Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada

Travelling Safely on the West Coast Trail

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Travel in the backcountry requires special attention to safety. A considerable number of injuries on the West Coast Trail (WCT) involve unprepared, inexperienced hikers.

A Few Words of Advice

  • Take your time and enjoy your experience – Accidents and injuries occur when hikers are rushing, not paying attention to the terrain, tired, or hiking too late in the day. Respect the capabilities of the slowest group members. Take adequate rest breaks.
  • Wet, rainy weather – Increases the occurrences of physical injury and hypothermia significantly. Ensure your party is rested, warm, dry and well-fed.
  • Wait for safe conditions High tides and storms can lead to unsafe water levels so wait for safer conditions before crossing creeks and rivers.
  • Avoid crossing surge channels.
  • Learn to read tide tables – High tides can make beach walking difficult to impossible. Choose your route referring to both the Tofino Tide Tables and your WCT map.
  • Be aware of wildlife – You may encounter black bears, wolves and cougars along the trail.
  • Respect other visitors – Protect the quality of their experience.
  • Try camping without a fire – Use a stove.
  • Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Indian Reserves (IR) are private property – Stay on the main trail and obey all signs when on reserve lands. Guardians regularly patrol the trail and may be able to provide information about these areas.
  • Patrol cabins are for Guardians, not hikers.
  • Plants, animals, shells, fossils and artifacts are just some of the items that should remain where they are found so others can enjoy and discover them as well.