Pachena Bay Campground provides opportunities for unforgettable experiences in and around Bamfield, BC with world-class attractions on the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island.
The campground is part of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation‘s commitment to sustainable and responsible economic development and furthering their vision of working together for a healthy, prosperous, and self-sustaining community.
Pachena Bay, approximately 3 km long and 1 km wide, faces the open Pacific Ocean to the southwest. At the head of the bay, directly in front of the campground, is a magnificent, natural sand beach approximately 1200 meters long. At low tide, the beach is nearly 200 meters wide, ideal for beachcombing, relaxing, jogging, other sports activities, and for observing abundant wildlife. Please be advised that ATV’s/ quads and motorbikes are not permitted on the beach.
If you’re looking to explore the area, there’s plenty to see and do. Here are just a few:
Village of Bamfield
Located three kilometres by gravel road from the campground, Bamfield is a historic coastal fishing community that evokes times past with old-style boardwalk along the water’s edge. The main “street” is an inlet of the ocean! East Bamfield is accessible by car, while West Bamfield is accessed via water taxi. Amenities of Bamfield include general stores, craft galleries, motel and pub, liquor store, restaurant, boat and car fuel, propane, boat moorage, fishing charters, diving and kayak rentals, eco-tours, day sailing and more.
West Coast Trail
The West Coast Trail, in Pacific Rim National Park, is world renowned and stretches 77 km across the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. Campers at Pachena Bay are welcome to take day-hikes along the trail; Pachena Light Station is a destination (please register with Parks Canada first).
The West Coast Trail is open for hiking from May 1 to September 30. Trail Information Centres are open daily, from 9 am to 5 pm during this period. Travel during the off-season is hazardous and not recommended.
Whether you are starting are ending your hike in Bamfield, the campsites at Pachena Bay are a great place to stay with your group.
In addition to day hikes along the West Coast Trail, you can also enjoy shorter, spectacular hikes to Cape Beale Headlands, Keeha Beach, Kicha Lake and to Bamfield. All hikes are through the rainforest and provide you with the chance to visit centuries-old trees in a magnificent and undisturbed ecosystem. The hikes to Cape Beale and Keeha Beach bring you to stunning, outer coast shorelines, directly exposed to the full power of the open Pacific Ocean.
Sportsfishing in the area around the campground is famous throughout the world. Anglers fishing Barkley Sound and offshore areas catch halibut, sockeye, chinook, chum and pink salmon. The prime fishing season is May to September. Charter packages can include boat, guide, gear, tackle and weather gear. There is a boat ramp and moorage available in Bamfield.
Enjoy a day cruise along the scenic Alberni Canal and into magnificent Barkley Sound aboard a historic and picturesque coastal steamer. The M.V. Frances Barkley runs year-round between Port Alberni and Bamfield. En route, be prepared for a spectacular show of west coast wildlife: bald eagles, black bears, sea lions, otters, grey whales, and orcas (killer whales).
From the campground, kayakers can explore the Pachena River, Pachena Bay, Seabird Islands, Clutus Point, Keeha Bay, Pachena Point and Cape Beale. You may witness soaring eagles, frolicking sea lions, majestic whales, prowling orcas (killer whales), or black bears foraging along the shore. Kayaks can be rented in Bamfield.
The MV Lady Rose provides service between Bamfield, Barkley Sound and Port Alberni, and will drop kayakers off in the Broken Group Islands of Pacific Rim National Park.
The marine ecology in the ocean waters around the Pachena Bay Campground offers some of the best diving in the world. A group of Canadian universities operates a research facility at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, and a group of American universities operates the School for Field Studies, also located in Bamfield, near the campground. Divers to the region can explore a wonderful underwater world, or examine sunken wrecks in the “Graveyard of the Pacific.” Scuba air is available nearby in Bamfield.
Some of the best opportunities for eco-tours are available around Pachena Bay. Whale-watching is popular, as whales migrate past Pachena Bay and Barkley Sound; some even enter inshore waters. Occasionally, whales can be seen from the campground, feeding along the shore near Clutus Point. There are eco-tour, sightseeing, whale watching, and day-sailing operators in Bamfield.