The West Coast Trail is a 75-km long hike between the Vancouver Island communities of Bamfield and Port Renfrew, BC. The world renown multi-day backpacking trail is a challenge for even the most seasoned hikers and brings over 7,500 backpackers from around the world to the beautiful traditional territory our people, the Huu-ay-aht as well as the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht Nations.
West Coast Trail History
Our people have lived on the west side of Vancouver Island for over 10,000 years. Our ancestors created ancient paths and paddling routes that were used for trade and travel. Camps and villages existed along the coast before the arrival of Europeans.
As more ships travelled the west coast of Vancouver Island during the 1900’s, they navigated over reef and rocks during storms and big swells. Shipwrecks were quite common and stranded sailors ended up on the desolate coast. A trail was created that improved and linked the ancient pathways of our peoples. A telegraph line and six emergency shelters with provisions were built and was called the Dominion Life Saving Trail.
In 1970, the Canadian Government created a new Park called Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and three years the life-saving trail was brought under the management of the Park board.
Hiking the West Coast Trail
This is one of the most challenging hikes in North America. But with the challenges come spectacular beauty.
The hike wanders along the coastline through old growth forests, sandy beaches, rocky headlands, slippery, root laden sections and navigates up and down many ladders. Doing all of this while carrying a week’s worth of food and your gear on your back, makes for a rewarding experience.
This hiking trail is not for the inexperienced. Being fit before the start of the trip is key to truly enjoying every minute of the day.
Most people take 5-7 days to complete the trail and there are designated campsites along the trail which ensure everyone has a place to lay their head at the end of each day. It is recommended by Parks Canada that you leave each campsite at least 5 hours before sunset to have time to make it to the next West Coast Trail campsite.
West Coast Trail Campsites
Whether you are starting are ending your hike in Bamfield, the campsites at Pachena Bay are a great place to stay with your group. Situated very close by car to Bamfield, BC, there are waterfront and forested campsites for small and large groups. We have full-service sites and well as basic tenting sites with a picnic table.
Our common areas have a washhouse, hot showers and flush toilets. We have staff on site to answer any questions you may have during your stay.
Being one of the most popular trails in Canada for hikers from around the world, bookings should be made well in advance of your travels. The reservations are necessary as there are a limited number of hikers allowed to start on the trail on any given day of the hiking season.
When making your booking you will need to have the following information ready as well as a means of payment
- Preferred start dates
- Number of people in your group
- Names and emergency contacts
- Point of departure – Pachena Bay, Gordon River or Nitinaht Village
Reserve Your Campsite At Pachena Bay Campground
Whether you are starting or ending the West Coast Trail at Pachena Bay, our beautiful, reservable campsites are an excellent spot to pitch your tent.