FATMAP by Strava

Day 3 North Coast Trail

Vancouver Island

A very scenic day on trail with minimal inland routes, this is one of the best areas on trail to see an array of wildlife along the beaches.

Hiking Difficult

7.8 km
186 m
193 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
4 m
High Point
41 m
Day 3 North Coast Trail Map

Day 3 on the North coast trail will start to feel extremely remote - depending what time of year you hike this trail, it's very possible you won't see any other hikers on this section of trail. Due to how remote this trail is, having a VHF radio or Satellite communication device is highly recommended, it could be days before you are found by other hikers if you were to get injured on trail.


When leaving Cape Sutil the trail starts with a very wet and muddy inland section, this part of the trail is short but slow, but it's good to get it out of the way early, as it's then mainly enjoyable and scenic coastal hiking the entire way to Shuttleworth Bright.

If you happen to leave camp at low tide and don't mind doing an extra 1-2km, it is possible to skip this inland section. You can hike to the beach north of Cape Sutil, which you probably already visited on day 2, then at the end of the beach there is a float hanging in the trees that leads to a very short inland section that will bring you out on the other side of the headland. From there you just follow the coast and it eventually re-joins the main trial, this is a longer route, but much more scenic and quite fun to do.

Once you are back on the beach it's pretty enjoyable coastal hiking for a few KMs before the next inland section. Depending on the tide, there are a number of entry's to the next inland trail, if possible try get to the furthest one, as this is an overgrown and challenging inland trail to get off the beach. If you look at the attached photo of the rope and location on the map, you will be able to see the 3 different points to join this inland section. If you get here at high tide, you are stuck to using the first entry point, which is harder and slower than the beach route.

The coastal sections that follow are very scenic, offer great views and the chance to see some wildlife. This is difficult hiking though, even the coastal sections of this trail are on uneven rocky terrain, while this may seem like a short and easy day on a map, I can assure you this is a challenging but very rewarding trail.

There is a creek crossing just before the Shuttleworth Campground as a final hurdle before camp, but once you arrive at the campground you can enjoy the views of the beach, and choose to either camp on the beach if tides aren't too high, or set up on the wooden tent platforms in the campground.

Allow 3-5 hours to complete this route.



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

between May and October


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area