Hiking the West Coast Trail

Hiking the West Coast Trail between the Vancouver Island communities of Bamfield and Port Renfrew, BC, a multi-day backpacking trail, is a challenge for even the most experienced hikers. Each year over 7,500 backpackers from around the world come to the beauty of our Huu-ay-aht traditional territory as well as the territory of the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht Nations.

Hiking the West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail is one of the most challenging hikes in North America. But with the challenges come spectacular beauty.

The hike wanders along the coastline through old growth forests, sandy beaches, rocky headlands, slippery, root laden sections and navigates up and down many ladders. Doing all of this while carrying a week’s worth of food and your gear on your back, makes for a rewarding experience.

Hiking the West Coast Trail is not for the inexperienced. Being fit before the start of the trip is key to truly enjoying every minute of the day.

Most hikers take 6-8 days to complete the West Coast Trail. There are specified campsites along the trail which make sure that everyone has a place to pitch their tent at the end of the day. Parks Canada recommends that you depart each campsite at least five hours before sundown to have time to make it to the next campsite.

West Coast Trail History

The Huu-ay-aht people have lived on Vancouver Island for over 10,000 years. Our ancestors created paths and ancient paddling routes that were used for travel and trade. Our villages existed along the west coast ten millennia before the arrival of foreigners from Europe.

As more ships navigated the west coast of Vancouver Island during the 1900s, they sailed over reef and rocks. Shipwrecks were quite common and stranded sailors ended up on the vacant coast. A trail was built that improved and linked the old pathways of our peoples.  A telegraph line and six shelters with provisions were built and was called the Dominion Life Saving Trail.

In 1970, the Canadian Government created a new park and called it Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and three years later the life-saving trail was brought under the management of the Park board.

West Coast Trail Accommodation

Whether you are starting are ending your hike in Bamfield, the rooms at Hacas Inn, Bamfield’s only motel, are a great place to stay. Situated in Bamfield, BC, there are motel rooms for every size of group and type of traveller. We also have waterfront accommodation at Upnit Lodge.

West Coast Trail Campsites

Our First Nation also runs Pachena Bay Campground, which is situated right at the trailhead and is a perfect spot to pitch your tent. Our West Coast Trail campsites are great whether you are starting or ending your hike in Bamfield, BC.

Trail Reservations

Being one of the most popular trails in North America for hikers from all over the world, reservations should be made well in advance of your trip. Reservations are necessary as there are a limited number of hikers allowed to start on the trail on any given day of the hiking season.

Parks Canada Online Reservation System handles all bookings as this trail is located within Pacific Rim National Park.

When making your booking you will need to have the following information ready as well as a means of payment

  • Preferred start dates
  • Number of people in your group
  • Names and emergency contacts
  • Point of departure – Pachena Bay, Gordon River or Nitinaht Village

Book Your Accommodation at Hacas Inn

Whether you are starting or ending the West Coast Trail at Bamfield, our clean and affordable rooms are an excellent place to stay.