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The West Coast Trail

 

The West Coast Trail Map

The West Coast Trail

The amazing and world renowned 75k rainforest and beach hike through a world of breathtaking desolation and a massive array of shipwreck disasters that you quite literally can trip over

The West Coast Trail is incredible.  Everything about it is amazing.  From its wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to it's endless jaw dropping views.  And it's tough.  Very tough.  It is a trail that shouldn't exist.  Trails always form out of the easiest route worn down over the years.  This trail was formed out of necessity.  And the route is the only route.  Hemmed in by steep cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other, the route evolved where it shouldn't have.  Always wet, always up and down, thousands of creeks and canyons.  Even with all the construction of suspension bridges and ladders it's brutal.  And yearly, winter storms blast down impossibly enormous trees.

It's difficulty can be measured by its relatively short distance of 75km yet it takes 4-7 days to complete.  This is for two wonderful, spectacular and telling reasons.  First it is a jigsaw of a trail, up and down over endless chasms tangled with rainforest.  It just takes a long time to snake through.  The second reason is just too good to be true.  It's so beautiful.  Wildly beautiful.  And this is a phenomenon that the West Coast Trail is alive with.  It's unbelievably beautiful at every glance.  Everywhere you look.  This alone would secure this hike as one of the worlds best.  But there is another thing that combined with its beauty, makes it what it is.  The West Coast Trail.  This is a phenomenon that is seldom understood or explainable, but I'll try here.  It's tough.  The trail is brutal.  It's invariably raining.  So you are always wet.  This makes you soggy and crabby.  Tired and exhausted.  The treacherous trail in this wet is muddy, slippery and requires your full attention at every step.  This mesmerizes you as you hike.  You focus completely on your next step and your mind relaxes into a meditative state.  This is when it happens.  You look up, catch a glance of what's around you.  And it's marvelous.  This is it.  The West Coast Trail is a perfect combination of brutal difficulty and spectacular wildness and beauty.

The West Coast Trail, originally called the Dominion Life Saving Trail was built out of necessity because of the enormous number of shipwrecks that gave this stretch of ocean from Tofino to Victoria the brutal name, The Graveyard of the Pacific.  With at least 484 shipwrecks this trail formed to facilitate survivors walking to Victoria and rescuers hiking to help them.  It inevitably became a recreational hike in the last few decades.  It's difficulty, once it's worst trait, now it's defining feature.  It lies within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve which represents and protects three beautiful, coastal lowland forests.  Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail.

West Coast Trail

West Coast Trail

Darling River Falls

 

Day 1 In Pictures: The Pachena Trail-head to Darling Falls>>

Considerations for the West Coast Trail>>

 

Tofino Ucluelet Hiking Magazine - Radar Beach

 

 

The West Coast Trail CampsitesThe West Coast Trail Planning and ConsiderationsThe West Coast Trail Shipwrecks