Best Multi-Day Hikes in Canada – The West Coast Trail (BC)

This is one of 50 entries where I will highlight what I believe are the top multi-day hiking trails in Canada. These traverses were chosen after careful review and consideration of what Canada’s outdoors has to offer for those backpackers looking to be out in the Canadian wilderness.

The West Coast Trail is a 75km point-to-point trail along the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It was created in 1907 to help rescue shipwrecked survivors along the coast and is now one of province’s most popular long-distance trails.

A permit is required for the endeavor and it can only be hiked between May 1st and September 30th. People typically need to book at least 2 months in advance to secure dates as approximately 7,500 hike this trail each year. Due to its ongoing popularity, campsites can often be seen overpacked along the trail, especially during the summer months.

The main trail heads are located in Port Renfrew and Bamfield. A ferry via the Gordon River is required to get to and from the trail in Port Renfrew. There is also an option to start the trail halfway by taking the Nitinaht River Ferry or water taxi to Nitinaht Narrows. Buses and ferries operate regularly to ensure there is available transportation to and from the trail heads.

There are several campsites to choose from and most are found along the beaches.  Throughout the hike, there are opportunities to walk along the beaches where it connects to the main route.

Overall, it is considered by most to be a very tough hike, with roughly 4500 meters of total elevation and numerous ladders to climb. For this reason, Parks Canada does not allow dogs or children under the age of 12 on the trail.