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Duration
8 days
Activities
  • 7 day backpacking
Accommodation
  • 6 nights camping
  • 1 night hotel
Meals
  • 6 Dinners
  • 6 Lunches
  • 7 Breakfasts

Price

$1599USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

Trip Code: NCT

Overview

Trip highlights


  • Native culture & abandoned settlements, both inland and on the coast
  • Abundant birds and wildlife including whales, sea lions & eagles
  • Sunsets at sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, and the Pacific Ocean
  • Temperate rainforest with giant trees, bogs & waterfalls

The North Coast Trail is Vancouver Island’s newest world-class hiking trail. A 43km/27mi extension to the established Cape Scott Trail, this hike will take you through lush rainforest where towering Sitka Spruce surround you and along windswept beaches where the ocean waves turn pebbled beaches to sand. You’ll be guided through this beautiful landscape with all you need in your pack as you re-connect with the natural world and challenge yourself, on this true backcountry trek. Those with a love of wildlife won’t be disappointed and should have their cameras within easy reach. Tiny sea life in tidal pools, pods of orca whales in the vast ocean, the birds above and on shore, black bears and elusive wolves are all part of this unique and unspoiled wilderness. Not that people haven’t tried to make their home here over the course of history. Cape Sutil is the location of the First Nations village of Nahwitti. It was abandoned in 1851 after repeated attacks by the British Navy and now, only remnants remain. In the area of Hansen Lagoon the land is reclaiming the dykes, buildings and equipment of a Danish settlement from the turn of the 20th century. The difficult and isolated location proved too much for the settlers. They decided to move on after only 10 years.

Your time on the North Coast Trail will be a journey like no other. A respite from our electronic world where your schedule is set by ocean tides and the waves lull you to sleep at end of the day.

Activities:
Grading:
6

Moderate to Challenging

More info about grading system


Itinerary

You will be picked up this morning at your accommodation in Courtenay and transferred to the Island Base. There you'll meet the other members of the group and do a thorough pack and equipment check before leaving on our adventure. We'll journey by private vehicle "up Island" towards Port Hardy for approximately four hours, stopping for lunch along the way. A scenic ride by water taxi to Cape Sutil then brings us to our first campsite. Cape Sutil is the former site of the First Nations village of Nahwitti and was an example of one of the few ‘fortified’ villages along the coast. Arriving at Cape Sutil does bypass the first inland section of the trail but don't worry, you aren't missing any views and only some very boggy terrain. Our goal is to arrive before dinner and to turn in early to prepare for tomorrow's first big hiking day. Overnight Camp

Meals:  D

Your day starts with a nutritious breakfast that will provide energy as we hike from small coves up to rocky headlands and back down to pebble beaches, making our way towards the spectacular Shuttleworth Bight. We will continuously be alternating between inland trail sections with stunning views, bogs with boardwalks and rope-scrambling and beautiful pocket beaches carved out by the Pacific's constant pounding. Our water source at camp tonight is labelled as Irony Creek. The highlight tonight will be the sweeping crescent beach named Shuttleworth Bight as the sun sets at about 9 pm. We may hear or even see the elusive coastal wolves that roam this remote parkland if we are lucky. Distance approximately 7.5km/4.7mi Overnight Camp

Meals:  B,L,D

The sound of the ocean will accompany us today as the route is predominantly coastal and relatively flat. Your guide will be double-checking the tides' timing as the path is along beaches of sand, gravel, and cobble that can be impassable when the water is high. Depending on tides, you may need to slow down for a safe route or discover the wonders of tide pools on the rock shelves full of intertidal sea life. These microcosms are bursting with lifelike sea urchins, starfish, anemones, periwinkles (sea snails) and many other species that will highlight our trek today. Distance approximately 12km/7.5mi Overnight Camp

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will hike the last inland section of the 'new' North Coast Trail and continue on the more established trail systems within Cape Scott Provincial Park. We make our way to Nissen Bight, where the stunning scenery makes a perfect place to stop for lunch. We then continue on towards Nels Bight further to the west to a well-known camp and a Cape Scott Ranger Station location. If everyone still has energy, we may continue to the lesser-used camping areas on Experiment Bight or 3km's to Guise Bay's last campsite. These secluded locations usually have few visitors and more wildlife, so they are worth a few extra steps when conditions are right. Distance approximately 15km/9mi Overnight Camp

