Guidebook

Vancouver Island's Legendary West Coast Trail

An unforgettable - and rightly famous - 75km trek on the spectacular West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Nick Keenan

Description

The West Coast Trail (WCT) is one of the most iconic and historic backpacking routes in Canada. This remote trail was originally established over 100 years ago as a means to rescue stranded sailors as the number of shipwrecks in the area increased.

The 75km trek through Pacific Rim National Park offers a great mix of terrain, from pristine sandy beaches to large rugged headlands; there’s never a dull moment on this trail. You will travel along some of the best beaches on Vancouver Island, climb lots of ladders, pull yourself over rivers on cable cars and hike through plenty of old growth forest.

It’s not just the landscape you get to enjoy on this trail, there is an abundance of wildlife that you could potentially see on trail too, such as black bears, cougars, whales and sea lions to name just a few.

You will spend the entire week camping on the beach in some awesome locations - there really isn’t a bad campground on this trail. They all have great views, especially if you stay up to watch the spectacular sunsets, which are well worth waiting for. If you happen to stay up a little longer you might even see the Milky Way shining overhead on a clear night.

The WCT is a must-do hike for anyone visiting Vancouver Island and you will struggle to find another 75km trail that offers such a memorable experience, whilst also being so accessible and well maintained. Make sure you take some dollars on the trail to fully enjoy the Crab shack at Nitnat Narrows, this is a fantastic luxury to have on a backcountry trip and not something you want to miss out on.

West Coast Trail Day 1
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

West Coast Trail Day 1

Vancouver Island
3 - 4 hrs
13.7 km
394 m
413 m
The start of an epic adventure on the world famous West Coast Trail
Moderate
Private
West Coast Trail Day 2
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

West Coast Trail Day 2

Vancouver Island
3 - 4 hrs
10.8 km
382 m
382 m
The day that has everything, beaches, ladders, cable cars & waterfalls; you see it all on this part of the trail.
Difficult
Private
West Coast Trail Day 3
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

West Coast Trail Day 3

Vancouver Island
4 - 5 hrs
16.7 km
319 m
344 m
A long day with beautiful beaches and the opportunity to get some awesome food at the Crab shack.
Moderate
Private
West Coast Trail Day 4
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

West Coast Trail Day 4

Vancouver Island
2 - 3 hrs
11.6 km
84 m
88 m
An almost entirely coastal day with yet more beautiful beaches and plenty of wildlife.
Moderate
Private
West Coast Trail Day 5
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

West Coast Trail Day 5

Vancouver Island
2 - 3 hrs
9.3 km
333 m
330 m
A challenging day negotiating a muddy inland route, but there are great views to be had along the way.
Difficult
Private
West Coast Trail Day 6
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

West Coast Trail Day 6

Vancouver Island
2 - 3 hrs
7.6 km
172 m
171 m
A fun day with great views, but some challenging boulders to test your scrambling skills.
Difficult
Private
West Coast Trail Day 7
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

West Coast Trail Day 7

Vancouver Island
2 - 3 hrs
6.2 km
387 m
383 m
The home straight on a long inland trail, before the ferry returns you to civilisation & post hike celebrations.
Difficult
Private