• Rick McCharles

Trail Report: West Coast Trail

besthike.com is a website dedicated to recording the best hikes, trails, and tramps in the world. They're an excellent resource for hikers planning trips or going to unfamiliar locations, giving all the details you need for a successful hike. We especially love their top 10 lists, they're a great starting point for exciting hikes all over the world! -Victoria

AT A GLANCE

  • 75 km (47 mi), 5-7 days traditional route

  • 3-5 day routes possible via Nitinat

  • southwestern edge of Vancouver Island

  • Pacific Rim National Park

  • open May 1 – September 16

  • NO permit required September 16-30 (recommended)

  • NO permit required May 1 – June 14 (risky)

  • extremely rugged, requires a high level of fitness

  • 6,000+ backpackers / year

  • permits limited and in high demand — WCT Trail reservations

  • … most expensive hiking permit in Canada

WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE

  • #1 on our top 10 hikes in the world

  • it’s a near perfect hiking experience in pristine Canadian wilderness

  • very careful Trail management

  • on no other trek have we taken as many photos

  • mystic dawns and mind-blowing sunsets

  • pretty beaches, cool caves, hidden pocket coves, weird cliffs and coastal geology

  • WCT is in a well protected National Park, but access is easy from Victoria or Vancouver

  • it’s challenging — though 99% of those who start (somehow) finish

  • evacuation in case of disaster is efficient

  • thrilling boulder and log walking between Thrasher & Owen Point

  • scrambling up slippery Sandstone Creek

  • playing at Hole in the Wall

  • impossibly situated, gorgeous Tsusiat Falls

  • walking impressive old growth forest

  • share the trip with whales, sea lions, mink. Maybe bear and cougar. Or even wolves!

  • ship wrecks and other historical artifacts

  • cable cars and ladders can be “fun”

  • campfires below the tide line

  • no biting insects

  • excellent hiking guidebooks available

  • optional side-trip up to see the Canada’s tallest tree, the Carmanah Giant, at 95.836 m (314 ft)

  • fun (optional) boat trips connecting the Bamfield trailhead

CONSIDERATIONS

  • quota system limits the number of people