West Coast Trail Itinerary
This itinerary is a sample only - the exact itinerary and daily distances of your trip will be dictated by factors such as weather and group strength, with the guides working within the parameters of safety and time.
The West Coast Trail pre-trip meeting takes place at 6:00 PM in Victoria’s Royal Scot Suite Hotel, in the meeting room we have reserved for this event. Here, you will meet with your guides, get to know the rest of your travel mates and receive instructions regarding what lies ahead as well as the distribution of the collective gear and food. Don’t stay up in the bar for too long because it will be a short night and you’ll have a good workout tomorrow, guaranteed!
Day 1 ~ Victoria - Port Renfrew (km 0) - Thrasher Cove (km 6)
Departure time is around 6:16 AM. The private shuttle van will pick us up at the Royal Scot. Approx. travel time is 2 – 2 ½ hours along a winding and bumpy road, taking us northwest to the small town of Port Renfrew, southern terminus of the West Coast Trail. Prior to the first crossing by boat over to the Gordon River Trailhead, we will attend an orientation session by Parks Canada. Finally, it’s time to shoulder our backpacks. Hike On! We’ll hike to Thrasher Cove today for a distance of 6 km and pass the highest point of the trail along the way. This relatively short section - all through forest - is difficult and ends with ladders down to the first camp. Operation West Coast Trail has started!
Day 2 ~ Thrasher Cove - Camper Bay (km 14)
Today’s hike over 8 km to Camper Bay is a strenuous and demanding trek along the coastline, over driftwood and boulders, around Owen Point, and then crossing small surge channels. The tides will dictate whether we can cover this section along the beach or will hike inland. This part of the trip is very difficult; the rewards are the beautiful sandstone cliffs, caverns and the ocean swell pounding against the rocks for a major part of the day. We then move inland into the rainforest to reach our camp and set in for the night. This day is full of highlights and we’ll find out why the West Coast Trail is considered one of the remaining great adventures of our time!
Day 3 ~ Camper Bay - Walbran Creek (km 23)
It is 9 km to Walbran Creek, our today’s destination. We’ll experience our first cable car crossing and this section of the trail - like all sections that lead through the forest - can be muddy, very muddy. The Sandstone Creek and Cullite Creek ladders are steep and the longest on the entire West Coast Trail. Next follows a trail section through the bog which is over a boardwalk to protect the forest floor below. We will then cross the Logan Creek suspension bridge, followed by more ladders. It will be a difficult day with mostly inland travel but through absolutely beautiful rainforest. Like Camper Creek, the slow moving waters of the Walbran Creek invite for a refreshing swim – a delight! And with a little luck, the red of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean will only be matched by the crackling campfire tonight.
Day 4 ~ Walbran Creek - Cribs Creek (km 34)
The hike to Cribs Creek is 11 km and follows the coastline around Vancouver Point, again if the tides are favorable, otherwise we will trek through the rainforest. This area can be muddy but the most difficult part of the West Coast Trail is now behind us! This hiking day will be moderate. On to Bonilla Point where along the way we witness gorgeous ocean scenery and beautiful sea stacks! For many, this section is quintessential West Coast Trail. Often Gray whales and perhaps by chance Orcas can be seen in the distance. Hiking on the shelf is now comfortable and the Carmanah Creek crossing is ahead. Take in the beauty of the resident seabird colony while we pick up our food drop at Chez Monique's. Equipped with fresh supplies, we will continue and visit the Carmanah Lighthouse. Once at camp, we will explore the fascinating tide pools at the cribs. A good part of this day is on the sandy beaches.
Day 5 ~ Cribs Creek - Tsusiat Falls (km 51)
It’s a big day today! The distance to the Tsusiat Falls is no less than 17 km! Needless to say that this will be the longest part of the trip; however it is a moderate hike. We will make our way along the coastline or through the rainforest to the Cheewhat River. The boardwalked trail to Nitinat Narrows is followed by a boat crossing operated by the local First Nations people. Some of the West Coast Trail’s most spectacular views are around Tsuquadrah Point. The last portion of the day’s hike will be along coastline and if possible, through Hole in the Wall at Tsusiat Point. Tsusiat Falls are nearby and considered by many to be the scenic culmination of the West Coast Trail with an amazing natural pool for swimming. It is a stunning, picture-perfect, world-class setting. This sight alone, to stay here, is worth all the effort!
Day 6 ~ Tsusiat Falls - Michigan Creek (km 64)
Today’s hike to Michigan Creek over 13 km is a moderate trek featuring ladders back to the trail, through rainforests, and often muddy ground. The last of the cable car crossings is over the Klanawa River. A short beach hike leads to the forested path over the Valencia Bluffs. It was here where the biggest tragedy along this coastline unfolded, leading to the creation of the West Coast Trail as a lifesaving trail for the shipwrecked, later protected as one of the units of Pacific Rim National Park. Depending on the tides, we will descend a ladder down to the beach from Tsucowis Creek and follow the coastline to Michigan Creek’s tide pools. Here, we pitch our tents in the soft Pacific sands for the last time on the West Coast Trail.
Day 7 ~ Michigan Creek - Bamfield (km 76) - Victoria
The hike to Pachena Bay Trailhead (Bamfield) is 12 km long and the easiest section of the entire West Coast Trail. The last section is along a generally good trail. One set of ladders yet to go, at the very end! The Pachena Lighthouse is a good last viewpoint along with a rock dotted with sea lions. Again the Gray whales may be seen near the entrance to Barkley Sound. Our transfer back to Victoria will no doubt be filled with a great sense of achievement mixed with just a bit of exhaustion. The many memories of the West Coast Trail will stay with us for a long, long time and some moments will be unforgettable. Arrival in Victoria approx. 07.00 pm.