We truly had a fantastic hike! We appreciate all the organizing and coordinating in making it a wonderful time. Thank you for all of your lugging and slugging! It was an unforgettable time!
--Carol, Carla, Liz, (Ontario) and Sabine (Austria)
I also very much appreciated both your help (and patience!). It was definitely an incredible trip and one I won't ever forget.
--Tracy, British Columbia
The guides were very very professional and I felt very safe in terrain which is different from North Yorkshire. They produced meals from those rucksacks which my husband thought I was pulling his leg. We did see some envious looks from fellow campers too.
--Kate, Scarborough, Great Britain
Thank you for an excellent West Coast Trail trip. I really appreciate all your hard work and guiding skills. It is what made the trip so memorable.
--Kevin, Northwest Territories
We had a great time and all the aches and pains were worth it!! By the time we got back to my house we were feeling great. Elaine felt very proud of herself. Anyhow, I think you are amazing guide and I hope we didn't wear you out!
--Denise and Elaine, Calgary
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The West Coast Trail is the classic coastal hiking trip. Travel through breathtaking coastal temperate rainforest, on sandstone sea shelf, and through woody trail. This 75 km backpacking hike was made as a stranded mariners' lifeline. Exploring the tide pools and hiking the beaches can make the trip unforgettable, but sighting the whales and other wildlife living in this area is the gravy on top. Throw in the history and geography and you've got an unforgettable nine day hiking adventure that will stay with you for the rest of your life. The West Coast Trail is full of wonderful surprises: from the burger stand in the middle of the trek to the two Canadian Coast Guard lighthouses right off the trail, you will be fed with experiences that leave you full and happy.
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This is our typical itinerary. (Because we are travelling in wilderness, itineraries can change. There are many factors that can affect how a tour actually runs.)
This trip begins on Vancouver Island, in Victoria where we will arrange your pickup, to drive to the beginning of the trail (pick up locations Victoria, Sidney, and Swartz Bay). The following itinerary is our ideal, and we most often manage it; however, sometimes we need to adjust the itinerary, due to weather, tides, trail conditions, group ability, and various other factors. We plan to take you to all the amazing, best places along the trail, but your safety is paramount, and sometimes we must alter the daily itinerary.
Day 1-Travel Day: Pick up downtown Victoria 0830 – 0900, Travelodge 09:15, Swartz Bay 09:35 (Your guide will confirm times the day prior to tour).
We then drive to Port Renfrew (stopping in or near Sooke for you to buy some lunch). Set up camp and attend the WCT orientation from Pacific Rim National Park. We then do our own gear orientation, to help you ensure your pack fits well and is loaded efficiently. Following this, we go to a local restaurant in Port Renfrew for dinner (cost not included).
Day 2 - Gordon River - Thrasher Cove: 6 km (5 – 6 hrs) Rise by 6:00 pack up and enjoy breakfast, and to be ready to walk to the ferry across Port San Juan to the trailhead. lunch on the way. The trail in this section of the hike can be some of the most challenging, with lots of roots to step over, and the highest point on the trail to be ascended and descended. Much of the day hikers have their eyes on the trail and their feet, to avoid tripping. We stop at an old donkey engine for lunch. Other stops along the way to rest, make equipment adjustments and take photos. After reaching the junction between Camper Bay and Thrasher, we descend to Thrasher Cove. This section takes about 1 hour. We Camp, and dine on the beach around a welcoming campfire and hear stories of ship wrecks.
Day 3 – Thrasher Cove – Camper Bay: 8 km (6 – 8 hrs) We pack up, and enjoy breakfast before beginning the day, by maneuvering over and around the boulders and pocket beaches, toward Owen Point (tide dependent section). Stopping at Owen point for photos, before travelling along the sandstone shelf, to one of the forest access points, where we stop for a well earnt lunch. After lunch we continue through the lush rain-forested trail to Camper Bay, where we cross the river, either by cable car, or on stepping stones (if the water is low enough). We have now reached our next night's camp, where your guides will boil water for an afternoon beverage, and begin dinner preparation. There is opportunity here for you to bathe and refresh yourself in the creek next to the camp.
Day 4 – Camper Bay – Walbran Creek: 9 km (7 – 10 hrs) We are up very early for breakfast to begin the long day to Walbran Creek. This is one of the most varied days. If the tides are right, we take a route along the sandstone a sea level, crossing a few surge channels before climbing off the shelf, and hiking up the spectacular Sandstone Creek to the inland trail (The sandstone section of the trail is little known by other hikers, as it requires guide experience and careful tide planning). Once on the main forested trail we begin to ascend and descent some of the longest ladders on the trail. The first being out of Sandstone creek, followed by the ladders at Cullite Creek, often a nice spot for lunch. After lunch, we make our way to Logan Creek and the final set of major ladders for the day. Following this we hike along board walk, through an environmentally sensitive, upland bog region. Here we marvel at Bonsai cedar trees, insect-eating Sundew plants, Labrador Tea, and many other indigenous plants. After the up-land bog, we continue again through lush rain-forest to Walbran Creek, arriving late afternoon. A refreshing dip, in the inviting creek pool by the camp is a welcome treat, before a warm drink and a well earned, hearty dinner, and hear stories of ship wrecks.
