Considered one of the top ten hikes in the world, the West Coast Trail is truly Canada’s most magnificent backpacking experience. Established on…
Considered one of the top ten hikes in the world, the West Coast Trail is truly Canada’s most magnificent backpacking experience. Established on the ancient paths and paddling routes used for trade and travel by First Nations, this trek is a part of our history and geography.
This trail offers 75 kilometres of rugged cliffs, majestic seas, old growth rainforests, sandy beaches, abandoned settlements, ocean wildlife and spectacular waterfalls. Experience all of this while hiking and camping with fantastic people and guides who are knowledgeable, inspiring and attentive. Truly Canadian. Truly memorable.
The trip, while challenging, is done over 7 days to allow time to adjust to the demands of the trail and to fully appreciate and explore the beauty.
Arrive in VictoriaMeet in Victoria, at the Inn at Laurel Point for final packing and a team meet and greet. Accommodation for this night is your own responsibility.
Park Orientation and Trip BriefingWe meet at the bus terminal in downtown Victoria with all of our gear. The bus leaves from Victoria at 6:45am, then we will take the WCT shuttle bus to Bamfield at the north end of the trail. After lunch in Bamfield, we shuttle to the West Coast Trail park office at Pachena Bay where there is a mandatory park orientation. We will set up camp at the Pachena Bay campground. This is a beautiful campground with beach access for our first night camping, and is an opportunity to get introduced to the equipment (tents and stoves) and the LOLA camping system.
Panchea Bay to Darling River (14km)We will begin our trek right from the campsite. This section of the trail winds mostly through the rainforest and is very well groomed relative to the rest of the route. This is one of the easiest sections of the hike and a nice warm-up with a heavy pack. Because of this, we will try to cover a good distance, from 14 to 17kms. We will camp at either Darling River or Tsocowis Creek, depending on the weather and speed of the group.
Darling River to Tsusiat Falls (12km)Today we travel from our campsite to Trestle Creek, a destination high on the rainforest trail, with spectacular views (if weather permits) overlooking the site of the SS Valencia wreck. In 1906 the SS Valencia went aground here in a violent storm. The battering waves eventually broke the ship apart and 126 passengers and crew lost their lives. This tragic event was the catalyst for the creation of the Life Saving Trail, which would later become the West Coast Trail. From Trestle Creek we can hike along the beach if tides allow where we’ll encounter our first cable car crossing over the Klanawa River. We will camp at the stunning Tsusiat Falls that night, having hiked a distance of between 8 – 12kms.
Tsusiat Falls to Cribs Creek (12km)We will hike a total of 12 km on day 3, crossing Nitinat Narrows by small ferry, travelling along a beautiful beach and camping at Cribs Creek.
Cribs Creek to Walbran Creek (11km)This next section can be hiked by trail or, if the tides are right, by beach. There are some fabulous views high up on the trail as well as some great beach walking. Not to be missed is a visit to Chez Monique, a little beachside restaurant and store where we can stock up on candy bars and treats. We will hike on the beach from Carmanah Creek to Bonilla Point, where there is a refreshing waterfall nearby. From here we’ll hike the last remaining 5km to our campsite at Walbran Creek, the site of an excellent swimming hole.
Walbran Creek to Camper Bay (9km)This day marks the beginning of the most difficult hiking. Thankfully, our packs will be lighter as we will have eaten much of our food. The trail for the rest of the hike is characterized by mud, ladders, bridges, board walk and sections of trail that seem to go up and down endlessly! We will travel a distance of 9kms and camp at Camper Bay.
Camper Bay to Thrasher Cove (8km)From Camper Bay, we will travel 8km to Thrasher Cove. This is considered the most difficult day of hiking. It features a lot of elevation changes and, if we choose to take the beach route, some difficult (but spectacular) beach walking with access to sea caves. If the tides are right, we will attempt the beach route. This will be our last night on the trail, and we will camp at Thrasher Cove.
Thrasher Cove to Gordon River (5km)This is our last day on the trail. We will hike the final 5kms to the Gordon River where we will get a ferry over to the other side and officially end our hike. We will be picked up by the West Coast Trail Express shuttle bus in the late afternoon (5:45pm) and will arrive back in Victoria by 7:45pm. That night we will have a final team dinner and celebration at a restaurant in the Victoria Harbour.
- Transportation to and from the trail
- All meals on the trail: breakfasts, lunches, dinners
- Use of camp gear (stove, tents, etc.)
- An experienced WAFA certified guide
- Comprehensive pre-trip support including a fitness plan and gear list
- Travel to/from Victoria
- Travel insurance
The temperatures in July and August on the West Coast Trail range between 13-22°C, with an average of 6 days of rain per month. Prepare for a wet rainforest environment as well as sandy and sunny beaches. Detailed information will be provided upon joining this trip.
The West Coast Trail is a challenging route with more than 70 ladders and 130 bridges to cross on the journey. Spreading the route over 7 days makes it more manageable, but you will still need to be physically strong to carry your loaded pack over the terrain. Detailed information and a personalized fitness plan will be provided upon joining this trip.
We will stay in LOLA provided tents at designated West Coast Trail campsites for the duration of the trip. More information will be provided upon joining the trip.