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Trails and Parks

The 511 km² Pacific Rim National Park reserve stretches from Long Beach in the North, between Tofino and Ucluelet, all the way to along the West Coast Trail to Port Renfrew, including also the Broken Group Islands. To the east of the park is the Vancouver Island Range, to the west, the Pacific Ocean.

Come experience the rainforest

This immensely beautiful park has a temperate climate which allows for the vegetation to grow lushly all-year-round, making for magnificently over-grown plants that inspire awe.

The rocks lining the edge of the coast, where the sea meets land, make the perfect backsplash for the waves coming in off of the wild Pacific Ocean. This entire park is wonderful for storm-watching because of the powerful tides which tend to arise in the early months of the year, and the accompany gale-force winds make for a stormy sea like you’ve never seen!

In the calmer seasons, you will find beautifully manicured hiking trails that will lead you peacefully from one end of the National Park to the other. When the fog falls, be prepared to enjoy a magical scene that only comes with the stillness of mist from the sea.

The smaller spruce trees act as buffers for the whipping winds to protect an inner forest of giant Sitka Spruce, Amabilis Fir, Western Hemlock, and Western Red Cedar, which are all delicately decorated with beautiful green mosses such as lichen.

These dense rainforests are also home to many kinds of animals, so please be sure to have respect for all the critters you might come across on your walk in the woods like:

By simply strolling along the real West coast, you can catch sight of sea lions, seals, schools of porpoise and even pods of orca whales out toward the horizon on occasion, all of which exhibit predictable patterns of movement and behaviour.

As always, stay on the trails and follow all signage. Be Safe and Have Fun!

Wilowbrae
Trail

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Half-Moon
Bay Trail

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South Beach
Trail

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Shore Pine
Bog Trail

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Wilowbrae Trail

How to get there:  From the Highway 4 junction of Tofino/Ucluelet, go left onto Peninsula Road toward Ucluelet. (2 km) Turn right onto Willowbrae Road.

Parking Lot:  The main parking lot is on the right after turning onto Willowbrae road

Map: Driving Directions

How far from Ucluelet:  6 km from downtown Ukee

Trail Distance:  2.8 km

How long it takes: 45 min one way

Number of Stairs: 175

Parking permit required: Yes

Closest Tsunami Safe Zone: Pacific Rim Visitor Centre at the Junction of the Tofino/Ucluelet Highway and Highway #4

Washrooms Available: No

Wheel Chair Accessible: No

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

This trail starts with a long walk in the woods, on an even, yet hilly gravel path. The trees that you pass become almost hypnotizing with their seemingly endless depth and possibility.

In the spring, the sides of the trail are alive with yellow flowering skunk cabbage, which are quite the sight to see! As the seasons change, this well-sheltered pathway becomes hauntingly beautiful in its serenity.

When you reach the board walk, you will see two options for which direction to go in – choose to keep going straight to reach Florencia Bay at the end of the Willowbrae Trail. Alternately taking a turn to the left will bring you to on a journey to Halfmoon Bay.

If you’ve chosen to check out Florencia Bay, well your fun has just begun at this point. The descent on the stairs toward the beach will transport you to a land before time. Small waterfalls to behold, giant evergreens, and lychen moss sprinkling the scene to create something that looks like it is right out of a story book.

There are a lot of stairs, but that’s the best part! What you see when you get to the bottom will be worth it everytime. And besides, who couldn’t use a challenging workout that comes with a fresh dose of refreshing sea air?

With all the interesting trees you will want to examine, and the endless beach combing you can do here, you’ll certainly want to make sure you’ve packed enough water, snacks and wind-proof protection so that you can stay and play for a good long while.

Half-Moon Bay Trail

How to get there:  From the Highway 4 junction of Tofino/Ucluelet, go left/South on Peninsula Rd. to Ucluelet (2 km) take a right onto Willowbrae road

Parking Lot:  The main parking lot is on the right after turning West onto Willowbrae road

Map: Driving Directions

How far from Ucluelet:  6 km from downtown Ukee

Trail Distance:  2.8 km

How long it takes: 45 min one way

Number of Stairs: 120

Parking permit required: Yes

Closest Tsunami Safe Zone: Pacific Rim Visitor Centre at the Junction of the Tofino/Ucluelet Highway and Highway #4

Washrooms Available: No

Wheel Chair Accessible: No

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

The pathway that leads to Florencia Bay, also known as the Willowbrae trail, is the same one which will start you on your journey toward Half Moon Bay.

It’s a long walk on a gravel path with a dizzying amount of exquisite-looking trees passing by as you stroll. This stunning scenery seems to be something one would find in a storybook.

These forests are teeming with life, and as you approach the boardwalk, the scene will suddenly change. There will be a fork in your path, and if you choose to take the left-hand option, you will be on your way to one of the most beautiful sandy beaches that this area has to offer; Half Moon Bay.

