Where can I hike/backpack on Vancouver Island?

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Hiking/Backpacking adventures on Vancouver Island. Enjoy the great outdoors. Discover British Columbia at its best, with its undisturbed wilderness and breathtaking sights of seashores or mountain tops.


Hiking opportunities on Vancouver Island are many and vary enormously. Depending on previous experience, free time or equipment you have on hand, you may choose a hike only a few hours long or a trail for multiple days.

Vancouver Island is a part of British Columbia, Canada. It is 31,285 km² (12,079 mi²) big, which makes it the largest island on the West Coast of North America.

The Island offers hikes along the sea shore, into the mountains, near cities, or you can venture out on a wilderness trail. For some trails you have to make a reservation and/or pay a camping fee. Transportation to and from the trail (for some trails) is also one of the important things to think about ahead of time.

The three great hiking trails on Vancouver Island are the West coast trail, the Juan de Fuca trail and the Wild Pacific trail.

The West Coast Trail is a very challenging trail, even for well-prepared and experienced hikers. It is 75 kilometers (47 miles) long and ideal for multi day backpacking. You can start the trail at either end, from Port Renfrew and travel north, or from Bamfield and travel south. You cannot enter the trail halfway. The Northern part (near Bamfield) is flatter, and the southern stretch (near Port Renfrew) more challenging.

This trail is only open between May 1st and September 30th.

The number of hikers allowed on the trail is limited, and reservations need to be made. Due to its popularity and limited spots, make sure to make an online reservation well ahead of time. This can be done as early as January each year.

Overnight visitors to this trail must purchase a West Coast Trail Overnight Use Permit and have a valid National Park Entry Pass.

Juan de Fuca trail is a robust 47-kilometre (29 miles) wilderness hiking trail located within Juan de Fuca Provincial Park along the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island.

This trail is accessible by car from several points along Highway 14, so it is easy to hike just a small section of the trail.

Along this trail, you will experience a variety of scenic beauty, as well as marine and wildlife. Natural features include; waterfalls, grottos, old growth forest, estuaries, tide pools and shale and quartz rock formations. This park is habitat to many animals, among which bears and cougars, so be aware of your safety at all times.

The trail is open all year round and there is no need for reservations. An overnight fee is charged for camping.

Wild Pacific trail is located in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island’s west coast and is 8.8 kilometers (5.5 miles) long.

This simple, family-accommodating, trail follows the edge of reefs and offers vistas of wrecks, whales and wilderness. It is ideal for picture takers, storm watchers, bird watchers and climbers. The lighthouse area is wheelchair accessible.

The trail can be walked in two main sections. Segment one, the Lighthouse loop, is a circle beginning close to the lighthouse and overlooks the Broken Group Islands of Pacific Rim National Park. Segment two expands 5 km north from Big Beach Park.

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