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3 Of The Best Hiking Trails On The West Coast

If you are looking for ways to lead a healthier and happier life, do some sensible changes on your daily eating habits, perform a workout other than what you usually do in gyms or simply disconnect from your daily grind, then you might want to try hiking. Hiking is considered to be one of the most affordable ways on enjoying yourself through long-distance walks and appreciating the beauty of nature.

The West Coast Trail in Canada is known to be one of the most epic trails in the world. Only few, actually have gone there before and definitely is not for the faint of heart. Trekking the West Coast, however will give you the benefit of seeing old grown forest trees that are so tall, something you’d probably nothing like it.

You also get to enjoy sleeping to a sandy beach with the sounds of the ocean singing as you dose off to sleep. You also get to explore tidal pools, great cascades of waterfalls and mysterious rock formations. Hiking the West Coast Trail is indeed, a hike of a lifetime.

West Coast Trail

west coast trail

Pacific Rim National Park: West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail isn’t one you can categorize as an easy trail. It is actually requires you a lot of your strength as the trek is 75 kilometers long and will usually take you 5-7 days to finish off the trail.

The terrain on the WCT is uneven. Therefore, you must be ready for slippery grounds, boulders, wooden surfaces and rocky shorelines. During the hike and backpacking, you’d likely to go wading through rivers, go through really steep slopes, and ride on cable cars and climbing ladders.

Don’t expect that there are a lot of structures on the trail that is meant for hikers, like you. It is expected that these structures might have been damaged by storms and other natural occurrences. On the same note, weather on the West Coast Trail can really be unpredictable.

West Coast Trail does not guarantee its hikers that no one will go unharmed. Not that all hikers are harmed, but it’s already a natural occurrence that accidents and injuries are likely to happen. If unfortunate situations do happen, it’ll take up to 24 hours before help will finally arrive.

People Who Can Hike the West Coast Trail

Although thousands of people do hike the West Coast Trail for two to three days, the entire trail may be achieved by people who:

  • Have a lot of stamina.
  • Already have experiences in walking through rough terrain and long distances while carrying heavy backpack.
  • Is not afraid being in an isolated area
  • Without any knee, back or ankle injuries
  • Over twelve years old

Best Trails on the West Coast

The entire West Coast Trail connects the Pacheena Bay in the north to the Gordon River in the south. This constitutes the 47-mile hike of the Trail. If you plan to really finish this entire trail, then you should be starting off from any one of these and end with the other one. Most hikers, however only take one part and then return back.

  1. Pachena Bay Trail

This is considered the easiest entry way and will no longer require hikers to schedule a ferry. This trail is less strenuous.

How to get there

  • Drive from the Port of Alberni. The roads are pretty rough wherein large trucks used for logging pass through. Travel time usually takes about 3 hours from the Victoria and about 1 to 1.5 hours from Nanaimo.
  • A West Coast Trail is available in downtown Victoria at 6:30 am. You will reach the Pachena Bay by 12:15 pm, just in time for the 1:30 pm orientation.
  • Another alternative is the Pachena Bay Express shuttle van that will ferry you from Port Alberni to Bamfield. If you are a group of 12 people, then this will be a good option for you.
  1. Gordon River Trail

Unlike the Pachena Trail, the Gordon River Trail will give you a rough start. However, once you’re done with the rough areas, you will later on enjoy the best of this trail at a more relaxed pace.

How to get there

  • From Victoria, it will take a two-hour drive from Nanaimo. You will arrive at Port Renfrew at 3:30 pm just in time for the orientation.
  • Ride the West Coast Trail Bus at 700 Douglas Street in Victoria at 6:30 am. It will pass through the Gordon River trailhead by 9:00 am, which is actually a good time for the orientation. If you opt for this, you should have made reservations first especially during peak season.
  • If you are planning to really finish off the entire trail and end at the Pachena Bay, then you might want a bus from the Pachena Bay that will pass by the Gordon River at 4:30 pm or Port Renfrew at 4:45 pm.
  1. Ditidaht First Nation Nitinat Lake

If you are one of those who don’t want to really hike the entire West Coast Trail, then this is the easiest point. This trail is mostly appealing to hikers who do not have the time to do the seven to eight days hiking challenge.

Despite having to trek only half of the entire West Coast trail, you wouldn’t be dismayed as this trail still affords you with a plethora of pristine beaches, old-growth forests, waterfalls and tidepools.

Hiking from the Nitinat Narrows to either Gordon River or Pachena Bay will require you three full days for each direction. A day prior to the start of your hike, you should have already arrived at the Visitor Centre, so that you can make bookings to water-taxis.

How to get there

  • Travelling to Nitinaht will usually take you an hour from the Port Alberni and 1.5 hours from Duncan. Expect the roads to be rough so it is recommended that you bring along with you a spare tire. Regardless of how rough it is, do not forget to stop and enjoy the beauty while you’re on your way.

There’s definitely a wonderful adventure awaiting you at any of these West Coast trails in Canada with each one sure to test your hiking endurance and determination. But as a lover of the outdoors, you know it’s not the destination but the journey of getting there.

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