West Coast Trail

West Coast Trail, Victoria Capital Regional District: Address, Phone Number, West Coast Trail Reviews: 5/5

West Coast Trail
West Coast Trail has the reputation of being on of the most excutiating treks in North America, rewarding you with stunning backdrops in a cultural and historical landscape. West Coast Trail is a hiking trail that follows along the southwestern shoreline of Vancouver Island. It has infamous weather, where thousands of people come to storm watch. In fact, the weather and tides have been the demise of many catastrophic shipwrecks up until the late 1800's, making the area known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific". Beached survivors often met their makers once they made it to the jagged shoreline, provoking the government to rough-in a trail that is to this day isolated, physically challenging and potentially hazardous. West Coast Trail is not for the faint of heart, but welcomes those ready to take on the 75km challenge, explore the environment and learn a great deal about themselves, both mentally and physically. Can you conquer it?!
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Tours and Tickets

Popular mentions

120 reviews
Very good

Ottawa, Canada11 contributions
Aug. 2021 • Family
They are right when they say this hike is not for those with reoccurring knee or back issues - and not for the fainthearted. Hiking over beaches, through rivers, over massive rainforest tree stumps, and up and down close to vertical ladders. My tips: bring one or two hiking poles - or find a suitable stick early on! My 17 year old son has 17 year old knees. Mine are 51 and despite being very fit, I felt it. Prepare for 25 min kms if you are in good shape. We stayed at Nitnhat the first night - they are informed of WCT hikers so you have a reserved spot - and pay $35 for the night when you get there. It is a 2km walk into and out of the campsite. From Nitnaht we stayed at Bonilla, Cullite and Thrasher, which is 1 km from the trail. Final day from Thrasher to the Gordon River ferry is just over 7km. Campsite at Gordon River has hot showers and a washer dryer which was great while we waited for the bus back to Victoria as our last night on the sand at Thrasher it rained. A great experience!
Written August 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Amy C
West Vancouver, Canada2 contributions
Aug. 2020
We completed the trail (kms) with our 8 and 10 years old boys, with some very good hikers, within 5 full days, in mid August 2019.

Lots to see and play with but the timing was a too tight. If we go there again, we will do south part only and also plan for more days (half day hike and half day play at the beach).

We were pretty lucky because most of the days are sunny or cloudy except one night of horrible rain.

Must be physically strong for backpack food and stuff for one week.

Chose August 2020 because there's no 2019 options.
Written June 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sydney, Australia70 contributions
Aug. 2019
I trekked with a group of 4 (including myself and the guide) guided by Sea to Sky. Being in a guided tour took away some of the stress of prepping for the trek.
Trek was absolutely exciting. Sometines it is coastal, sometimes it is the forest. What I loved most was the technical nature of the forest treks. Constant obstacles until we meet the campsite. Then a few campsites had waterfalls next to it. Nothing like a refreshing shower after a trek from a cold waterfall.
Lucky for us, we did not experience rain.
The wildlife was amazing. We saw a bear, thousands of whales including one Orca, sea lions, seals, colorful sealife etc etc.. It was constant excitement while enjoying the feeling of disconnection from chaos in the other world.
Written December 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vancouver, Canada98 contributions
Aug. 2019
We West Coast Trail-ed in August and it was incredible; we had the most incredible trip. We did an 8-day, south to north route, just the two of us (husband and I). Highly recommended.
It was great to get the tougher stuff done first, so that we could really kick back and enjoy the rest of our trip.
Sites: Thrashers, Campers, Walbran, Nitinat, Cribbs, Tsusiat, Darling
Written October 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vancouver, Canada43 contributions
Aug. 2019
Couple of things first: reservation sign up is at the beginning of January @ usually 7am. We filled in the online registration the night before and sat ready at the computer a couple of minutes before they opened up the registration. We got our first choice dates. A friend of our signed up at 7:10 and only got his third choice! So be warned: the dates fly off the shelves before you can hit enter...

Also: the trail is open between May and October. Try and avoid May as maintenance on the trail might not have been finished. It is anyhow a rough trail, so you want to avoid more broken ladders.

Do check the annual weather forecast. This trail is no fun in rain

Read everything online you can. This trail is not (!) beginners. Put a rucksack with approximately 1/4 of your body weight (women) or 1/3 for men and climb up the longest ladder you can find... there 70 of those on the trail.....

Make sure you are fit... the trail will test your vertigo...it is very steep, muddy, and super slippery.

Otherwise it is a beautiful trail with an abundance of wildlife (hubby ran right into a bear).

