As someone who grew up next to a forested nature park near Courtenay on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, it was pretty much a given that I would become an avid trail runner. None of that non-sense, jogging on the spot staring at a TV screen of some awful, daytime talk show at the gym – I was after fun obstacles and stunning scenery, fresh, invigorating air and the opportunity to get lost. I know a good trail when I see one. The Wild Pacific Trail is exactly that.
While in the midst of wrapping up my degree at McGill, it suddenly hit me. Real people have jobs. While searching ad after ad on craigslist for work back on the Island, I stumbled upon one that would take me to this tiny coastal town I’d been to years ago, fondly known as Ukee… I took the leap. To my delight, I discovered that my house would be located right next to a seemingly too-good-to-be-true, 8km path – The Wild Pacific Trail.
I was immediately re-enamored with the soft trails of the coastal rainforest. However, enamored doesn’t do the Wild Pacific Trail justice. I have run along the shores of beaches in Hawaii, down piers in Spain, parks in Poland and traversed mountains in Romania; but of all the kilometers I have jogged, walked and adventured, the Wild Pacific Trail stole my heart, plain and simple.
From where you begin, whether it is at the picturesque Amphitrite Lighthouse or along the highway, the protective foliage of the looming forest and heavy silence of the salt-laden air quickly embrace you. I found I would lose track of time or be late to things simply because all trace of my thoughts and worries disappeared, seemingly washed away with the waves crashing against the rugged coast.
Every time I ran, I found myself promising I would turn back after I rounded the next corner, and then the next, and then the next. Each turn revealed a new, breathtaking view of cliffs dropping away into the Pacific that I knew I would never get tired of. The ups and downs of the natural coastline provided a perfect variety of conditions, and the bridges and stairs, roots, and beaches provided the obstacles I sought.
Sometimes, I found it hard to get my heart rate up simply because I had to stop and take photos at every stunning viewpoint I stumbled upon. I even got into the habit of running at sunset just to let the pastel colours of the misty sky contribute to my lack of breath and create an unearthly backdrop to my jog. Whether you are coming here to stay fit, taking a romantic walk or just getting out from some fresh air, I can guarantee you’ll find no where else in the world like Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail!
To find out more about the trail itself, check out our History of the Wild Pacific Trail blog post!
For more hikes in Ucluelet, visit our hiking page here.
For more hikes on Vancouver Island, check out Discover Vancouver Island’s Top Hikes page.
Contributed by Laurissa Cebryk