The West Coast TrailThe West Coast Trail is incredible. Everything about it is amazing. From the wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to endless jaw dropping views. And it's tough.  Very tough.  It is a trail that shouldn't exist. Hiking trails always form out of the easiest route worn down over the years to some worthwhile destination. The West Coast Trail evolved out of the need to get shipwreck survivors out of this this otherwise beautiful place.

Hike the West Coast Trail

 Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 1 Pachena to Darling Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 2 Darling to Tsusiat Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 3 Tsusiat to Carmanah Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 4 Carmanah to Walbran Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 5 Walbran to Cullite Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 6 Cullite to Camper Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 7 Camper to Thrasher West Coast Trail CampsitesMichigan Creek at 12k West Coast Trail CampsitesDarling River at 14k West Coast Trail CampsitesOrange Juice Creek at 15k West Coast Trail CampsitesTsocowis Creek at 16.5k West Coast Trail CampsitesKlanawa River at 23k West Coast Trail CampsitesTsusiat Falls at 25k West Coast Trail CampsitesCribs Creek at 42k West Coast Trail CampsitesCarmanah Creek at 46k West Coast Trail CampsitesBonilla Creek at 48k West Coast Trail CampsitesWalbran Creek at 53k West Coast Trail CampsitesCullite Cove at 58k West Coast Trail CampsitesCamper Bay at 62k Thrasher Cove - West Coast Trail CampsitesThrasher Cove at 70k

The West Coast Trail was formed out of necessity and the route today is the only route realistically possible along this tangle of rainforest over brutally changing terrain. Flanked by steep cliffs on one side and the Graveyard of the Pacific on the other the route evolved where it shouldn't have. Who would plow a trail through such impenetrable wilderness unless absolutely necessary.

Always wet, always up and down, hundreds of rivers, creeks, canyons, fallen trees and lots and lots of ladders. Even with all the construction of suspension bridges, cable car crossing and ladders it's brutal. And yearly, winter storms blast down monstrously huge trees and leave them sprawling across the trail.

The West Coast Trail's difficulty can be measured by its relatively short length of 75 kilometres yet it takes 5-7 days to complete. This is for two wonderful, spectacular and telling reasons. First, the trail's length is misleading as it doesn't take into account the thousands of zig-zags along the route. Both left and right as well as up and down. It is a jigsaw of a trail, up and down over endless chasms tangled with rainforest. Does that 75k take into account the 50 foot ladders? It just takes a long time to snake through and you quickly discover that 2 kilometres on the map shows as 4.8 kilometres on your gps! Added to that your pace is bogged down by whole sections of mud, crawling under and over fallen trees, and of course pausing almost every 5 minutes to soak in a sensational view.

Even the wrecked sections of trail become a thing of wonder and amusement. Often you stroll along an ancient, but lovely wooden boardwalk only to stop at a sizable length missing. A chunk of boardwalk a few metres long inexplicably missing. You stand at the end of the boardwalk and look across the gap which is a deep pool of mud with impenetrable jungle on either side. Then you spot it. On either side of the gap is a chainsawed end of an enormous tree that crashed down on the boardwalk during some winter storm a long time ago. You can tell it has been a few years because of the weathering of the two ends of the tree flanking the gap as well as the waterlogged and disintegrating pieces of this monster cut away. The tree was so massive that it sprang up when cut and the two ends are levered up to eye level with the weight of the length of tree that quickly disappears into the thick forest. Why haven't they fixed the boardwalk here? That thought crosses your mind a few times, until you pass a few more of these along the trail and realize that they must happen astonishingly often and repairing the damage takes a considerable amount of work. You would need an army of workers to keep on top of the needed repairs to the West Coast Trail. This of course is not realistic, and you slowly come to the conclusion that the trail is much more colourful and interesting with its smashed sections and constant reminders of the wild, destructive power of Vancouver Island's west coast.

The West Coast Trail Thrasher Cove Outhouse View

It takes a couple days on the West Coast Trail to grasp how wonderful it is. It's so beautiful. Wildly beautiful, and this is a phenomenon that the West Coast Trail is alive with. It's constantly changing at every glance. Everywhere you look you spot a work of art in the form of a splayed tree over a river valley or a sudden gap in the forest revealing the ocean a thousand feet below. A swirling morass of green water and white, swirling foam churned up by the waves crashing from the Pacific. This constantly changing terrain with endless views and obstacles alone would secure this hike as one of the worlds best. But there is another aspect that combined with its beauty, makes it what it is. The West Coast Trail. This is a characteristic that is seldom understood or explained for how wonderful it actually is. The harsh difficulty of the trail.

