Ucluelet Hiking Trails
Maps of Trails and Beaches
Besides beaches, Ucluelet and Tofino are a treasure trove of various hiking and beach access trails. Check out the maps to locate most of the trails and beaches and use the descriptions and photos below to help decide where to check out first.
Wild Pacific Trail (Ucluelet)
Ranked one of the top things to do in British Columbia, Ucluelet has been blessed by the incredible gift of the Wild Pacific Trail. Do-able by nearly anyone, the easy 8km winds its way along some of the most scenic coastline on Vancouver Island. Twisting through incredible, emerald forests of tall trees with numerous lookouts dotting the rugged cliffs, the atmosphere is peaceful and inviting. The Lighthouse Loop is a popular and easy route, while the Artist Loops and Rocky Bluffs will simply steal your breath away. Meticulous upkeep and sustainable, environmentally conscious additions keep the trail alive and stunning. As of 2016, newly added viewing platforms have made room for even more sunset goers – a prime time to visit the Wild Pacific Trail. They overlook spectacular shoreline panoramas of the Barkley Sound, the Broken Group Islands and out across the Pacific Ocean.
Radar Hill Trail
The Radar Hill Trail’s level 2 difficulty rating means the view is almost too sweet considering how little work needs to be done to achieve it. Accessible to even those in wheel chairs, the stunning view of the Clayoquot Sound and Long Beach awaits at the end of the 0.2km trail. Although parking is available at the top, those looking to earn the view can always park at the bottom and walk up the hill for a slight challenge. Originally, Radar Hill was a station in the Pinetree Line Defense System used to warn North America of incoming airstrikes during WWII. These days, the path has been cleared of buildings, but beautiful panoramas can be seen around the foundations of the old station area, as well as from the wheel-chair ramp accessed viewpoint at the top of the hill. The Kap-Yong Memorial, which honors the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry for their service in the Korean War, is also located here.
Florencia Bay Trail
Leading to one of the Island’s favourite beaches, the Florencia Bay Trail is short but sweet. Lacing its way through a stunning, moss-covered emerald forest, the trail overlooks the bay and then winds down to a set of tangled wooden steps before emerging on to the unique beach. Protected on both sides by beautiful rainforest, Florencia Bay is often quite windless, while pleasant and consistent waves beckon from the ocean. Originally known as Wreck Bay, Florencia gets its name from the boat that was shipwrecked in the area in 1861.
Schooner Cove Trail
The Schooner Cove Trail, like the beaches that lie at its end, is endless in the treasures it contains. Only 2km of beautifully crafted boardwalk and stairs, it laces its way through thriving rainforest, covered in layers of green moss. Although quite easy, the stairs give it a difficulty rating of around a 2. Besides the dominating cedars that line the boardwalk is a 600 year old spruce, marking the beginning of the descent to the beach. At the sitka, turning right leads to the secluded Schooner Cove, while hooking left leads to the 10km of Long Beach. Schooner Cove is known as a romantic destination, as it is often quieter and has plenty of isolated beaches to explore. At its northernmost point lies Portland Point, a rocky headland that is great for surf casting and spotting whales. Long Beach on the other hand, is an infamous hotspot of the Pacific Rim National Park. Its extensive stretch of sand is a pacific playground for surfers, kiteboarders, kayakers and beach-goers.
Lone Cone Trail
For those in search of a challenge, the Lone Cone Trail will deliver. Located on Meares Island, the trail is only accessible by boat and is notorious for being gruelling, yet rewarding. A true wilderness, level 5, day-long trek, hikers should be prepared with plenty of water, good footwear, emergency gear and some snacks for along the way. After ascending about 700m of altitude in the last 1.5km, the total 730m high lookout is jaw-dropping in its splendour. It offers incredible sweeping views of the Clayoquot Sound, Tofino and of the surrounding area and peaks.
Combers Beach Trail
Another short but sweet trail, this 0.5km Combers Beach Trail will have you at your destination in no time. Veering off in 3 directions, stick to the left along the wooden boardwalk to get to Combers a short distance away. It’s a relaxing beach, perfect for families and the occasional wedding.
South Beach Trail
The 1.6 km South Beach Trail with a difficulty of 2 is on gravel and boardwalk that provides access to the scenic Lismer Beach. This coastal trail is one of the most scenic trails in Ucluelet. It is a great trail for a picnic as you’ll not only enjoy the beautiful view and crashing waves, but also the songs sung by the stones of the shore as the waves crash down upon them. The trail begins with a view next to the Interpretive Center and continues to offer stunning views alongside Lismer beach. There is also a totem pole located on the trail that is another ideal spot to take in breathtaking scenes of water, forest and ocean spray. The trail connects to the Nuu Chah Nulth Trail which if followed, leads to a slightly longer hike to Florence Beach. You can continue down the South Beach Trail at its point of intersection with the Nuu Chah Nulth Trail and descend down to the beach which hosts some uniquely shaped rock formations.
