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Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

The West Coast Trail: Hike of a Lifetime

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RESERVATIONS: Beginning 8:00 am (PST) on March 24, 2014, reservations for the West Coast Trail can be made for any date between June 15 and September 15 through the Parks Canada Reservation Service. Spaces fill quickly, so consider setting up an account prior to March 24.


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West Coast Trail: Hike of a Lifetime

Hiking the West Coast Trail (WCT) is a powerful experience. This 75 km hike can be daunting and difficult, but it offers countless moments of extreme beauty. So challenge yourself! Hike the WCT and cross one more thing off your life’s “To Do” list.

About the West Coast Trail

The WCT is one of three units within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Within the WCT, there are three distinct areas:

  1. WCT - a rugged trail through what was once a telegraph line and lifesaving route for shipwrecked mariners.
  2. Nitinat Triangle - situated adjacent to the WCT and part of the WCT Unit, this canoe route around three lakes offers some very challenging portages.
  3. Cape Beale Headlands - a low-lying area with two trails, one to Keeha Bay and the other to the Cape Beale Lighthouse that also includes a side trail to Talpaltos Beach.

History of the West Coast Trail

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Walking in our Ancestors’ Footsteps

Come experience the First Nation’s culture and relive the West Coast’s maritime history.

The Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations have always lived along Vancouver Island’s west coast. Ancient trails and paddling routes were used for trade and travel by the First Nations long before foreign sailing ships reached this region over 200 years ago.

Using First Nations trails, between 1888 -1890, the government erected a telegraph line attempting to establish communications between west coast villages, the newly established Cape Beale and Carmanah lighthouses, and larger communities beyond.

But it wasn’t enough. With the loss of over 125 lives after the wreck of the SS Valencia on January 22, 1906, the public demanded the government do more to help mariners along this coastline. In response, the government built Pachena Lighthouse, established lifesaving stations and improved the telegraph route. This became the Dominion Life Saving Trail for shipwreck victims and their rescuers. Today, you can follow in their century old footsteps!