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The.West.Coast.Trail

Recommended This Week

Avatar Grove - the Gnarliest Tree

Stanley Park Aerial VideoVargas Island Aerial VideoEast Sooke Park - Victoria Trails

Avatar Grove & Canada's Gnarliest Tree


Avatar Grove is moderately challenging, dog friendly and freeAvatar Grove and Canada's gnarliest tree is an amazing thing to see and finding it is half the fun.  The cute little town of Port Renfrew, know for it's logging, amazing fishing and home of one of the trailheads to the world renowned West Coast Trail, is now reworking it's image to include this fantastic wonder.  Dubbed Canada's gnarliest tree this mammoth cedar will surely leap from the unknown to the feature of millions of tourist photos in the coming days and years.  Avatar Grove is a 50 hectare area of old growth forest it has shot to prominence in this part of the world and groups everywhere you look are embracing it as something to be saved, admired and loved.  Not cut into lumber.  The Victoria based Ancient Forest Alliance is at the forefront of rescuing and protecting Avatar Forest.  They discovered, named and drove it into the world's eyes.  Avatar Grove is slowly growing into a hiking destination.  Wooden stars and a boardwalk is being constructed and seems to grow month to month.  There is even a viewing platform for the gnarly tree at an ideal location to take in the view.  Though Avatar Grove and Canada's gnarliest tree is a couple hours drive from Victoria, the drive is very scenic.  The various sections/trailheads of the Juan de Fuca Trail are all easy stops on the way to Avatar Grove.  East Sooke Park, Witty's Lagoon, Fort Rodd Hill and many more sights are also located along the way.

Upper Avatar Grove Trailhead

Avatar Grove Gnarliest Tree in Canada

Avatar Grove Hiking Trail Map

Avatar Grove - Directions


1. Drive to Port Renfrew along West Coast Hwy #14.  (2.5 hours from Victoria and excellent signs direct you the whole way)

2. Immediately upon reaching Port Renfrew turn RIGHT onto Deering Rd, ZERO YOUR ODOMETER.

3. At 0.2km cross a long one lane bridge over the San Juan River.

4. At 1.4km bear left.

5. At 2.7km pass the red West Coast Trail hiker registration building on your left.

6. At 3.9km bear left and cross another large, one lane bridge.

7. At 4.3km turn left at the T junction at the end of the bridge.

8. At 4.7km pass the turnoff to Pasheeda Shores on your left.

9. At 5.3km pass the turnoff to Port Renfrew Marina on your left.

10. At 9.3km bear left at the Braden Main sign.

11. At 9.5km cross a third large, one lane bridge, this one with incredible views.

12. At 10.4km bear right.

13. At 11.0km pass the little white 42K sign.

14. At 11.2km cross the little bridge and immediately park on your right.  From where you parked, look for the Upper Avatar Grove trailhead sign and stairs ascending into the forest on the left side of the road.  From the trailhead to the gnarly tree is about a 10 minute walk through steep terrain.  The Lower Avatar Grove is on the right side of the road and descends quickly into the forest.

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More Trails on the Drive to Avatar Grove


Fort Rodd Hill and Fisguard Lighthouse in VictoriaAvatar Grove is moderately challenging, dog friendly and freeFort Rodd Hill is astonishingly beautiful and incredibly interesting as a tourist attraction in Victoria that most never see.  This fact is amazing as it is wonderful and unquestionably, or at least arguably, as good or better than any other attraction around.  And at $3.90, what a phenomenal deal.  You can crawl all over all the real pre World War I era defensive structures and even play with and all but fire a genuine World War II Anti-Aircraft Gun... which astonishingly is in the parking lot.  Fort Witty's Lagoon Regional ParkRodd Hill has so much to see it spills onto the parking lot.  What unbelievable place! Witty's Lagoon Regional Park is a great network of trails and boardwalks that meander through an impressive Douglas-fir forest leading to the wonderful beach at Witty's Lagoon.  The trails total over 5k, however, can be hiked in smaller sections.  Many just head to the beach and lagoon and avoid the trails, but the trails are well worth a look. The trails run around the lagoon with great ocean and wildlife scenery.  Sitting Lady Falls is wonderfully viewed from the very nice boardwalk.  Expect to take two hours if you walk most of the trails and far more if East Sooke Park - Victoria Hiking Trailsyou stay to explore the beach and lagoon.  East Sooke Regional Park is a convenient and easily accessible way to experience the wild, west coast of Vancouver Island.  Weather blasted rocky cliffs, sandy beaches and deep coastal forest trails run throughout the park.  Every few minutes along the coast you come to another startlingly desolate ocean vantage point.  Everything about East Sooke Park is just great and should not be missed on a trip to Victoria anytime of Sooke Potholes Provincial Park - Victoria Hiking Trailsthe year.  The sheer size of this park and number of trails, over 50 kilometres of them.  The Coastal Trail, almost 12 kilometres long, stretches out linearly in an array of pocket beaches, rocky viewpoints and fantastically alive tide pools.  It hugs the cliff, ducks into the forest and back out to another stunning ocean viewpoint.  Sooke is a wonderful coastal town with amazingly deep and beautiful forests, lakes and rivers.  The Juan de Fuca Trail - Hiking in VictoriaSooke Potholes is an extraordinary example of this.  Over thousands of years swirling water have created amazingly deep pools in this otherwise, massive and crashing river.  This has created an astonishing river-world fun park of sorts.  Cliffs, fallen trees, rock outcrops over the river.  Nothing, including the river ever runs in anything close to a straight line.  So many amazing vantage points, so many unbelievable swimming spots.  If you are interested in venturing further, you can follow the potholes for quite a distance.  About 3k in fact, as they snake through the river valley.  The Juan de Fuca Trail is an incredible part of Vancouver Island.  Wild and beautiful, and accessible.  All along the 47km length there are convenient access points.  It's wild, and beautiful, and varied, and deep in the wild rainforest of the coast.  From the beautiful flowers of Victoria to the wild and majestic forest of the Juan de Fuca Trail, the drive just to get to it is beautiful.

Victoria Hiking Trails Map

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