Nuu Chah Nulth Trail (Wickaninnish Trail)
Connecting Long Beach to Florencia Bay is the Nuu Chah Nulth Trail. Its original name, Wickaninnish, was after Chief Wickaninnish of the Nuu Chah Nulth people. Ocean views accompany a splendid, raised wooden boardwalk path that cuts through the Pacific Rim National Park’s thick, coastal rainforest. Its 3.8km makes it the longest trail within the park boundary. Paying homage to the trail’s namesake nation and the original inhabitants of area is the Nuu Chah Nulth totem pole. All-in-all the trail has a difficulty rating of 3, as the boardwalk winds down into stairs and there is oftentimes mud on the trail, requiring boots.
The Big Tree Trail
Get lost amongst the humbling old growth of Meares Island by exploring the Big Tree Trail. Ancient Cedars kiss the sky as visitors make their way along the easy, 3km boardwalk hike. The boardwalk, hugged by the incredible trees, adds to the enchanted forest atmosphere of the journey. Eagles often perch in the massive branches of the surrounding trees and plenty of wildlife enhance to magic of the area. The trail can be easily reached by kayak or a local water taxi/charter boat.
The Rainforest Trail
Two 2km boardwalk loops make-up the Rainforest Trail, and each tells its own west coast tale. With a boardwalk enticing visitors from either side of the highway, neither is the wrong choice. Educational signs lining Loop A explain the crucial forest lifecycle, made more impactful by the presence of the immense and numerous surrounding trees. The largest, twice the thickness of its neighbours, is located close to the trailhead. On the other hand, Loop B’s signs educate visitors about keystone species in the area such as salmon and numerous other forest creature’s life cycles. Embracing guests in the lush glow of the healthy rainforest, the loops wander past salmon spawning streams, through ferns, around massive cedars and past thriving nursery logs, busy replenishing its ancient forest home. The humbling hush creates a peaceful atmosphere, and the educational aspect of the trail earns it a spot in many a heart. Its difficulty level sits at a breezy 3, just be careful crossing the highway between loops.
Wild Side Trail
Just a boat ride away on the west coast of Flores Island, the Wild Side Trail provides a scenic break from the bustling tourist season of Ucluelet and Tofino. 10km of trail whisks visitors along a boardwalk through beautiful forests and the charming town of Ahousaht. Adding to the west coast escape aspect are some of the most natural and untouched beaches in British Columbia, alongside which the Walk the Wild Side Trail runs.
Half Moon Bay
Beginning where the Willbrae Trail ends is the short, 1km Half Moon Bay Trail. Old cedars invite guests to explore deeper along the trail, which delves into mossy forests of robust, coiled spruce trees. Their intriguing growth pattern is protective during the cold and stormy winter months. As the trail continues, it cuts out alongside a cliff, giving way to stunning views of the ocean . A steep set of wooden steps proceed from there to the beautiful beach, a scenic reward for a kilometer well-walked.
This is a trail providing a number of final destination options. Beginning between Tofino and Ucluelet, the Willowbrae Trail leaves visitors with the choice of two staircases to descend: one heads to the secluded cove of Half Moon Bay, and the other to the scenic and sheltered Florencia Bay. The steep stairs give the trail a challenge level of 4, although it starts of smoothly as a wide, gravel path that transforms into a 2.8km road built of logs laid-down in a style often called corduroy roads. This one in particular was well traveled by early settlers of the past.
Spruce Fringe Trail
The Spruce Fringe Trail is the perfect 1.5km loop to both educate and awe you. The botanical life of the beautiful Sitka Spruce forest through which the trail winds is revealed through a number of educational signs. Shrubs that thrive in the small amounts of light that the Sitka trees allow into their kingdom have grown nearly as tall as trees, while the willow and crabapple swamps the trail passes are fit to burst with lush ferns, lichens and fungi. Only one set of steps interrupts the simple enchantment of the Spruce Fringe Trail, and strategic benches off the perfect picnic perch. Watch the trees as the trail approaches the ocean as well. You’ll notice them begin to contort and grow together to protect themselves from the intense west coast winter winds. This amazing growth pattern also resulted in the unique Krummholz Tunnel through which the trail passes. Arriving at the end of the Spruce Fringe Trail, you can choose to continue on to the Combers Beach Trail, which rewards you with access to the quiet and delightful Combers Beach.
Long Beach Hike
More of a beach stroll than a hike, the 10km of Long Beach provide the perfect scenic location for those romantic sunrise or sunset long walks on the beach. The wide open area, vast ocean view and endless activities make this area so much more than just a hiking destination. Better yet, its located right in the middle of the Pacific Rim National Park, with the parking lot just steps away from the sandy start. If visiting in the winter, head towards the south to Wickaninnish for the perfect storm watching lookout.
Year-round fully narrated, easy walking half day and full day nature, sightseeing, rainforest, alpine, wildlife viewing, tidepool, marine, cultural, eco tours and very special wine tours with experienced knowledgeable guides. Shuttle service, charters, wedding shuttles and large group excursions are also available.