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning's routine is more relaxed as we will be staying a second night and don't need to break camp, giving us a break from our full packs and the opportunity to explore with just what we need for the day. Early on, a decision will be made regarding the day's routing for the day. There are many features in the area with historical significance like First Nations and European settlements or WWII facilities' remains. These are possible in less than a day and allow you to have some additional downtime around the camp. A full-day hike will take you to one of the last remaining manned lighthouses on the island and will reward you with panoramic ocean views and banter with the lighthouse keepers. Enjoy the journey, whereever the trail takes you today! Distance 8-15km/5-10mi Overnight Camp

Meals:  B,L,D

Our hike today is more leisurely and takes us through Hanson's Lagoon. It's a beautiful and unique area with marshes and open water surrounded by the old-growth forest. Remnants of the Danish settlement, like collapsed buildings and dykes along the shore, are still evident but are slowly disappearing as the wilderness reclaims the land. Our goal for tonight is Nissen Bight and the last night of camping under the stars. Here you have the opportunity to see the amazing wildlife in both the ocean and on land. It's possible to see humpback whales breaching or sea otters playing. Onshore, wolves and bears are known to roam along the beach, providing some fantastic photo opportunities. Distance approximately 15km/10mi Overnight Camp

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is bittersweet as we are leaving the Cape Scott area and returning to civilization. We take the road built by the original settlers—passing by crumbling buildings, old farm machinery and even a marble grave marker of William Christiansen, who sadly passed away in 1906 at the age of 12. A reminder of how difficult life would have been on the island over 200 years ago. The corduroy road that connected this isolated community also links us to the modern world. After meeting our transportation, we return to Port Hardy, where a hot shower and final group dinner await us. Distance approximately 15km/10mi Overnight Hotel/inn

Meals:  B,L

Today we will retrace our journey south down Vancouver Island, stopping for lunch on our way to Comox Valley. Plan to stay an additional night if you are flying from Comox Airport. If your destination is Vancouver, transportation to the ferry at Nanaimo is available on request, a supplement may apply.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.


Inclusions

  • Certified guide with Wilderness First Aid
  • 6 nights camping, 1 night hotel
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 6 dinners
  • National Park fees
  • Group camping equipment (cooking gear, tarps, and meal preparation)
  • Emergency communications & group first aid kit
  • Transportation from the point of origin and return including water taxi to Cape Sutil

  • Accommodation before or after the trek
  • Travel to and from Comox Valley
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Meals other than those listed in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and backpacks (available for rent)

Suitability

Moderate to Challenging

6

Anyone undertaking a full pack trek should be aware of the physical and mental demands involved. These are designed for experienced adventurers who are seeking a challenge. The trek will involve off trail hiking, unstable footing, ladders, creek/river crossings, rough terrain, and long hiking days. All while carrying your own gear in a full pack. This trek is intended for experienced hikers only. We recommend that people begin their fitness preparation immediately upon booking. Solid work outs that are aerobic (hill walking, jogging, swimming, biking or gym work) of up to one hour each day is a guide to a routine training program. The best preparation is bushwalking with a full pack, involving relatively steep ascents and descents. If you can be as fit and prepared as possible, you will enjoy the trip so much more.


Departure dates


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Total Priceper person from

$1599USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

Options & Supplements*
    * Prices listed are per person. All prices subject to applicable taxes.

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Our Expertise

Everyone who works with us, from our office staff, ground staff and guides is the ‘’real deal’’. Our team is comprised of actual hikers and cyclists who have explored or live in the region in which you will be travelling. Our entire network is highly-specialised in active travel.

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Quality services at the best price make our adventures great value for money. Having essential items included like National Park fees, charming accommodations, most meals, bikes for cycling trips, maps and support for peace of mind. Our inclusions allow you to better budget for your big adventure.

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