Reservable West Coast Trail information
General hiking and camping information:
- Challenges of the West Coast Trail:
- The West Coast Trail Unit is a world-famous 75KM (47 mile) backcountry hiking trail between the towns of Bamfield and Port Renfrew on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This rugged hike is not for everyone. Your group's fitness, knowledge and skills must meet the challenges of the area.
- All hikers in your group must be prepared:
- For 6-8 days in the backcountry.
- For rugged, uneven ground. It takes approximately 3 days to travel the southern 22km of the trail between Gordon River and Walbran Creek.
- For slippery conditions on muddy trails, wooden surfaces, boulders and rocky shorelines.
- To wade rivers, negotiate steep slopes, climb ladders, use cable cars and follow an irregular trail.
- For damaged structures. While trail maintenance is a full time effort, wear and tear, storms and other factors may quickly change their condition.
- For a temperate rainforest climate. Rainfall averages 330 cm (130 in.) per year with heavy rainfall possible at any time. Floodwaters can delay hikers for days. Fog is common, especially in July and August. The average summer temperature is 14° Celsius (57° F). Incidents of hypothermia and physical injury increase significantly during prolonged wet periods.
- For accidents and injuries. It may take 24 hours or more before help arrives if an accident occurs.
- The West Coast Trail is for hikers who are:
- Experienced in overnight backpacking, experienced group leaders cannot compensate for inexperienced hikers.
- Able to hike long distances through rough terrain with a full backpack (recurring knee, back or ankle injuries are often aggravated on the trail).
- Prepared to have a wilderness experience.
- Able to wait if conditions warrant delays.
- The West Coast Tail is not recommended for children under 12. All party members must be at least 6 years of age - Parks Canada will not issue a WCT overnight permit to children under 6 years old.
- For general information, please visit http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/pacificrim or contact the national park reserve at 1-250-726-4212.
- Note: an experienced group leader will not compensate for inexperienced hikers.
- Operating season (nights):
- May 1st to October 7th, 2018
- Closed from October 8th - April 30th due to prolonged periods of heavy rain, strong winds, high tides, large waves, and short daylight hours.
- Reservable period (nights):
- May 1 to September 30, 2018
- Reservable percentage:
- 100% reservable
- WCT Overnight Use Permits are only available through the Parks Canada Reservation System. No spaces will be available for stand-by (first come first serve) hikers.
- Access points:
- Entrance points: Pachena Bay (north), Nitinaht Village (mid-point) and Gordon River (south).
- Exit points: Pachena Bay (north), Nitinaht Village (mid-point) and Gordon River (south).
- Note: Entrance or exit at any other point is not permitted unless an evacuation is required.
- Maximum length of stay:
- Maximum stay in the WCT is 14 days.
- Maximum group size:
- Maximum group size is 10
- Tents and persons per site:
- One tent per site. Maximum 6 people per tent.
- Quiet hours:
- Quiet hours from 11 pm to 7 am.
- Fire policy:
- Keep fires to a minimum, always below high tideline, and never in the forest. Do not burn wood any thicker than your wrist and ensure the fire has burned out completely before you leave the area. Never abandon a fire: smouldering fires have ignited, burning the ancient rainforest.
- Small fires below high tide line only; burn only driftwood, do not cut trees, extinguished by water not sand.
- Fires are not permitted between kilometers 34 and 38.
- Alcohol policy:
- West Coast Trail users are permitted to have alcohol on their campsite, but it is advised against as it is extra weight to carry. Glass vessels are discouraged as broken glass can be hazardous and difficult to pack out.
- Pet policy:
- Pets are NOT permitted. Pets can disturb wildlife, interfere with other visitors’ enjoyment of the area and can introduce disease to island wildlife.
- WCT orientation sessions:
- All users of the West Coast Trail (WCT) must participate in an hour orientation session. Reservations are not required for orientation sessions. The purpose of the orientation is to:
- Reduce the number of hiker injuries by addressing common safety issues.
- Reduce national park reserve user’s environmental impacts by providing backcountry etiquette information.
