. Kayaking tours: Cancellation up to 61 days prior is a fee of $150 per person which includes the Park Permit Fee. Cancellation 60-0 days is no refund.

7 day tour, available July - August

Day 1

Day 0: The West Coast Trail pre-trip meeting takes place at 6:00 PM in Victoria’s Royal Scot Suite Hotel, in the meeting room we have reserved for this event. Here, you will meet with your guides, get to know the rest of your travel mates and receive instructions regarding what lies ahead as well as the distribution of the collective gear and food. Don’t stay up in the bar for too long because it will be a short night and you’ll have a good workout tomorrow, guaranteed!

Day 1: Victoria - Port Renfrew (km 0) - Thrasher Cove (km 6)
Departure time is 7:00 AM. The West Coast Trail Express shuttle van will pick us up at the Royal Scot. Approx. travel time is 2 – 2 ½ hours along a winding and bumpy road, taking us northwest to the small town of Port Renfrew, southern terminus of the West Coast Trail. Prior to the first crossing by boat over to the Gordon River Trailhead, we will attend an orientation session by Parks Canada. Finally, it’s time to shoulder our backpacks. Hike On! We’ll hike to Thrasher  Cove today for a distance of 6 km and pass the highest point of the trail along the way. This relatively short section - all through forest - is difficult and ends with ladders down to the first camp. Operation West Coast Trail has started!
Meals:   lunch  /  dinner

 

Day 2

Thrasher Cove - Camper Bay (km 14)
Today’s hike over 8 km to Camper Bay is a strenuous and demanding trek along the coastline, over driftwood and boulders, around Owen Point, and then crossing small surge channels. The tides will dictate whether we can cover this section along the beach or will hike inland. This part of the trip is very difficult; the rewards are the beautiful sandstone cliffs, caverns and the ocean swell pounding against the rocks for a major part of the day. We then move inland into the rainforest to reach our camp and set in for the night. This day is full of highlights and we’ll find out why the West Coast Trail is considered one of the remaining great adventures of our time!
Meals:  breakfast  /  lunch  /  dinner

Day 3

Camper Bay - Walbran Creek (km 23)
It is 9 km to Walbran Creek, our today’s destination. We’ll experience our first cable car crossing and this section of the trail - like all sections that lead through the forest - can be muddy, very muddy. The Sandstone Creek and Cullite Creek ladders are steep and the longest on the entire West Coast Trail. Next follows a trail section through the bog which is over a boardwalk to protect the forest floor below. We will then cross the Logan Creek suspension bridge, followed by more ladders. It will be a difficult day with mostly inland travel but through absolutely beautiful rainforest. Like Camper Creek, the slow moving waters of the Walbran Creek invite for a refreshing swim – a delight! And with a little luck, the red of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean will only be matched by the crackling campfire tonight.
Meals:  breakfast  /  lunch  /  dinner

Day 4

Walbran Creek - Cribs Creek (km 34)
The hike to Cribs Creek is 11 km and follows the coastline around Vancouver Point, again if the tides are favorable, otherwise we will trek through the rainforest. This area can be muddy but the most difficult part of the West Coast Trail is now behind us! This hiking day will be moderate. On to Bonilla Point where along the way we witness gorgeous ocean scenery and beautiful sea stacks! For many, this section is quintessential West Coast Trail. Often Gray whales and perhaps by chance Orcas can be seen in the distance. Hiking on the shelf is now comfortable and the Carmanah Creek crossing is ahead. Take in the beauty of the resident seabird colony while we pick up our food drop at Chez Monique's. Equipped with fresh supplies, we will continue and visit the Carmanah Lighthouse. Once at camp, we will explore the fascinating tide pools at the cribs. A good part of this day is on the sandy beaches.   
Meals:  breakfast  /  lunch  /  dinner

 

Day 5

Cribs Creek - Tsusiat Falls (km 51)
It’s a big day today! The distance to the Tsusiat Falls is no less than 17 km! Needless to say that this will be the longest part of the trip; however it is a moderate hike. We will make our way along the coastline or through the rainforest to the Cheewhat River. The boardwalked trail to Nitinat Narrows is followed by a boat crossing operated by the local First Nations people. Some of the West Coast Trail’s most spectacular views are around Tsuquadrah Point. The last portion of the day’s hike will be along coastline and if possible, through Hole in the Wall at Tsusiat Point. Tsusiat Falls are nearby and considered by many to be the scenic culmination of the West Coast Trail with an amazing natural pool for swimming. It is a stunning, picture-perfect, world-class setting. This sight alone, to stay here, is worth all the effort!
Meals:  breakfast  /  lunch  /  dinner

Day 6

Tsusiat Falls - Michigan Creek (km 64)
Today’s hike to Michigan Creek over 13 km is a moderate trek featuring ladders back to the trail, through rainforests, and often muddy ground. The last of the cable car crossings is over the Klanawa River. A short beach hike leads to the forested path over the Valencia Bluffs. It was here where the biggest tragedy along this coastline unfolded, leading to the creation of the West Coast Trail as a lifesaving trail for the shipwrecked, later protected as one of the units of Pacific Rim National Park. Depending on the tides, we will descend a ladder down to the beach from Tsucowis Creek and follow the coastline to Michigan Creek’s tide pools. Here, we pitch our tents in the soft Pacific sands for the last time on the West Coast Trail.
Meals:  breakfast  /  lunch  /  dinner

 

Day 7

Michigan Creek - Bamfield (km 76) - Victoria
The hike to Pachena Bay Trailhead (Bamfield) is 12 km long and the easiest section of the entire West Coast Trail. The last section is along a generally good trail. One set of ladders yet to go, at the very end! The Pachena Lighthouse is a good last viewpoint along with a rock dotted with sea lions. Again the Gray whales may be seen near the entrance to Barkley Sound. Our transfer back to Victoria will no doubt be filled with a great sense of achievement mixed with just a bit of exhaustion. The many memories of the West Coast Trail will stay with us for a long, long time and some moments will be unforgettable. Arrival in Victoria approx. 07.00 pm.
Meals:  breakfast  /  lunch