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Great Outdoors, Life

Beautiful BC: The West Coast Trail is the ultimate BC experience

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Daily Hive Staff Aug 29, 2017 10:23 am 3,005

This is the big one.

The 75 km West Coast trail is not for the faint of heart—and definitely not for the unprepared.

Steep ladders, slippery walkways, and ever-looming exhaustion are only a few of the many obstacles to overcome throughout the five to eight days it usually takes hikers to finish the trail. But it is an incredibly rewarding experience for those who make it.

And no, not everybody makes it.

Make sure you read up on the dangers of hiking and what to pack before you head out, and have fun out there.

Note that the West Coast Trail is only open from May 1 to September 30, and you need to reserve a spot to be allowed onto the trail.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from North Shore Rescue and AdventureSmart.

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Roughly 70 hikers have to be evacuated from the trail every year due to serious injuries ranging from broken ankles to knocked skulls. Another 200 or so receive minor injuries, but manage to make their way off the trail under their own power.

Seriously, this is only for experienced hikers with the proper equipment, knowledge, and ability.

However, once those 75 km of dangerous wilderness are finally conquered, it is a life-changing experience.

Hikers will see all sorts of Canadian wildlife along the trail, from birds in the trees to sea creatures swimming in the Pacific Ocean. The sights are astounding (it is BC after all), and the sense of accomplishment at the end is indescribable.

Where is it?

The West Coast Trail spans 75 km up the west coast of Vancouver Island, from it’s southern end near Port Renfrew to its northern trailhead at Bamfield.

How do you get there?

Getting to the West Coast Trail is a lot easier than getting onto the West Coast Trail.

Anyone hoping to conquer one of North America’s most demanding backcountry trails will need to make a reservation for entrance onto the trail, pay some fees, get overnight camping permits, and go through an orientation before being allowed to depart.

Once you have all of that squared away, getting to the trailheads will be the easiest part of your trip.

From Downtown Vancouver, the trip takes a little more than five hours. Drive to Horseshoe Bay, take a ferry to Nanaimo, then drive south on the Trans-Canada Highway and east on the Cowichan Valley Highway until you reach Port Refrew. A ferry will then be required to reach the Gordon River Trailhead.

If you are hoping to start at the northern Pachena Bay starting point, you’ll have to go through Port Alberni from Nanaimo, then take Franklin River Road down to Bamfield.

Those going by public transit can reserve a spot on a shuttle bus from Victoria or Nanaimo. Websites can be found here and here.

My friends and hiking buddies #westcoasttrail

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What’s there?

The trail is a jaw-dropping stretch of rugged terrain, unpredictable weather, slippery walkways, and a whole lot of mud. There’s also countless species of wildlife, crashing oceans, undisturbed beaches, and a quiet isolation not found anywhere else.

We’re sure that somewhere along the way there’s a new-found appreciation for dry sock, as well.

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Tobin and the ladder #westcoasttrail #ladders #familylife #hiking #rainforest #bebolder

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When the weather rolls in……. Stay out and experience it!!!

A post shared by Corrin Fairbrother (@corrin_fairbrother) on

North of Owens Point in the WCT. #westcoasttrail #hiking #vancouverisland #backpack #packpacking #canada #bc

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For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from North Shore Rescue and AdventureSmart.

See also

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Daily Hive Staff
Launched on June 1, 2016, Daily Hive is the evolution of Vancity Buzz and is now in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

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