- Provide information to hikers about current issues and trail conditions.
- Provide a brief history of the West Coast Trail and its place in Canada's heritage.
- Issue permits, and where applicable, collect fees.
- Please bring your WCT Overnight Use Permit Reservation confirmation to orientation.
- Orientation sessions are offered at 10 am and 2 pm at the Gordon River Information Centre and at the Pachena Bay Information Centre. Hikers can attend a 2 pm orientation the day prior to their hike and leave early the next day. The first ferry to the south access point of the WCT across the Gordon River is at 8:30 am and the last ferry across Gordon River is at 3:30 pm.
- Orientation sessions are offered at the Nitinaht Visitor Centre at 8 am and 3:30 pm. An overnight stay at the Nitinaht village may be necessary prior to departing on the 9:00 am water taxi. The water taxi fee of $62.50 will be collected at the Nitinaht Visitor Centre.
- Hikers cannot attend orientations earlier than 1 day before their departure date, as the conditions of the trail are constantly changing.
- Note: All hikers must go through the WCT orientation even if they have hiked the trail several times, no exceptions.
Campground locations and description:
- Hikers with reservations will be issued a Pacific Rim National Park Reserve West Coast Trail Map when they register on the trail.
- Transportation to and from the WTC:
- Parks Canada provides this listing for the convenience of hikers. It is not intended as a testimonial for the services. Hikers make their own arrangements for transportation services. Reservations are recommended.
- Parking: Vehicles can be left at a number of locations near the trailheads, fees may apply. Ask for details at the WCT Information Centres.
- To Pachena Bay Trailhead, 5 km south of Bamfield:
- Drive on gravel logging roads from Port Alberni (2 hrs) or Duncan (3 hrs).
- Bus from Victoria (4 hrs), Nanaimo (3 hrs) with West Coast Trail Express.
- Ferry from Port Alberni (4 hrs) with Lady Rose Marine.
- Nitinaht Narrows to Nitinaht Village:
- The Nitinaht Lake Water Taxi leaves Nitinaht Village for the WCT at Nitinaht Narrows daily at 9:00 AM (subject to change).
- The Nitinaht Lake Water Taxi usually makes a trip at 5:00 PM from the Nitinaht Narrows back to Nitinaht Village.
- Nitinaht Village is a small, remote community: an overnight stay may be required. There are basic tourism services such as accommodations, campgrounds, phones, and some groceries. There are no banking or fuel services in the village of Nitinaht.
- To Gordon River Trailhead, 5 km north of Port Renfrew:
- Look for road signs to direct you to the Gordon River Trailhead as you enter Port Renfrew.
- Drive from Victoria via Highway 14 (2 hrs).
- Bus from Victoria (2 hrs) with West Coast Trail Express.
- Drive from Duncan (1.5hrs).
- Drive from Nanaimo (2 hrs) via Lake Cowichan.
- Between Port Renfrew, Nitinaht and Bamfield:
- Bus (3 hrs) with West Coast Trail Express.
- A shuttle service from Nitinaht Junction to Nitinaht village is included in the express bus fare to Nitinaht.
- Camping at each trailhead is offered on a first come first serve basis:
- Bamfield: Pachena Bay campground
- Port Renfrew: Pacheedaht campground
- Nitinaht Village: Ditidaht First Nations Campground
- WCT Day Users: Require a National Park Entry Pass (new to 2018) as well as a WCT Day Use Permit. Day users are persons entering and exiting the trail on the same day and from the same location.
- WCT Overnight Users: Require a National Park Entry Pass (new to 2018) as well as a WCT Overnight Use Permit and applicable ferry fees.
- Fees help support the cost of operating the WCT (e.g. rescue services, information services, regular maintenance, construction of ladders, cable cars and bridges).
- Ferry fees pay for passage across the Gordon River and Nitinaht Narrows. This service is provided by the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations throughout the hiking season.
