In the decades
before the Pacific Rim National Park was born in 1970, this moss-laden
landscape of mist and surf was a little-known outpost, a world apart.
If adventurers managed to coax a vehicle across the tortuous road
that led west from Port Alberni to the isolated ports of Tofino and
Ucluelet, finding a bed was a simple matter at one of the few local
inns. The alternative was constructing a driftwood shelter on one
of the fabulous beaches nearby.
view of Pacific Rim National Park
visitors a year now make this same journey on black-topped highway
4 (Pacific Rim Highway) to experience the romantic isolation of
the region. It's a tribute to the scale of this environment that
so many travellers can be absorbed into it and still leave it so
The open ocean
stretches off unbroken and vacant, while the elemental forces at
play here - the winds and the tide, the sun and the rain - excite
within visitors a deep-seated resonance, a sense of belonging
to this place. Undoubtedly, the same chaos that reigns in winter
during gale-force storms mimics, on a microcosmic scale at least,
the fury of the Big Bang. And on eternal summer evenings, when a
magenta sunset ignites the ocean's summer evenings, there's a peace
so prevalent that you could almost bottle it and call it salvation.
Take your pick of moods; they're both soul-satisfying.
Nowhere else on earth has the meeting of land and sea created the
magnificent beauty of Canada's Pacific Coast. The spectacular Pacific
Rim National Park is the only national park on Vancouver Island,
providing protection for substantial rain
forests and an amazing marine environment
on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The full force of the mighty
Pacific Ocean mercilessly pounds the constantly changing shores
of this rugged coastline.
now known as the Pacific Rim National Park has a significant history,
having been inhabited by the Nuu-chah-nulth people for thousands
of years. A rich natural heritage evolved
as Vancouver Island became isolated from the mainland, retaining
a great diversity of mammals, birds,
and fish species.
This unique park
encompasses a total area of 49,962 hectares of land and ocean in three
separate geographic units - Long Beach, the Broken Group
Islands and the West Coast Trail. Features of the park
include long sandy beaches, an island archipelago, old-growth coastal
temperate rainforest and significant Nuu-chah-nulth archaeological
Rim National Park, Vancouver Island
and outdoor adventure opportunities in the Pacific Rim National
Park are numerous:
The weather in the Pacific Rim area has
a profound effect on any planned activities, as precipitation along
the west coast of Vancouver Island is amongst the heaviest in the
world. Match the season with your desired activity, and come prepared
for rain, awe-inspiring winter storms and glorious sunshine! Visit
the Park Information Centre for information on all Visitor
The best known
and most visited of the 3 regions, Long Beach is famous for the long
sandy beaches of Schooner Cove and Wickaninnish and Florencia Bays,
stretching between the two villages of Tofino and Ucluelet.
Long Beach unit incorporates numerous rocky points and headlands,
offshore islets and the mudflats of Grice Bay, an important wintering
habitat and stopover for migrating waterfowl.
Green Point Campground caters to campers and RVs and, along with
the Wickaninnish Centre and Parks Canada, provides valuable and
interesting heritage learning programs on cultural features and
the natural ecosystem of the Pacific Rim National Park.
caters to visitors seeking to relax in the picnic areas, comb the
beaches or stroll along the trails and boardwalks.
just south of Tofino, provides a great view of Tofino Inlet, Meares
Island and Gowlland Rocks. Naturalists watch whales from shore or
follow the self guided Shorepine Bog Trail to study the moss, plants
and interesting bugs found in a bog environment.
Late June to
early September is high season in the Park and surrounding area.
Mid-October through mid-March is the Park low season. Expect most
park facilities, including the Wickaninnish Centre, the Park Information
Centre and Green Point Campground to be closed. Visitors can drive
the Pacific Rim Highway (Highway 4) from Port Alberni to Long Beach,
68 miles (108 km) of paved winding mountain highway. Busses run
between Port Alberni and Ucluelet/Tofino, or the more adventurous
can hop aboard the MV Frances Barkley for the trip down the Alberni
Inlet and Barkley Sound to Ucluelet.
The Broken Group
Islands Unit consists of over 100 islands, islets and rocky outcrops
scattered in the centre of Barkley Sound, between Loudoun Channel
and Imperial Eagle Channel.
enjoy a rest on Austin Island
This unit totals
10,607 hectares, of which only 1,350 hectares is land.
of the forested islands are Effingham, Turret, Turtle, Dudd, Jacques,
Nettle and Gibraltar Island.
