Tag: WCT

West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail (WCT) sits on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island…

WCT area map

  • Covers 55 miles / 74 KM of trail across forest, beach, rocks, mud, tree roots, boardwalks, river crossings, cable cars, and two ferries.
  • Includes over 100 bridges and 40 ladder “systems” ranging from 1 to 4 stories high
  • Rated as “difficult” by Parks Canada. Over 90 evacuations in 2015, 43 evacs in 2016 by the time I did the hike.
  • WCT is accessible by permit only from May 1 to September 30, closed rest of the year.
  • I went north to south, from Pachena Bay to Gordon River
  • Want to book your own trip? Start here on the CA Parks site.

Here’s the gear setup for 5 days…
WCT hiking gear     Backpack and boots
In order to start the hike, I first needed to get to Pachena Bay…
motorcycle with gear on the ferry
Traveled to Gordon River by motorcycle
Cargo ship at Port of Seattle
Passed by this cargo ship at Port of Seattle
acrobats on the ferry to Victoria
Acrobats on the ferry to Victoria
Park the bike at Evan's in Gordon River
Scooted to Gordon River/Port Renfrew, where I parked the bike at Evan’s
Pack weigh in at 42 pounds
Backpack weigh-in: 42 pounds minus a full water bladder. Not bad for 5 days.
Pachena Bay
Here’s the Pachena Bay hut, where you get an orientation lecture, trail map, and updated tide chart.
Pachena Bay pano
Quick panorama in front of the hut
Close up view of map and tide chart
Close up view of map and tide chart

WCT Day 1: “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed and she’s still there!”

North section kick off
Start of trail at the northern section
First ladder
First ladder system

Suzuki motorcycle on trail
It’s a Suzuki
Pachena Lighhouse    Signpost at Pachena Lighthouse
At the Pachena Lighthouse
First view of beach at 12 KM
First view of the beach at 12 KM. This is Michigan Creek CG.
Shadow selfie
Shadow selfie
Bears on the trail
Bear encounter – mama bear and cub on the beach. Just foraging for food, non-aggressive. Darling River CG is just beyond them

Quick 10 second view from a GoPro at wide angle…just look for the dark shape movement.
Entrance to Darling River CG
Entrance to Darling River CG
Tent side at Orange Juice Creek
Tent side at Orange Juice Creek CG

WCT Day 2: Miles to go

WCT Guardian Hut
WCT Guardian Hut sits on the edge of the beach
The 'Cadillac' of Latrines
The ‘Cadillac’ of latrines: compost only, throw cedar chips on top when you’re done
Trail with ocean vu
Trail with ocean view
ocean view
Let’s do a quick pano
Cable car crossing at Klanawa River
Cable car crossing at Klanawa River
Nice spot for lunch
Nice spot for lunch
Ladder system down to Tsusiet Falls
Ladder system down to Tsusiet Falls
Trail log crossing
The first of many trail log crossings
Ferry ride across Nitinat Narrows
Ferry ride across Nitinat Narrows
Boardwalk trail at 33 KM
Boardwalk trail at 33 KM

Forest trail at dusk
Forest trail at dusk
Bonilla pano
Pano of Bonilla Point…the campground is just to the other side of my shadow
Tent side at Bonilla Point CG
Tent side at Bonilla Point CG

WCT Day 3: Life’s a beach. And many crossings.

Follow the trail
Follow the trail
Coastal trees above the surf
Coastal trees above the surf
Morning sun shines through coastal trees
Morning sun shines through
Old planks guide the trail path
Old planks guide the path
Chez Monique's place
Chez Monique’s place: everything on the menu from coffee to burgers to salmon
3 sketchy jumps
I took 3 sketchy jumps here. Made two of them.
wet boots
And had wet boots has a present. Tip: Just swap out to sandals for the river crossings.
Coastal trees around 51KM
Coastal trees at 51 KM
Coastal tree in the morning fog
Coastal tree in the fog
Panorama of Walbran Creek CG
Pano of Walbran Creek
Ladder system   Lots of climbing
Lots of climbing
Root system
Root system
log crossing   more log crossing
The trail ahead
planks   follow the planks
Follow the planks
Down, across, and up
Down, across, and up
trail tetris with the mud   mud
Trail tetris with mud
log crossing
Don’t pause…
log crossing
…or look down…
log crossing...just do it.
…just do it.
planks   tent protected by a root
Finally settled into…
Camper Bay CG
…Camper Bay CG for the night.

WCT Day 4: Go low

This day was timed to take the beach route at low tide vs. taking the inland forest path.

logs and more logs   
Love these log crossings
More mud
And this was typical even after a stretch of dry days
go straight up the middle
Go straight up the middle
old old planks   planks and mud
Watch your feet
surge channel on the coastal route
Surge channel on the coastal route at low tide
stay high when traversing at low tide
Stay high when traversing the coast at low tide.
sandstone moon craters
Sandstone moon craters
low tide around Owen Point
Low tide at Owen Point

Quick video vignettes: two panoramas, approach to a surge channel. I fell on slippery algae by the sea cave…small head bump, nothing serious.
tree stand at the strait
Tree stand at the Strait of de Juan Fuca…that’s the United States on the horizon.
zodiac rescue boat
Close-up of a Zodiac Rescue Boat used by CA Parks. About 40 evacuations off the trail so far this year.
Thrasher Cove CG
Thrasher Cove CG