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West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

By Casey Beam

The West Coast Trail is open for hiking from May 1 to September 30 and reservations are suggested. The park is available to hikers outside of this period but Parks Canada does not guarantee the accessibility of services (such as search and rescue) in the off season.

Hikers are told how to respond to possible encounters with the dangerous residents in the area (cougars, bears, wolves), at the mandatory orientation session prior to starting the trail.

During certain times of year, there is the possibility of encountering seal pups on the beach; the pups should not be approached, as the mother may then abandon the pup. Any wildlife seen on the trail at any time should only be viewed from a safe distance.

Hikers can choose to begin the trail from either end. The southern part of the trail is far more challenging than the northern section. An overnight permit must be purchase by any one who wishes to spend the night in the park.

The trail passes old growth trees, waterfalls, streams and thick patches of deep mud. Running beside the Pacific Ocean, the trail includes sand and pebble beaches, headlands, and exposed shelf and boulders at low tide.

Selected campgrounds along the way feature “Bear Boxes” for safe storage of food, an outhouse and usually a dramatic view of the Pacific Ocean and Olympic Peninsula. Please note that the beach sections can be made unusable by high tides; tide tables are issued with maps by Parks Canada staff to all hikers prior to starting the trek.

The trail is rugged in areas and requires a level of fitness, knowledge and skill to complete. The trail includes three dozen ladder structures, some of them 30 feet high, that hikers must make use of. Hikers take an average of 7 days to finish the hike.

You can start or finish your hike at certain points along the trail and make arrangements to be picked at those points. Juan De Fuca Express Water Taxi makes daily voyages along the Trail with stops at each end. A minimum of 4 hikers are required. Salt Spring Air also flies in and out of the trail most of the season.

If you need more information on this area click this link West Coast Trail? Or to widen your search to the coast of BC in general go here! Around Vancouver Island

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Beam, Casey "West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada." West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. 22 Jun. 2010. 4 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Beam, C (2010, June 22). West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Beam, Casey "West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada"

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