Day 5 – Walbran Creek – Cribs Creek: 11 km (5 – 6 hrs) A welcome sleep-in is warranted today, the toughest part of the trail now behind us, we amble along the beach, at a more leisurely pace, exploring tide pools, and watching crabs scurry along, at the sound of our boots approaching. We round, Vancouver point, then Bonilla Point, where we get our first glimpse of one of the Carmanah Light station. We stop at Bonilla creek to check out the beautiful waterfall, and remains of an old ship wreck. We hike past picturesque sea stacks, across the Carmanah Creek, and are drawn along the final stretch of beach to Chez Monique’s, by the promise of one of the “famous” burgers (vegetarian or Angus beef), and beer, yes I’ll say that louder BEER, if you want, and other goodies to keep you motivated. We pick up our food drop here, then after lunch and a relaxed rest we visit Carmanah Light Station, view the Sea lions, then continue for about another hour and a half, through forest and on beach to Cribs Creek. We spend the night here watching for surfing sea lions and Gray Whales.
Day 6 - Cribs Creek – Tsuqadra 12 km (6 - 8 hrs) We begin walking along the magnificent natural rock break wall from Cribs creek, with tide-pools, watching again for surfing sea-lions. This is a truly incredible place! Most of the morning is along beach and shelf until we reach the Cheewhat River. Here we enter the forest and travel along boardwalk until we reach the Nitinat Narrows for a fresh crab, or fish and baked potato lunch, with the option for more beer or soft drink (this is approximately $30 per person, and not included in trip cost, so be sure to bring some cash with you), we then hike on to our next beach campsite, a secret wild camping gem. There is once again an opportunity to bathe, and relax before dinner, listen to amazing stories of bravery, heroism, and struggles of early settlers and First Nations. We are often treated to sightings of Grey whales feeding very close to shore at this location.
Day 7 – Tsquadra – Klanawa via Tsusiat Falls 9 km (4-6 hrs) This morning we leisurely break camp, and make our way to the ancient Ditidaht Warrior Camp, where we will meet one of the Ditidaht First Nations guardians, for a short cultural interpretation on the historic significance of the area. Following this we will make our way to “Hole in the Wall”, and then on to Tsusiat Falls, where we will stop for lunch. A refreshing dip under the falls, is a high light for many hikers. We then ascent a set of ladders to continue along the cliff tops, enjoying breath taking views from this vantage point. Later descending to Klanawa Creek, before we take the cable car across the creek and arrive at our camp for the night, where we can often enjoy another refreshing dip in the river.
Day 8 – Klanawa Creek – Darling River, or Michigan Creek: 8 – 11 km (4 – 6 hrs) The hiking gets progressively easier at this end of the trail. We begin along the beach and alternate between inland trail, and beach/sea shelf walking, first to Tscowis, where we stop for lunch, and if the tides are favourable a short side trip (pack free) back toward where the Valencia ran aground in1906, leading to the creation of the West Coast Trail (Ship wrecked Mariner’s Trail). Here by a peaceful waterfall we pause for thought for all those lost to the sea. After lunch we make our way along the beach to Darling River and Michigan Creek. We will stay at one of these beautiful beaches for our last night, savouring our experiences of our journey around the campfire, and preparing ourselves for re-entry into the busy world.
Day 9- Darling River/ Michigan Creek – Pachena Bay: 12 – 14 km (4 – 6 hrs) Our packs are lighter, and our spirits are high as we head off after breakfast, by about 7:30. We travel the last 12 km of easy trail to the Pachena Trailhead. Oh yes! Lest you forget the trials of the trail, there is still some MUD today. We stop at Pachena light station, and the Sea lion rock to watch the social antics of the massive male sea lion in his harem. The feeling of achievement is intensified as we walk the final section of the beach trail, leading to the Park office and trailhead. We congratulate one another, take photos, weigh out our packs, and check out of trail. We will be met by our bus driver, who will have a delightful lunch, with lots of fresh vegetables, and fruits, ready for us. If you stored belongings with us, these will be in the van waiting for you. We make our way back to the populated world of lattes and showers.