- Ferry fees are paid at the time when the reservation is made. Your proof of payment is your WCT Overnight Use Permit. Be prepared to show this to the ferry operators. Hikers without valid ferry fees paid will be denied passage. If entering/existing at Nitinaht Village, the water taxi fee is collected at the Nitinaht Visitor Centre and not at the time the reservation is created.
- WCT Fees (as of January 2018):
- Reservation Fee $24.50
- WCT Overnight Use Fee $127.50
- Ferry Fee Gordon River $20.00
- Ferry Fee Nitinaht Narrows $20.00
- All fees are listed per person and in Canadian funds.
- The entire payment is due at the time the reservation is made. Payment can be made by VISA, MasterCard, or American Express.
- Visit our website or contact the national park reserve for an up-to-date fee schedule prior to your departure. Fees may change at any time.
- To avoid overcrowding, Parks Canada limits the number of overnight hikers during the peak hiking season. Overnight hikers can gain access to the trail by reserving their spot through the Parks Canada Reservation System. No spaces will be available for stand-by (first come first serve).
- Pachena Bay: 25 hikers
- Nitinaht Village: 20 hikers
- Gordon River: 25 hikers
- Reservations: we begin accepting reservations for the 2018 operating season online at www.reservation.parkscanada.gc.caor by phone at 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783) starting at 8 am PST on Monday January 8, 2018.
- Click here to learn more about the West Coast Trail before you make a reservation.
- When making a reservation, have the following ready:
- Preferred start dates – first choice and alternate dates.
- Trailhead you plan to start from; Gordon River, Nitinaht Village or Pachena Bay.
- Number of hikers in your group (maximum group size is 10).
- Hiker information for all hikers (first name, last name and emergency contact info)
- Email address to send confirmation and orientation information to
- Means of payment: Visa, MasterCard or American Express.
- Cancellation policy:
- When cancelling a reservation 21 days or more prior to the departure date, the WCT Overnight Use Fee and the ferry fees are fully refundable. The reservation fee of $24.50 per hiker is non-refundable and an $11.00 on-line (or $13.50 through the call centre) cancellation fee will apply per booking.
- Only ferry fees are eligible for a refund if cancellations are made within 20 days of the departure date (the non-refundable cancellation fee applies).
*Hikers entering/exiting at Nitinaht Village will have an additional water taxi fee (but will not have to pay all of the ferry fees – depending on itinerary).
If there is no vacancy for your dates:
The Juan de Fuca Trail is located just south of the WCT and it is operated by BC Parks:
For information on other activities and accommodation in the area contact:
- Tourism Tofino: 250-725-3414 www.tourismtofino.com
- Tourism Ucluelet: 250-726-4600 www.uclueletinfo.com
- Port Alberni: 250-724-6535 http://www.albernichamber.ca/visitor-info
- Port Renfrew: www.renfrewchamber.com
- Bamfield: www.bamfieldchamber.com
Require additional information?
- Cellular phones work on many of the beaches (check with your carrier to see if they have coverage in this area) or use a marine VHF radio
Boat and engine standards:
- The use of personal water craft (Seadoos, Wave Runners, Jet Skis, Super Jet, etc.) are prohibited in all units of the national park reserve due to the sensitive nesting habitat, important feeding grounds and haul out areas of marine mammals.
- Landing any recreational or commercial powered vessel ashore in order to supply or collect equipment or provisions, or to pick up or drop off people in the West Coast Trail Unit is a prohibited activity.