Calculate 6 nights
Written October 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Newport Beach, CA1,065 contributions
Aug. 2019 • Solo
If you like ocean beauty and a simply wonderful walking trail, you will like this one. Hot inland? Come here and feel the cool breeze.
Written August 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Giovanni d'Asso, Italy25 contributions
Jul. 2019 • Friends
As there are plenty of reviews which accurately reflect the intensity of the trail - both it’s challenges and it’s beauty - I’m focusing on the facilities near the Nitinaht trailhead. My friend and I stayed overnight at the beautiful campground near Nitinat village, it was $20 for a lovely peaceful forest spot. We had difficulty finding dry wood, however. The next morning we had an excellent, huge wrap at the Nitinaht store. The coffee was also very good. The staff are very friendly and helpful.
When we arrived at the trailhead in the water taxi, we were surprised to see our husbands and sons already waiting for us at the Crab Shack. They were hiking from Gordon River, and were supposed to join us at the Comfort Camping site, 2.5 kilometres north of the Nitinat narrows, but because of heavy rain the day before had stay in the very comfortable cabins at the Crab Shack. They had an excellent dinner, beers, and breakfasts there as well.
We all continued on to the Comfort Camping site, on a gorgeous beach 2 hours hike north of the crossing. Our tents had cots and wood burning stoves as advertised, but the stoves are a very poor design; they are hard to light, hard to keep lit, and there is poor ventilation in the tents, so could be very smoky. We were intensely cold that night and the following night, despite hiking the entire trail with the same gear and never being cold in our small tents. If I were to go back I would spend the extra money on a cabin, which have propane heaters. They also have a better view of the beach.
After two nights there we exited the trail at Nitinat, had a delicious burger at the store and made the drive back to civilization. It was well worth the trip despite the cold cabin, but not for the ill prepared
Written July 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Victoria, Canada44 contributions
Jul. 2018 • Friends
Went with six women (2 groups of three). Must haves - the right gear, the right people, the right weather. We had all 3 (except one day of rain but we managed to get everything dried out the next day). We also took our time (6 nights, 7 days) and did not end up blistered or injured. We enjoyed the journey and getting to know each other (some of us met for the first time on this trip - you get close real fast!). We researched getting our packs as light as possible - I recommend “Ultralight Backpacking Tips” by Mike McLelland. Obsessing was worth it. While I did not get ultralight, mine was 38 pounds vs the heaviest pack in the group which was 50 pounds. For me I find a few pounds makes huge difference to my ability to enjoy the experience rather than focus on when I will be able to get the pack off my back. If you can, do the Owen Point route - tough day but well worth the views - just watch the tides! Oh, and the boardwalks are terrible - hard to believe that is acceptable in a national park with such a steep entry fee. And yes, camps can be crowded.
Written April 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fort Collins, CO2 contributions
Sep. 2018 • Friends
I'll keep it short since there's a ton of other reviews. Here's my tips:
-If your an experienced backpacker, WCT is a must, trip of a lifetime.
-Plan ahead, reservations fill up instantly, get on the website the second they open up, at 8am on January 8th. Have date ranges in mind and alternate dates.
- Strong hikers can do it in 5-6 days with good weather, plan on 7, 8 or more days for bad weather or slower group members.
-Use Trailbus.com for a shuttle service if you need one, avoid westcoasttrailshuttle.com like the plague.
-There are good, affordable camping sites (with showers) at the Gordon river trailhead, Pachena bay trailhead and in Bamfield if you need a place to stay before or after the trail. Hotels in Bamfield were expensive and booked up.
-Bring some cash, there are 2 places on the trail to get a hot meal. The shuttle bus from Pachena bay to Bamfield only takes cash as well.
-Pack smart, share gear with the group and shave all the weight you can while carrying all the essentials.
-Expect extremely rugged terrain and lots of rain and mud. Wear good (already broken in) trail runners or boots, good socks and gaiters.
-Please, please, please, pick up after yourself. Trail was pretty clean, but there still was the occasional jerk who would ditch a bunch of trash and gear they didn't want to carry. If you packed it in, pack it out. Also, pick up after others, make it a better place and give yourself a pat on the back for doing so, everyone will thank you.
-Enjoy the occasional suffering! Bad attitudes and rash decisions make a miserable trip. It's worth it and you'll remember your adventure forever!
Written December 15, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

BC500 contributions
May 2018 • Solo
The WCT is rugged. It is tough. It can test and try your endurance and grit. If you survive it you will be better for it because it takes determination.

This is not a good trail to cut your teeth on, it is dangerous for inexperienced backpackers, hikers or outdoors people and people who are not in shape. There are dozens of steep and long ladders, they are slippery and with a full pack on they are tiring. There are small boulders, large boulders, medium ones and many covered with slippery algae or seaweed, they have barnacles to cut you. You'll likely slip and fall at some point, or many points, the mud will make you regret being there. There are boardwalks but many are broken or falling apart, many are super slippery. There are long steep climbs up or along cliffs with nothing between you and death if you fall.

If you are fit and / or experienced you will likely survive it all and find it to be a gratifying adventure when you are done, even as you curse the trail at many points along the way! The camaraderie with the other hikers from around the world is cool and a great way to pass time. The scenery is truly second to none, it spectacularly beautiful. The beach camping is excellent. There are a couple great places to eat on the trail, there is the historic Chez Monique's and there is a restaurant with fish and crab at the Nitinaht Crossing, my preference was the food at the crossing! There is the ability to leave or start the trail the the crossing as well, although you do have to be ferried up the narrows.

Most people take 4 to 5 days to do the WCT starting at Port Renfrew and going north is the best bet (Personal preference), you can then take the trail bus back down to Renfrew again. Going south to north get you over the worst of the trail first and it just gets easier in the days following the start. The though for going north to south is that you lighten your load for the ladders and mud on the way out but unfortunately you really lose very little in food and fuel compared to how much you are carrying in general.

There is virtually no cell service from start to finish so an inreach or spot is essential in an emergency.

I was blessed by beautiful weather, i could not have asked for any better! No rain in 7 days, just sunny and cloudy days and 1 with a lot of fog.

I feel compelled to say that those who don't have much backpacking experience should stay off this trail, it is not the spot to cut your teeth on. It is spectacular and a real adventure but it is also rugged, remote, dangerous, and it is strenuous, if you don't have experience add it to your "must do bucket list" and train for it and definitely come back to do it. It is truly scary watching how many inexperienced people take their lives in their own hands out there. Some figured it out along the way and left at Nhitnat, wise people know when to call it a day, dont take chances.
Feel free to ask any questions, there is a lot to this trip and I would be happy f=to answer any.
Written November 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 114
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about West Coast Trail

Restaurants near West Coast Trail: View all restaurants near West Coast Trail on Tripadvisor