If travelling back with us on the bus, it is a journey along rough roads to civilization, either via Port Alberni, or directly through Cowichan Lake, depending on where people are travelling to after the hike. Drop off is usually between 5:00 and 9:00 pm in Victoria (depending on your destination, and the traffic). This day can be quite a rush at times as we get back to the van and ready for the drive back. Timing is sometimes an issue if participants are catching ferries to the mainland on this day. Sometimes this limits stops on the return journey. If you need to be dropped off in Bamfield, Port Alberni, or Nanaimo to catch a on going transport, please let us know before the trip so we can plan for everyone’s needs.
There are other transport options available for those travelling to Tofino / Ucluelet, or wishing for a faster journey back to Victoria. These include: a water taxi service to Ucluelet, and flights directly from Bamfield to Tofino, and to Victoria. If you are interested in any of these options please let me know and I can help you arrange this.
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Coastal Bliss provides the essential elements of the hike for you:
- Transportation from and to the departure location
- All park fees for the West Coast Trail
- Professional guides
- All meals (except on travel days)
- tent (shared)
- gear rental options
- A substantial preparation guide
We can't provide everything. You will have to provide:
- Hiking Boots
- Some food (on travel days)
- Your transportation to the departure location
- Accommodation before or after the trip
- Backpack (available for rent)
- Sleeping bags or mats (available for rent)
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If you are travelling into the Vancouver, Victoria, or Nanaimo area from afar, you should arrive at the departure location for your trip the day/evening prior to the trip start date and plan to leave the day following trip return. Try the following Canadian online travel booker: flightnetwork.com.
You can fly to Vancouver (airport code YVR) or Seattle (airport code SEA) then connect to Vancouver Island using ferry, bus, or air, or arrange flights directly to Vancouver Island.
Flying to Victoria (Airport code YYJ)
Flying to Nanaimo (Airport code YCD)
Nanaimo Airporter shuttle service.
Servicing all of Vancouver Island from airports to ferrys to cruise ship terminals. Tel: 1 250 758-2133
BC Ferries 1-888-BC FERRY (1-888-223-3779)
We will let you know the ferry to take for travelling to Vancouver Island, but if you want to check out times, you can go the the BC Ferries website at:
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Vancouver Pick up & Hotels
Accent Inn, Vancouver Airport
10551 St. Edwards Dr. (off Hwy #99)
Richmond B.C. V6X 3L8
Ph: 604-273-3311 Fx: 604-273-9522
(Our guests may be able to receive a discount at Accent Inn, contact us for details.)
Victoria Pick up & Airport Hotels
Pick up: Schwartz Bay Ferry Terminal, or the following Accommodations near the ferry or airport:
Travelodge Sydney Airport Hotel
Travelodge may offer Coastal Bliss Guests a lower rate per night (ask us for the discount code before you book) and is an easy place for us to pick you up/drop you off before and after your tour with us.
2280 Beacon Avenue, Sidney, BC, CA, V8L 1X1
Phone:1 250 656 1176
If you are staying in Victoria after the tour, consider these near downtown Victoria accommodations:
The Strathcona Hotel
Address: 919 Douglas Street, Victoria B.C.
Ocean Island Inn
Address: 791 Pandora Ave. Victoria BC, Canada
Phone: Toll Free 1.888.888.4180
229 Gorge Road East
Victoria, BC V9A 1L1
Toll-Free Reservations: 1-800-565-3777
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How you prepare for your adventure is important. Being well prepared will enhance the quality of your experience. Because we are travelling in wilderness, it is very important for you and for the rest of your adventure group that you are fit enough to handle the level of difficulty and demand with no problems. Our guides know how to minimize the impact of these demands as much as possible, but they cannot remove them. The depth of your experience can only increase if you have made sure that you have prepared well.
Your preparation will be different for different activities. Preparing for a kayak trip is different from preparing for a hiking trip. We have provided some basic information that can be downloaded through the following links to pdf documents. If you do not have the Adobe Reader, you can download it from the Adobe site by clicking here.
Use the links below to download some of the preparation files for this hiking tour. When you book your tour, we will send you a complete preparation packet to help you get ready. We've also included a couple of infographics to help you along.
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We have gear available to rent if you don't want to buy a particular piece of equipment, or need to travel without it.
Look over the following list to help you decide whether you want to rent. If you decide to rent gear, you can tell us on the phone or book it online with your tour.
|Sherpa for Hiking Tours||$2399.00|
|Sleeping Bag Rental||$55.00|
|Rental Bundle 1-Sleeping Bag+Thermarest+Gaiters or hiking pole||$80.00|
|Hiking Pole Rental (one)||$7.50|
|Rental Bundle 2-backpack+gaiters+hiking pole||$76.00|
|Rental Bundle 3-backpack+sleeping bag+Thermarest||$117.00|
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