Known for being well sheltered from the wind while remaining in full reach of the sun, it can easily be many degrees warmer at this beach than anywhere else around Ucluelet.

Be sure that you bring plenty of water, snacks and wind protection as you will certainly want to spend a nice amount of time soaking in the rays and feeling the sand between your toes.

There are a lot of stairs to climb, but the effort will be worth it. It’s hard to believe that you’re still in Canada when you descend upon the breath-taking scene of the Pacific Ocean from the forest.

South Beach Trail

How to get there: Located off Wick Road, the South Beach trail begins from the parking lot next to the Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre.

Parking Lot: Turn onto Wick Road, and take a left at the fork when entering the parking lot, there you will find the trail head.

Map: Driving Directions

How far from Ucluelet: 16 km from Ukee

Trail Distance: 1.6 km

How long it takes: 30 minutes, one-way

Number of Stairs: 46

Parking permit required: Yes

Can buy pass at Park: Yes

Closest Tsunami Safe Zone: Pacific Rim Visitor Centre at the Junction of the Tofino/Ucluelet Highway and BC Highway #4

Washrooms Available: Yes

Wheel Chair Accessible: No

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Watching the sun set over the monolithic boulders protruding from South Beach, mixed with the ebbing and flowing roar of the Pacific Ocean is something of a dream.  If ever there were a trail which could exemplify the term “a walk in the park” – well this would be that trail. This being the only trail in the Pacific Rim National Park that follows the coastline nearly the entire walk, you will be sure to get plenty of time with the majestic Pacific Ocean.

Beginning as a paved path along the rugged coast line, then dipping deeper into the forest on a gravel walk way to a beautiful boardwalk, this is a trail perfect for intermediate hikers. The trail is considered moderate in difficulty due to a steep incline in a couple of spots, which could be tough for some to maneuver. However, the ramps do have slip-resistant shingles for ensuring that hikers are sure-of-foot.

The trail ends on South Beach. Known for its wild, crashing waves and glistening sea sprays. Do be sure to keep an eye on the tide as it raises quickly here. Rogue waves have been known to arrive suddenly, leaving hikers with soaking wet feet.

The winds at this beach happen to lift the sand and brush it upon the shore in beautifully patterned sand dunes which are absolutely remarkable to behold. Nature’s art is present in every aspect of this incredible west coast hiking adventure.

Wilowbrae Trail

How to get there: Located off Wick Road, the Shore Pine Bog trail is well marked

Parking Lot: Turn onto Wick Road, and take a left at the sign for the Shore Pine bog trail

Map: Driving Directions

How far from Ucluelet: 16 km from Ukee

Trail Distance: .8 km

How long it takes: 20 minutes

Number of Stairs: 0

Parking permit required: Yes

Can buy pass at Park: No, but parking passes can be bought nearby at Wickaninnish Beach parking lot, further down Wick Road

Closest Tsunami Safe Zone: Pacific Rim Visitor Centre at the Junction of the Tofino/Ucluelet Highway and BC Highway #4

Washrooms Available: No, but washrooms can be found nearby at Wickaninnish Beach parking lot

Wheel Chair Accessible: Yes

Level of Difficulty: Easy
This truly is the most accessible and unique trail in the area. Built on a unique type of land that grew upon the after effects of a glacier, this boardwalk experience is like no other in the area.

Compared to the tall, moss covered trees found in most other nearby forests, these ones are rather short. Come see for yourself the incredibly artful bog landscape!

The reason these trees are partly stunted is due to the high amounts of acid in the Sphagnum moss from which the forest grows. This moss turns the rainwater to acid, and seeing as how this area can receive upwards of 300 cm of rain each year, the soil in uninhabitable to most other plants.

The sturdy shorepine tree can grow as tall as 30 m high in the interior of British Columbia, but due to the water-logged, acidic soil in this area, what we see on the Shorepine Bog trail are the dwarfed versions, twisting and sprouting in every direction but up.

Be sure to stay only on the boardwalk, being careful not to disturb the delicate flora all around. These plants are hundreds of years old, and quite set in their ways. Bring the whole family, as this trail is both stroller and wheelchair friendly, and there is so much wonder to be had when exploring this extraordinary walk in the woods.

Pacific Rim National Park Parking Permits: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/visit/tarifs_fees_e.asp?park=21

Tsunami Safe Zones Information: http://ucluelet.ca/travel-blog/entry/how-to-prepare-yourself-for-a-west-coast-earthquake

Wild Pacific Trail

Come visit Trip Advisor’s top rated trail in all of BC! The Wild Pacific Trail is free, family friendly and accessible year round.

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Long Beach Unit Map

Welcome to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and the traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations.This special place is part of a network of Canada’s national treasures protected on your behalf by Parks Canada.

Download Map

Photo Credits: Featured Image by George Fifield, Wild Pacific Trail – mid section photo by Douglas Ludwig

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