The trail is brutal. It's invariably raining, so you are often soaking wet. This makes you soggy and crabby, tired and exhausted. The treacherous trail in this wet is muddy, slippery and requires your full attention at every step. This mesmerizes you as you hike. You focus completely on your next step and your mind relaxes into a meditative state. This is when it happens. You look up, catch a glance of what's around you, and it's marvellous. This is it. The West Coast Trail is a perfect combination of brutal difficulty, spectacular wildness and stunning natural beauty. Added to that you occasionally get a glimpse of history that carries you back in time. A piece of a shipwreck along the beach or a massive anchor left 150 years ago after the ship it came from succumbed to the Graveyard of the Pacific in some calamitous storm that smashed it here.

More West Coast Trail at HikeWCT.com

Hike WCT West Coast Trail

Hike in Victoria

  Victoria Hiking TrailAvatar Grove Victoria Hiking TrailBear Hill Victoria Hiking TrailEast Sooke Park Victoria Hiking TrailElk/Beaver Lake Victoria Hiking TrailEsquimalt Lagoon Easy Pay Hiking Trail VictoriaFort Rodd Hill Victoria Hiking TrailFrancis/King Victoria Hiking TrailGalloping Goose Victoria Hiking TrailGoldstream Park Victoria Hiking TrailGowlland Tod Victoria Hiking TrailGrass Lake Victoria Hiking TrailJohn Dean Park Victoria Hiking TrailJuan de Fuca Trail Victoria Hiking TrailLone Tree Hill Victoria Hiking TrailMill Hill Victoria Hiking TrailMount Doug Victoria Hiking TrailMount Tolmie Victoria Hiking TrailSooke Potholes Victoria Hiking TrailSpectacle Lake Victoria Hiking TrailThetis Lake Victoria Hiking TrailWitty's Lagoon VictoriaVictoria VictoriaAttractions VictoriaAttractions VictoriaEasy Hiking Trails VictoriaModerate Trails VictoriaChallenging Trails 

Victoria Hiking Trails

Huge Douglas-fir trees and tremendous views are the highlights of this beautiful Provincial Park just 30 minutes from downtown Victoria, near Sidney.  ...
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Mount Tolmie is another beautiful, easily accessed mountain in Victoria with 360 degree ocean and city views.  On a clear day you can spot Mount Baker far ...
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Grass Lake(aka Grasse Lake or Grassie Lake) is a moderately difficult trail to a beautifully remote lake far in the wilderness of Sooke.  Popular for ...
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Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park is a wonderful coastal park overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Located in Metchosin, a scenic and largely rural ...
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Mill Hill Regional Park is a well hidden though wonderfully short hike to amazing views of Victoria, Esquimalt and the Western Communities.  The hike is ...
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Clayoquot Hiking Trails

Radar Hill is absolutely one of the Tofino area sights not to be missed.  It's a quick and easy walk to the top and the views are beautiful.   Definitely one ...
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Hot Springs Cove is a wonderful day trip from Tofino.  Lots of whale watching companies offer whale watching/hot springs tours for very reasonable prices.  The ...
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Meares Island was the centre of dispute in the 80's when the Nuu-chah-nulth protested Macmillan Bloedel's intent to log the island.  The Nuu-chah-nulth ...
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Lone Cone is the wonderful cone shaped mountain that dominates the skyline in Tofino.  It is just 6k from Tofino on the north-western end of Meares Island.  ...
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The Wild Pacific Trail is a must see on any visit to Pacific Rim National Park, Ucluelet and/or Tofino.  Located in Ucluelet, the Wild Pacific Trail is ...
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The West Coast Trail

When shipping in and out of Juan de Fuca Strait rapidly increased in the mid 1800's and alarming and costly number of ships were lost, the need for a ...
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The West Coast Trail is incredible. Everything about it is amazing. From the wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to endless jaw dropping views. And ...
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The West Coast Trail hiking season is confined to just five months due to the dangerously stormy weather during the winter months. In the winter the days ...
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There are three entry/exit points for the West Coast Trail, however the midway entry/exit point at Nitinaht Narrows is for hikers only hiking part of the trail. ...
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There are lots of options to getting to the West Coast Trail. The trail is linear so you have to arrange to get to the trailhead as well as from your exit ...
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The West Coast Trail is a very tough hike. About one out of one hundred hikers don't make it, they need to be rescued. That's why there are so many fees. ...
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