Aerial view of Nitinaht entrance
© Ditidaht First Nation

The West Coast Trail is a marquee adventure for the serious hiker. But a six to eight day hike can be intimidating, even to the most seasoned adventure seeker. A mid-point entrance at Nitinaht Narrows (only accessible by water from Nitinaht Village), allows hikers to tackle a shorter portion of the West Coast Trail.

Hikers using the Nitinaht Village Trailhead should plan for the same rigorous and challenging excursion as those hiking the entire length of the West Coast Trail.

Reservations for the West Coast Trail open at 8 a.m. (PST) on January 8, 2018. Start planning your adventure today! Don’t forget to read our West Coast Trail Preparation Guide to ensure you’re well prepared for the best experience possible.


Comfort tents – Ditidaht First Nation

Don’t miss your opportunity to start or end your trip with a little more comfort by booking a night in the Ditidaht First Nation’s Comfort Tents at Tsuquadra Point. These canvas wall tents offer a wood burning stove with firewood, cots, a table and chairs, and an outdoor deck with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. This unique tenting experience is maintained by the Ditidaht First Nation, who welcome you to their traditional territory. Weekend packages are available. 


Itineraries

Want to know what an itinerary from the Nitinaht Village Trailhead might look like? The itineraries below are only suggestions and can be modified to suit hikers’ abilities.

A young woman crossing a suspension bridge.

Travelling south – Nitinaht Narrows to Gordon River (42 km in total)

Day 1: Nitinaht Narrows to Cribs Creek
  • Mile marker: 32.5 km to 42 km
  • Travel distance: 9.5 km
  • Points of interest:
  • 38 km - An anchor, and just past it the Dare Shipwreck, lie amongst the rocks in plain view.
  • 39 km - Dare Beach is a nice, though narrow, patch of beach in an area of almost entirely rocky coastline.
  • 42 km - Cribs Creek features a natural breakwater along with many tide pools.
  • Itinerary:
  • 8 a.m. – Attend the Orientation Session at the Nitinaht Visitor Centre in Nitinaht Village.
  • 9 a.m. – Board the Nitinaht Water Taxi up to the Nitinaht Narrows and the entrance to the West Coast Trail. The water taxi will first stop on the north bank and pick hikers up, then carry on to the south bank of the Narrows where you will start your hike.
  • Start hiking south towards Cheewhat River and cross the Cheewhat Bridge. Between Cheewhat River and Carmanah Point, follow either the beach or the trail and stop for the evening at Cribs Creek at 42 km.
Day 2: Cribs Creek to Walbran Creek
  • Mile marker: 42 km to 53 km
  • Travel distance: 11 km
  • Points of interest:
  • 44 km – At Carmanah Lighthouse, the light keepers welcome visitors with great stories. This is a great place to rest and take in the spectacular view.
  • 48 km – Take in the breathtaking ocean scenery near Bonilla Point, the sea stacks and Bonilla Falls.
  • Itinerary:
  • From Carmanah Lighthouse, the trail follows the beach until Walbran Creek at 53 km where you will encounter long wooden ladders heading in either direction from the campsite, as well as a cable car crossing.
Day 3: Walbran Creek to Camper Creek/Bay
  • Mile marker: 53 km to 62 km
  • Travel distance: 9 km
  • Points of interest:
  • 56 km - Logan Creek is famous for its spectacular suspension bridge crossing and the wooden ladders on either side of the creek.
  • 58 km - Cullite Creek/Cove is a picture-perfect beach surrounded by steep cliffs.
  • Itinerary:
  • The trail between Walbran Creek and Camper Creek/Bay is through the forest and is considered by most to be the most challenging section of the trail, with mud, roots, and many ladder systems to contend with.
Day 4: Camper Creek/Bay to Thrasher Cove
  • Mile marker: 62 km to 70 km
  • Travel distance: 8 km
  • Points of interest:
  • 67 km – The sea caves at Owen Point are accessible during low tides along the beach route. These caves have been carved out by surges of the Pacific Ocean over time and the vivid colors reflect the mineral deposits from both the rock and the sea salt.
  • Itinerary:
  • If you access the beach at 65 km, you can walk on the sandstone shelf at low tide only (be very careful), until you reach Owen Point.
  • After Owen Point, the beach route is all big boulders until you reach Thrasher Cove. The boulder route is very slow hiking. There are several surge channels in the sandstone, and you will need to consult the tide tables. If the tides are high or you do not want to do this challenging boulder route then choose to take the inland forested route.
Day 5: Thrasher Cove to Gordon River
  • Mile marker: 70 km to 71 km
  • Travel distance: 5 km
  • Points of interest:
  • At 73 km, there is an old piece of logging equipment called a “donkey engine”. This is also one of the highest points on the trail.
  • Itinerary:
  • It is a long steep climb out of Thrasher Cove to the main trail.
  • At the junction, turn right and head towards Gordon River through the forest.
  • From the junction to the Gordon River, the next four to five hours are on difficult uneven trail.
  • Once at the end of the trail, raise a buoy in the tree to signal the ferry operator.
  • Note that the last ferry ride is at 3:30 p.m.
Transportation to and from the trailheads

You will need to arrange ground transportation to and from the West Coast Trail trailheads. You can either arrange for transportation to Nitinaht Village and leave your vehicle at the Gordon River Trailhead, where you will be exiting, or you can leave your vehicle at Nitinaht Village and arrange transportation back to your vehicle when you exit the trail at Gordon River.

