Stop by the Pacific Rim Visitor Centre as you arrive on the West Coast. There is a lot going on, from free guided interpretive walks on the Wild Pacific Trail to a speaker series on “The Wonders Of The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.” This summer in Ucluelet is going to vibrant!
This year, the Canada Day celebrations on July 1st will be infused with excitement. 2017 marks the 150th year since Confederation; Canada’s sesquicentennial. The town celebrates down on the Village Green with music, vendors, and more! Local restaurants are already planning their events for the big day. It is sure to be one of the most exciting Canada Day celebrations in recent memory.
Summer Fest (July 1 – 9) kicks off the festival circuit with two weeks of art, film, music, and dance.
Ukee Days (July 27 – 29), the annual celebration of the community, always draws a large crowd. Tents showcasing local businesses and artisans cover the field. Food trucks and beer gardens feed the patrons. Live music, logger sports, and an opening parade entertain visitors. Ukee Days is an unmissable, jam-packed weekend. What happens in Ukee, stays in Ukee!
Explore the Outdoors
Of all the things to do in Ucluelet, exploring the outdoors is an absolute must. Perched on the edge of the Pacific, Ucluelet has clean sea air, endless blue skies, and awe-inspiring vistas. Enjoy the summer in one of the most beautiful places on earth. In Ucluelet, there are outdoor activities abound.
Take a Hike
Hiking the renowned Wild Pacific Trail will provide unmatched oceanic panoramas. This trail ranks #1 on Vancouver Island for a good reason; at over 8km, the spectacular landscape varies, from high cliffs to ancient cedar groves (with some trees over 1000 years old!). The 45 – 60-minute Lighthouse Loop weaves through the forest and along craggy outcroppings. At its most dramatic, the path overlooks the Broken Group Islands to the south, over pristine coastlines and rocky shores. The Ancient Cedars & Rocky Bluffs section of the trail passes under the largest trees in the area, before emerging onto wild rocky bluffs. Down at the Artist Loops and Brown’s Beach, channel your inner artist as you watch the waves crash onto the coast from the Painter’s Perches.
The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve contains several beautiful trails. The pathways wind over boardwalks, along bogs, and into the heart of the rainforest. Sun-kissed beaches come alive with the thud of the ocean waves as they pummel into the sand.
Several kayak outfits operate out of Ucluelet and can get visitors out onto the Pacific. The harbour of Ucluelet offers glimpses of coastal islands and wildlife.
Multi-day kayak trips head from Ucluelet to the Broken Group Islands. Paddlers will glide over crystal-clear turquoise waters through the lush archipelago.
Watch the Wildlife
Wildlife watching is at its peak during the summer months. Bears comb the coast. Bald eagles soar overhead. Majestic humpback whales, on their journey north, appear from the depths. They make their grand entrance in summer on their way to the Pacific Northwest feeding grounds.
Grey whales pass by the West Coast in March and April during their great migration to Alaska. Instead of continuing north, some linger in Ucluelet’s coastal waters. The locals call them ‘resident’ greys. They remain for the season, before heading back down to Mexico in autumn.
With luck, visitors might catch a glimpse of a pod of orcas patrolling the waters off the coast.
Sea lions, both Californian and Stellar, love the waters around the West Coast. Along with the smaller harbour seals, the sea lions hang out around Ucluelet’s harbours and docks.
Bear watching tours run daily at low tide during the summer, offering visitors the opportunity to see these amazing animals forage along the rocky shores. Tours to see these amazing creatures are available by zodiac or covered vessel. Several companies in town run tours several times a day.
Fish Ucluelet’s Waters
The waters around Ucluelet are teeming with fish. Salmon and halibut from these waters are highly sought after all over the world. During the summer, from July to September, the salmon head up to their annual run in the Alberni Inlet. Some of the fish can reach a weight of up to 30lbs!
Crab, lingcod, rockfish, prawns, and shellfish are also harvested in the coastal waters. Ucluelet is an excellent base for fishing the Pacific. Fishing charters take experienced anglers and novices alike for full or half-day trips. With full-service marinas, knowledgeable guides, and packaging options, ocean angling is easily accessible.
Ride the Waves
Renowned worldwide as a surfing and paddle-boarding destination, the West Coast doesn’t disappoint. Visitors to the Ucluelet and Tofino can expect rolling waves, clear waters, and sandy beaches. Just 10 minutes from Ucluelet, water sports are king on Wickaninnish and Long Beach.
Surfing around Ucluelet is accessible to all levels, from seasoned pros to beginners. Surf shops in town offer rentals, lessons, and camps to acquaint visitors with the waves. Stand-up paddle boards provide the opportunity to float out onto calm harbours and shorelines. Twenty minutes from town, visitors can paddle on the glassy expanse of Kennedy Lake.
It’s no wonder they call Highway #4 ‘Canada’s Surf Highway.’
See It From The Sky
Far above the towering cedars, visitors can explore the pristine rainforest, blue waters, and snow-capped peaks by plane. Flightseeing opens a world of possibilities. Catch a glimpse of swimming whales to understand how large these mammals truly are. View the Barkley Sound from the sky, take a tour of the mountains to the east, or find a secluded beach. Many floatplane operators offer charters to take you where you want to go. The world of the West Coast is your oyster when you take to the skies.
Visitors can also take in a bird’s eye view while riding the thrilling zip line that hangs above the Kennedy River.
Take It All In
The sunsets out here are spectacular. Catch the last warm rays of the sun before it dips beneath the horizon at one of several vantage points. Head over to Amphitrite Point on the Wild Pacific Trail, and view the Pacific panorama as the sky darkens. Witness just how fast the sun disappears over the edge. Big Beach also offers a great spot to watch the sun go down. The West Coast sunset is one of Mother Nature’s finest shows. Sit back, relax, and take it all in.
Summer is full of excitement in Ucluelet. From vibrant culture to thriving ecosystems, summer here has something for everyone.
Come out and #DiscoverUcluelet.