- Tide Tables:www.tides.gc.ca (Refer to the Tofino tide table)
- Climate Overview:http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/visit/ideale-best
- Current Weather: For current weather in Ucluelet please see Environment Canada’s website: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-5_metric_e.html
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve:
- Please visit our website for additional information on the trail such as trip planning, safety, recommended equipment and wildlife please visit http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/activ/activ6a and http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/visit/brochures to read our Preparation Guide or contact the
- WCT Visitor Centre - Pachena Bay (Bamfield): 250-728-3234 (daily from May 1 to Oct 5)
- WCT Visitor Centre - Gordon River (Port Renfrew): 250-647-5434 (daily from May 1 - Oct 5)
- National Park Reserve Administration: 250-726-4212 (Monday to Friday Oct. 6 – April 30)
For West Coast Trail, Green Point and Broken Group Islands reservations:
- 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783) 8 am to 6 pm local park time or www.reservation.parkscanada.gc.ca
General National Park Reserve information:
- 1-888-773-8888 (8 am to 8 pm Eastern Time, April to September, 10 am to 6 pm Eastern Time, October to March) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Terms and definitions
- Guests select the specific campsite or accommodation when they make their reservation. All front-country camping reservations made through the Parks Canada Reservation Service (PCRS) are site-specific reservations.
- Operating season (nights)
- The "operating season" is the nights that the campground is open. Sometimes the campgrounds are open for longer than the period for which they accept reservations. Any dates of the "operating season" outside of the "Reservable Period" are dates that the campground operates on a first come, first served basis only.
- Reservable period (nights)
- The "reservable period" is the nights for which you can make a camping or accommodation reservation. Note that many campgrounds may be open longer than this period, and operate outside of these dates on a first-come, first-served basis.
- The administration/entrance booth of a particular campground, this is where you "check-in" and register your arrival.
- Car, truck, motorcycle, truck-camper, motorhome, or recreational vehicle. A motor home pulling another vehicle may count as two vehicles.
- Camping unit
- Tent, tent-trailer, truck-camper, trailer, 5th wheel, motorhome or recreational vehicle.
- Serviced site
Refers to a campsite offering either electrical, water, and/or sewer hook-ups or any combination of these services directly on the campsite. Fully-serviced sites offer electrical, potable water, and sewer hook-ups. "Unserviced" sites do not offer any of these hook-ups.
The terms "serviced" and "unserviced" refer to the individual campsites; they do not refer to the washroom facilities or other amenities available at the campground.
- Drive-through site
- Campsite where the driver does not have to reverse their vehicle to exit (there is a separate entrance and exit to the individual campsite). Ideal for larger vehicles and trailers.
- Walk-in site
- Campsite which requires some degree of walking to access the site, and therefore requires a tent. Vehicle will be parked a short distance away.
- Overflow site
- Overflow campsites vary from park to park, and may range from a paved area to park a camping unit (not generally suitable for tents) to a more traditional, grassy site. They are unserviced and are not reservable.
- Accessible site
- A campsite which is accessible to guests with limited mobility.
A designated structure for campfires located on a campsite. Check availability, as not all campsites offer a fire pit. In some parks, a fire permit is required to have a fire.
In some parks, only communal firepits are available, and access is shared with other guests.
- Fire permit
- In some campgrounds, guests will require a valid fire permit to have a campfire. A fire permit may include firewood. Please refer to the ‘Fire policy’ section of the QRT for individual campground policies.
- In some campgrounds firewood is sold by the bundle, whereas in others a fire permit may give the holder access to the campground wood pile. Please refer to the ‘Fire policy’ section of the QRT for individual campground policies.
- First-come, first-served site
- Campsites that are available on a first come, first served basis only. These sites are only available to guests who are physically located at the campground. These sites cannot be registered over the telephone or on-line. These campsites may be available for only 1 night or for multiple nights depending on availability.
- Shoulder season
- Shoulder season refers to the season before and after the peak season. While many campgrounds remain open outside of their peak season, the services offered during this period may be limited (please check with the park for more details).
- Entrance pass
- A valid National Park Entrance Pass is required for all visitors to National Parks that have entry fees.
- Daily entrance pass
- A daily entrance pass permits visitor’s unlimited entry to the specified park on a per day basis for the period of time indicated.
- Annual/Seasonal entrance pass
- An annual or seasonal entrance pass permits visitor’s unlimited entry to the specified park for the period of time indicated.
- Parks Canada Discovery pass
- The Parks Canada Discovery Pass permits visitors unlimited entry to the participating Parks Canada national parks and national historic sites across Canada, for a period of 12 months.