Fees
Fee information for south itinerary
When making a reservation through Parks Canada:
WCT Overnight Use Permit: $127.50 per person
Reservation Fee: $24.50 per person
Ferry Fees:

$20.00 for Crossing Nitinaht Narrows

$20.00 for Crossing at Gordon River

National Park Entry Fee: $7.80 per person, per day (or purchase a National Park Discovery Pass or Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Annual Pass)
Directly to the Nitinaht Ferry Operator:
Water Taxi: $62.50 per person for Nitinaht Water Taxi from Nitinaht Village to Nininaht Narrows
 

A young man and woman camping in front of a waterfall.

Travelling north – Nitinaht Narrows to Pachena Bay (33 km in total)

Day 1: Nitinaht Narrows to Tsusiat Falls
  • Mile marker: 33.5 km to 25 km
  • Travel distance: 8 km
  • Points of interest:
  • 27 km – If you decide to take the beach route you will pass through the Hole-in-the-Wall at Tsusiat Point.
  • 23 km – Tsusiat Falls is an iconic waterfall that offers a wonderful opportunity to cool off and one of the more popular campgrounds.
  • Itinerary:
  • 8 a.m. – Attend the Orientation Session at the Nitinaht Visitor Centre in Nitinaht Village.
  • 9 a.m. – Board the Nitinaht Water Taxi up to the Nitinaht Narrows and the entrance to the West Coast Trail. The drop off point is on the north bank of the Narrows where you will begin your hike.
  • Start the moderately easy hike north to Tsusiat Falls, following beautiful views from high rocky cliffs. The trail drops down and follows the forest near the beach past the Ditidaht First Nation Comfort Camping at Tsuquadra Point. Here, either access the beach if the tides are low enough, or stay on the forested trail. 
Day 2: Tsusiat Falls to Darling River
  • Mile marker: 25 km to 14km
  • Travel distance: 11 km
  • Points of interest:
  • 20 km – Check out the large anchor from the steam ship Woodside.
  • 18 km – The Valencia Bluffs lookout gives a view of where the wreck of the Valencia lies —a steamer that went down in 1906 with over 125 lives lost.
  • Itinerary:
  • Start by hiking up the steep set of ladders to the trail and cross the Tsusiat bridge heading north.
  • Take the trail through this area all the way to Klanawa River to the first cable car.
  • After the river, the beach is the only route to follow until Trestle Creek.
  • From Trestle creek, the trail goes up again to more viewpoints.
  • Continue over the suspension bridge at Billy Goat Creek and on to Tsocowis Creek.
  • From here to Darling River, walk the forested trail or the beach, depending on tides.
  • Crossing the Darling River through the water at a low tide makes for an easier crossing. If the river is flooded, crossing can be dangerous and should not be attempted until water levels drop.
Day 3: Darling River to Pachena Bay
  • Mile marker: 14 km to 0 km
  • Travel distance: 14 km
  • Points of interest:
  • 10 km – See the century-old Pachena Point Lighthouse.
  • 9 km – Just past the lighthouse, there is a short trail to a viewpoint for a sea lion haul out rock where many stellar sea lions bask in the sun.
  • Itinerary:
  • On the last day, hike along the beach to Michigan Creek then on the trail to Pachena Point Lighthouse.
  • From here, it is approximately four hours of trail hiking to Pachena Bay.
  • The trail meanders through a lush temperate rainforest to Pachena Bay and the West Coast Trail orientation centre, where you must register off the trail.
Transportation to and from the trailheads

You will need to arrange ground transportation to and from the West Coast Trail trailheads. You can either arrange for transportation to Nitinaht Village and leave your vehicle at the northern trailhead near Pachena Bay, where you will be exiting, or you can leave your vehicle at Nitinaht Village and arrange transportation back to your vehicle when you exit the trail at Pachena Bay. 

Fees

 

Fee information for north itinerary
When making a reservation through Parks Canada
WCT Overnight Use Permit: $127.50 per person
Reservation Fee: $24.50 per person
Ferry Fees: None
National Park Entry Fee: $7.80 per person, per day (or purchase a National Park Discovery Pass or Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Annual Pass)
Directly to the Nitinaht Ferry Operator
Water Taxi: $62.50 per person for Nitinaht Water Taxi from Nitinaht Village to Nininaht Narrows