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Duration
9 days
Activities
  • 8 day backpacking
Accommodation
  • 8 nights camping
Meals
  • 7 Dinners
  • 7 Lunches
  • 8 Breakfasts

Price

$1699USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

Trip Code: WCA

Overview

Trip highlights


  • Hike through BC’s temperate rainforest and spectacular coastal beauty
  • Cross suspension bridges, ladders, shelf walks and cable crossings
  • Explore cliffs, coves, creeks, caves, caverns and remote beach camping
  • Spot whales, sea lions, eagles, bears and other wildlife along the shoreline
  • Carry a lighter load with our mid-hike drop
  • Navigate tidal crossings, campgrounds and route with our expert local guide

There’s a reason Vancouver Island’s rugged West Coast Trail is renowned as one of the world’s very best hikes. An undeniable physical challenge matched by stunning Pacific coastal wilderness, and an adventure that delivers plenty of highlights: gaze at luminous marine life in mirror-clear tidal pools; swim beneath invigorating cascades; encounter an outdoor adult playground with intimidating creek ladders, suspension bridges and self-powered cable cars; cook beneath the stars over driftwood campfires, and pitch tents in truly gorgeous locations. Our route traces the Graveyard of the Pacific, where dozens of ships have been wrecked. You’ll encounter their relics too, along with abandoned indigenous settlements, fishing communities, and picturesque lighthouses. Spot wolf prints or breaching whales as you cross vast sandy beaches, under the gaze of bald eagles soaring overhead. Discover massive old-growth forest, the character of each campsite, and your physical prowess as you complete this trail of a lifetime.

Activities:
Grading:
6

Moderate to Challenging

More info about grading system


Rating: 


Itinerary

After being picked up by your courteous guide team in Courtenay or Nanaimo, we drive to Port Renfrew, where we sleep tonight. Following registration at the trailhead office, we install our campsite on the beach. Get to know your hiking companions as we discuss logistics for the trail ahead.

Meals:  Nil

After breakfast, get ready for the beginning of an exciting hiking trip on the West Coast Trail. The day starts around 8:00 a.m. with a transfer by boat across the Gordon River to the trailhead. As we negotiate our first series of ladders, hiking amidst forest, creeks, and waterfalls, the challenging terrain (elevation gain +/- 180m/590ft) makes the short distance to Thrasher Cove longer to navigate. Our campsite is located at a small cove with excellent views of Port San Juan and Port Renfrew across the water. Please note that given the challenging nature of the hike for the next three days, the campsite locations are provided as a guideline only. It’s subject to change based on different factors such as group ability and weather.

Meals:  B,L,D

If the tide is in our favour, we’ll leave the forest and hike along the bank to Owen Point. This section, only accessible at low tide, features sandstone bluffs, caves and caverns, moonscape rock formations and eroded surge channels. The beach hike is shorter than the trail and with better views, but it is characterized by huge boulders, so make sure to watch your step. We eventually leave the shelf because of impassable headlands and sample the beauty and denseness of a west coast old-growth forest to Camper Bay. We set up our campsite by a creek, flanked by magnificent sandstone bluffs.

Meals:  B,L,D

By now, you’re ready for the trail’s most rugged sections, and the challenges that make the West Coast Trail so notorious. Camper Bay to Walbran may not be far in the distance, but soaks up the most time of any other section. Today, we will encounter a series of eight large wooden ladders that need to be climbed across creeks and cliffs, taking us deeper into the embrace of the rainforest. This is the adult jungle gym portion of the trail and continues to the trail end. From Cullite Creeks, we continue along the boardwalk over the wet bog. Your guide will point out interesting fauna, including stunted cousins of hemlock, spruce, cedar, and a species of carnivorous plant. Our campground at Walbran Creek lies adjacent to a fantastic swimming hole.

