If you’ve ever been to Ucluelet, you’ve no doubt noticed it looming above the harbour from afar: Mount Ozzard. Many have seen it every single day, and yet few have been motivated to gear up to get to the top. Those that have, however, can confirm it’s well worth it. Here’s five reasons to get off the couch and head up to that ever-present guardian golfball at the summit.
1. Easily Accessed
As far as a hike with decent elevation and a view goes, Mount Ozzard is as accessibible from Ucluelet as it comes. Heading out of town, it’s an easy right onto Port Albion Road, the second left onto a gravel road, another second left up a hill (seriously, half the work is done for you already) and voila, you’re at the yellow gate that marks the start. Just head past it on foot and you’re on your way.
2. Easily Accomplished
The view at the top is almost too sweet for how little work needs to be done for it. The gravel service road that twists to the top makes for an easy, albeit uphill walk. Note the word choice of walk rather than hike. Although you’ll be puffing by the top, avid hikers would be insulted at saying it is anything more than an amble up the hill. Also, it only takes about 30 min to get up there. 2-hours max return with the drive – a light snack, some water and maybe a summit beer is all you really need.
3. Only Moderate Altitude Gain
Many balk at the idea of a hike simply because when you point out the peak you’re aiming for, they think there’s absolutely no way they’re going to survive getting to the top. Luckily, the summit of Mt. Ozzard is a mere 750m high. By the time you’re at the start of the service road, you’re a decent way up. The rest is easy as pie. Bring a jacket for the top though, on a windy day it can be pretty nippy up there.
4. Finally Discovering what the “Golfball” is
As though teed up to use Barkely Sound as a fairway, the massive golfball-esque structure at the top of Mount Ozzard is a familiar sight. “What is it really?” is a pretty common question. Take the hike to see it up close and you can finally give people an educated answer (it’s a radar station.)!
5. The View.
Again, so little work is required for what is easily one of the most stunning views of Ucluelet, Pacific Rim National Park and Barkley Sound. As you scale the mountain, to your left is a sweeping view of the Sound, dotted with its many island and filled with shockingly blue waters. On the other side, you can pick out your house, hotel or B&B from the tiny town below. Tracing the coast of the Peninsula, you’ll be able to spot Wickaninnish Beach, Florencia Bay and Long Beach. Rumour has it, on an exceptionally clear day (and with 20-20 vision perhaps), you can see all the way to Tofino. There’s nothing leike spotting familiar landmarks from an eagle’s vantage point, and Mount Ozzard makes it oh-so-easy.
Motivated? Make it happen! You’ll feel better having finally summited that omnipresent mountain at the end of the day. Just be sure to bring enough layers, enough water and keep your eyes open for wild animals and dirtbikers/mountain bikers/4×4’ers.
For more hikes in Ucluelet, check out our hiking page!
For some of the top hikes across Vancouver Island, check out Discover Vancouver Island’s hiking page here.
Contributed by Laurissa Cebryk