Group is known internationally for awesome kayaking and wilderness
camping enjoyed by organized adventurers seeking escape to the remote
and desolate islands within the park. Natural features of this tranquil
group of islands include lagoons, sandbars, blowholes, arches and
secluded anchorages. Ancient native middens, village fortifications,
stone fishtraps and archaeological sites stimulate the imagination
of visitors to this traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth
There are seven
designated camping areas in the Broken Group Islands within
national park boundaries, located on Hand, Dodd, Willis, Turret,
Clarke, Gilbert, and Gibraltar Islands. All island visitors and
users must camp in these designated campsites. Random campers will
be asked to move to one of the designated campsites. All the campsites
are small, and cannot sustain large groups. Please practice low
impact camping techniques.
discontinued on Benson Island in May 2009 out of respect for its
cultural significance. Archaeological research dates traditional
use of Benson Island for over 5,000 years. Tseshaht First Nation’s
oral traditions name this site as their origin place where the first
Tseshaht man (Naasiya’atu) and woman (Naasayilhim) were created.
It became the site of their principal village of Ts’ishaa. It is
from this village that the Tseshaht derive their name, as Tseshaht
literally means “people of Ts’ishaa”. Visitors are encouraged to
visit Benson Island during the day and return to designated campsites
for the night.
on each island campsite is 4 days. Maximum group size is 10 person
total, and applies to private and commercial and non-profit groups.
Maximum stay in the Broken Group Islands is 14 days. Price is approximately
$5 per person per night, and children under 12 camp for free. Solar
composting outhouses are provided at all eight campsites. Please
follow the posted directions for use of these facilities.
in the Broken Group Islands are from May 1 to September 30. Fees
are mandatory, non-refundable, and will be collected by a National
Park licensed concessionaire at the campsites in the morning and
evening. A Use Permit will be issued when fees are paid. VISA, MasterCard
and cash are accepted.
Canoe and kayak
access to the Broken Group Islands from Bamfield or Ucluelet is
not recommended due to the exposed passages. Boaters and ocean paddlers
can access the Broken Group Islands via Toquart Bay in northwest
Barkley Sound. The unsigned road turnoff is located about 12 km
northeast of the junction of Highway 4 and the Tofino-Ucluelet Highway.
A BC recreation
campsite is located at Toquart Bay on the North side of Barkley
Sound providing a boat launch for access to the islands. The popular
Torquart Bay Recreation Campsite sees a lot of traffic from kayakers
heading over to the Broken Islands. There are about 15 oceanside
open tent sites, as well as RV areas, a cement boat launch, and
lovely south-facing sand beaches. There is a parking fee for those
who wish to park at the site but not camp there. From Port Alberni
follow the Pacific Rim Highway 4 for about 50 miles (80 kms). Turn
left at the sign for Torquart Bay on to the Maggie Lake Forest Service
Road and follow it for 15.5 km.
The MV Frances
Barkley will transport paddlers, kayaks and canoes to Sechart, on
the fringe of the Broken Group Islands. The passenger and cargo
vessel travels between Port Alberni, the Broken Group Islands, Ucluelet
and Bamfield during the spring, summer and fall.
The West Coast Trail Unit of the park includes the section of coast
southeast of Barkley Sound between the villages of Bamfield and
Port Renfrew. This 25,640-hectare strip contains the 75-kilometre
historic West Coast Trail, originally constructed for the rescue
of unfortunate mariners shipwrecked off the treacherous west coast
of Vancouver Island.
acclaimed hiking trail largely retraces an old telegraph route first
established in 1890, and follows a rugged shoreline where approximately
66 ships have met their demise along this stretch of the "Graveyard
of the Pacific". The old telegraph line once connected Victoria with
Cape Beale near present day Bamfield. Shipwreck survivors followed
the rough and arduous trail in either direction, finding shelter in
wooden cabins constructed at intervals along the route.
of accomplishment on the West Coast Trail
The land of
the West Coast Trail unit is temperate coastal rainforest dominated
by old-growth spruce, hemlock and cedar. Some of the tallest and
largest trees in Canada grow along the West Coast Trail and in the
adjacent Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park.
of the region features natural wonders like the Hole-in-the-Wall,
a natural sandstone arch carved by relentless wave action over time,
the Tsusiat Falls at the mouth of the Tsusiat River, the Nitinat
Lakes and Narrows and countless caves, creeks, coves, tidal pools
and rocky headlands.
is decidedly of the wilderness variety! The merits of hiking the
challenging West Coast Trail are known around the world. Of equal
stature in the paddling world is the Nitinat
Triangle Canoe Route, a gruelling battle against the wilderness,
winds and extensive portages.
Access to the
West Coast Trail unit of the park is via the trailheads at Bamfield
and Port Renfrew.
For more information,
contact the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Information Centre year-round:
National Park is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island,
British Columbia, stretching between Port Renfrew on the southwest
coast to near Tofino on the central west coast of Vancouver Island.