Meals:  B,L,D

Leaving behind the most challenging section of the trail, today will be a shorter day hiking primarily on the beach. Your guide will be happy to recall many tales from past visits as we arrive at a special spot, once known as Chez Monique. This legendary trail haven and food shack recently closed with the passing of Monique and her husband Peter but holds plenty of memories for locals and travellers alike. A short walk takes us to the Carmanah Point Lighthouse for a visit to the station. Perched on top of the cliffs, marvel at the magnificent view and be on the lookout for resident sea lions, often spotted on the rocks below. We set up camp at The Cribs, a natural breakwater formed by volcanic rock, with colourful tidal pools to explore.

Meals:  B,L,D

The morning tide will determine if we hike the beach or follow the trail as it edges along steep cliffs. It’s an enjoyable walk on hard packed sand, with imposing cliffs and some of the most varied sandstone rock formations. We descend near the Cheewhat River to a beautiful sandy beach. After crossing the Cheewhat River, we re-enter the rainforest and make our way to Stanley Beach, where we set up our camp for the night. Explore the surroundings, including a surge channel, blowhole, honeycombed rocks and an abandoned house.

Meals:  B,L,D

Breaking camp, we hike the boardwalk trail to Nitinat Narrows. The Narrows is crossed by boat only with the assistance of the local First Nations. Here we stop for a hearty breakfast at the family “Crab Shack,” and we pick up our mid-hike food drop for the last part of the trip. The next segment to Tsuquadra Beach is particularly spectacular and leads us to the remnants of a Didadaht Warrior village from the turn of the century. Old lodge poles continue to stand in tribute to the memory of these historic coastal inhabitants. Leaving the site through the forest, we reach Hole in the Wall; a wave-worn hole cut into the rock at Tsusiat Point. Just up the beach is Tsusiat Falls, the perfect location to set up camp. Recharge with a memorable natural shower at the base of cool cascades and soak in the pristine environment.

Meals:  B,L,D

A short hour’s hike brings us to our last cable car crossing over the Klanawa River. Get ready to pull! After the crossing, we make our way by the beach to Trestle Creek, where we re-enter the forest. Along the shoal, we’ll see where the SS Valencia ran aground in 1906, the catalyst for the trail’s creation inside today’s Pacific Rim National Park. From here, we cross two suspension bridges and our last ladder and emerge from the coastal rainforest at Tsocowis Creek, home to the first of three Guardian Cabins where members of the local First Nations live while maintaining the trail. It’s a 4km/2.4mi hike along the beach to our campsite at Michigan Creek.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is our last day on the trail, and it’s on the easiest portion of the trail. We remain immersed in the coastal rainforest on an old supply road until arriving at Pachena Bay. This is the end of your hike on the West Coast Trail. From here, we drive to Port Alberni for lunch before hitting the road to Nanaimo where we say our goodbyes to the team. Service ends after a transfer to post-tour accommodations in Nanaimo or the Departure Bay ferry terminal for the late afternoon ferry back to the seaside village of Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver for those who require it.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

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


Inclusions

  • Certified guides with Wilderness First Aid
  • 8 nights camping
  • 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches & 7 dinners
  • Food drop to reduce pack weight
  • National Park fees and permits (valued at approx C$200pp)
  • Top of the line tent
  • Group camping equipment including all cooking gear, tarps, and meal preparation
  • Emergency communications & group first aid kit
  • Ferry tickets from Vancouver to Nanaimo and return
  • Transportation as listed in itinerary

  • Travel to point of origin (Nanaimo or Courtenay) and return.
  • Accommodation before or after the trek
  • Items of a personal nature- alcoholic beverages, car parking etc
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals other than those listed in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and backpacks (available for rent)
  • Applicable taxes
  • Park Pass (approx C$40pp) or Parks Canada Discovery Pass (approx C$70pp). Must be purchased directly with Parks Canada. Instructions will be provided upon booking.

Suitability

Moderate to Challenging

6

The full pack and often unstable terrain give this trip a 'challenging' factor on an otherwise 'moderate' trek, but 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 hiking 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. Please note that this trip involves a little participation. For example: putting up/taking down tents, washing up your own dishes, and potentially filtering your own water (made super easy with our MSR filters).


Departure dates


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Total Priceper person from

$1699USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

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

Trip reviews


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