Find your way to the west coast of Canada and be prepared for some of the most scenic views in Canada. The Pacific Rim National Park has a rugged ocean coastline and hundreds of kilometers of dense rain forests, perfect for hiking and camping. This luscious area is one of British Columbia’s most popular National Parks. The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a hefty 511 square kilometers and is made up of three regions, Long Beach, The Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail. Wherever you decide to stay, I guarantee you’ll have a tough time leaving.
So you coughed up the $50 for the ferry ride to Vancouver Island, you’ve got your camping gear, now what? First off, you’re going to want to decide what you’ll be doing during your stay in the Pacific Rim National Park. This is going to be a tough decision. So choose wisely!
Things to do in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Because this national park is so incredibly massive, the availability of activities really depends on where you plan on staying. Some of the few activities that are possible in just about every region include Bird Watching, Fishing, and Whale or Sea Lion Watching. Personally, that seems like a lot of sitting and watching. If you want a little more adventure and want to work up a sweat. You’ll be glad to hear there are more options to choose from.
If you happen to be in the Long Beach area
So you’ve decided the Long Beach area is where you want to be huh? Lots to do in these parts. There are several licensed commercial tour operators in this area, so if you’d like to have a guide show you around, this is something you might be interested in. However, if playing the roll of “Lonewolf” better suits your personality, you’ll be happy to hear that there are numerous hiking trails and beaches around to gather your thoughts and stretch your legs. The Long Beach area is the only region that allows for bicycling in the area. However they do recommend you keep it to the beaches. If getting wet and salty is more your style, The Long Beach region is a great spot for ocean kayaking and canoeing. Most padddlers choose to launch from Grice bay when the tides are high. This gives you the best chance of spotting some of the large marina animals in the area. Just be warned, watch the tide! During low-tide, Grice Bay becomes a big mudflat and you might find yourself grounded. Parks Canada advises paddlers to read the tide tables before launching.
Find your own piece of paradise in the Broken Group Islands
This wild and lush chain of islands is perfect for any boat and marine fanatic. There are countless places to hike and hundreds of hidden coves and bays to explore. Over 5000 paddlers come here during the summer to take it all in. The one place that you should watch out for is the Loudoun and Imperial Eagle, as these can be the most dangerous places to find yourself paddling through. Locals typically advise visitors to avoid hauling out the canoe or kayak for these areas as the weather has the notorious habit of changing on a dime, causing the water in this area to be more unpredictable than a drunken prom date. It definitely helps to have a boat in in this region, so this area might be a little tough to do for those with only their backpacks on their backs.
Take on the rugged West Coast Trail
The West Coast Trail is the mecca of hiking trails in Canada. It’s been proud to proclaim itself the Best Hike in the World (according to BestHike.com) since 1999. So for those who don’t know, the West Coast Trail is a 75 km (47 miles) long backpacking trail that follows the south western edge of Vancouver Island. It’s typically open between May and September, however be sure to double check as damage to the trails by weather has been known to delay opening dates.
Quick fact: The west coast trail was originally designed to save shipwrecked survivors. Rescuers and survivors would use this trail to find their way back to civilization.
If you happen to find the guts to tackle the West Coast Trail, you’ll may or may not find comfort in hearing you’re not alone in the forest. Wildlife in the area include cougars, bears, wolves, whales, sea lions, along with hundreds of types of birds. So using your good judgment in this area should be on the top of your list of things to do in and around here. If you don’t plan on doing the typical 6 days hiking the trail, there are also day hikes available in the area.
As with just about any National Park, you can expect some camping fees to be included in your little escape from society. A daily entry will set you back $7.80, however if you plan on camping, expect to pay between $17.60 and $23.50, depending on amenities included in your campsite. If you plan on taking on the West Coast Trail, the cost is $127.50 per trip. For more information on prices, head to the Parks Canada Website
If you’d like more information, you can call the Pacific Rim National park Reserve at (250) 726-3500 or call for a camping reservation at 1-8877-737-3783.
One of the most popular campsite in the area is the Green Point Campground, which is located on Highway 4 between Ucluelet and Tofino. There’s plenty of RV and Campervan sites as well as lots of private sites for those tenting it. Each site has a picnic table and fire basket. There’s some great scenic views in this area and the beach is just a short walk from the campgrounds.
If you’d like to find a campground around Tofino there are a couple options:
Bella Pacifica Resort & Campground
400 MacKenzie Beach Road, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0 – (250) 725-3400
1850 Pacific Rim Highway, Tofino, BC – (250) 725-3314
If you’d prefer to find a campground near Ucluelet there is:
260 Seaplane Base Road, Ucluelet, BC – (250) 726-4355
Surf Junction Campground
2650 Tofino – Ucluelet Highway
Ucluelet, BC V0R 3A0 – (250) 726-7214
Camping in the Broken Chain islands has recently stopped, due to the cultural significance of the area to the Tseshaht First Nations. However visiting and paddling through the area is still allowed, so given the chance, you should try to see these parts.
Remember to dress for the weather while visiting the west coast. Vancouver Island can go from one extreme to another, so be sure to have some warm clothes for the night, along with any rain gear you think you’ll need. Despite the potential wet and cold, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is one well worth exploring. It’s a great launching point for checking out some of the hiking trails, beaches, and the famous Tofino Surf. Vancouver Island has lots to offer the budget traveller, and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is just one of the many gems in this group of islands.