West Coast Trail
Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Photos and article by Darin Riedel

Gordon Head
Depending on which direction you wish to take, this is the start or the end. It was the start for us, but either way, you have to take a boat from here to Port Renfrew, across the bay.

Thrasher Cove
The first night for most going from south to north.

Owen Point
A walk through cave at Owen Point marks the point where the trail turns to a northerly direction up the coast. The cave is all sandstone which has eroded slowly over time.

Owen Point
Looking south as we leave Owen Point, over the tidal shelf which is traversable only during low tide.

Cullite Cove
Our second night. Beautifully cut sandstone cliffs on either side of an emerald green ocean stretching to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula.

Cullite Cove Campsite
As beautiful as Cullite Cove is you need to get there early if you wish to overnight there as campsites are scarce.

Suspension Bridge
Throughout the trail are suspension bridges and ladders. A convenience not shared by earlier users of this trail 40 years ago.

Ladders
One of the characteristics of this 74 kilometer trail is the extensive vertical ladders dropping you into and lifting you out of the seemingly infinite number of ravines throughout the trail.

Board Walks
An otherwise knee deep marsh has been tracked with (in some parts) several kilometers of boardwalks.

Trolleys
Another modern convenience is the number of trolleys spanning across the deeper rivers such as the Caramana and Walbran rivers.

Clearing with a view!
A small clearing in the thick canopy of rainforest reveals an elevated view of the ocean and thick morning mist.

Bonilla Point
Approaching Bonilla Point, although the beach is flat the sand makes walking with a 50 pound pack painfully exhausting as the energy from each step is absorbed by the loose sand.

Bonilla Point
Bonilla Point with Caramanah Lighthouse in the far background.

Snack Attack!
Two kilometers south of Caramanah lighthouse a resident native family has set up an oasis of chocolate, beer and pop in an otherwise granola eating environment. The next morning I enjoyed "stick to your ribs" pancakes with maple syrup.

Carmanah Lighthouse
A nice place to stop for lunch and watch the sea lions, Caramanah Lighthouse marks the halfway point on the trail. One of the last few manned lighthouses on the west coast, the residents are all too happy to tell you all about the history of the lighthouse.

Carmanah Point north
Just north of the Caramana lighthouse a stretch of beach reveals the northern half of the trail. Note: the farthest reach of land in the mid left of the picture is Pachena Point (10 km from trails end).

Cheewat River
The Cheewat river on the Dittidat Native Reserve emulates a ghost like presence while hiking through this area.

Cheewat River bridge
Another suspension bridge spans over the Cheewat River.

Tsusiat Falls
Great place for an overnight camp!

Tsusiat Falls
Even on a rainy day Tsusiat falls is a marvelous sight and a great place to spend the night with a water fall to the east and ocean to the west.

Pachena Lighthouse
10 km from the northern trail head this lighthouse has an interesting history worth hearing if you’re lucky enough to hear the story.

Pachena Bay
Beautiful Pachena Bay was once historically home to the Pachena Native Tribe before it was flooded by a tidal wave from an earthquake in the Pacific.

Learn more about Pacific Rim National Park & The West Coast Trail


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