Seeing Clayoquot Sound from above is amazing. With so much buried in spectacular forest, rising above the trees gives you a breathtaking new perspective on paradise.
Radar Hill dates back to 1954 and the early days of the Cold War. The Soviet Union was seen as a nuclear threat and a series of radar stations were built by Canada and the Unites States. Several lines of radar stations could provide warning of an attack from long range bombers. Radar Hill was part of the Pinetree Line, the southernmost of these early warning radar lines. Not long after its construction, however, the shift from long range bombers to intercontinental ballistic missiles made radar stations like Radar Hill obsolete. Now, decades later, only the cement foundations of Radar Hill remain.
The large buildings that once housed the huge power generators, fuel tanks and control rooms are now the upper and lower Radar Hill parking areas. At the top of the hill there are four large clearings. These were the radar towers and now serve as viewing areas with seats and murals of the area and the wonderful Kap'yong Memorial.
The gateway to Kennedy River Bog Park is by passing under the massive and derelict Kennedy River bridge. A strong new bridge has been build above the old pilings and the view of the crumbling foundations is beautiful as you pass under. This bridge has an interesting history as it was the location of the famous logging protests in 1993. 11000 protesters came to the Clayoquot Sound to take part in protests against what was deemed unrestricted logging in the area.
Every day for three months people gathered on this bridge to block logging vehicles. Hundreds were arrested it what became, and remains one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in Canadian history. The crumbling foundations still show fragments of that extraordinary history. If you look closely as you pass under the bridge you will see several badly burned support logs that resulted from an attempt to burn the bridge down. Amazing!
Long Beach is the wonderfully accessible beach that spans the middle of Pacific Rim National Park for several kilometres. It's the longest stretch of surf swept sand on west coast of Vancouver Island. In fact, if you include Florencia Bay, Wickaninnish Beach, Combers Beach and Schooner Cove with Long Beach, then it is the longest sand dune on Vancouver Island.
Surfing, walking and wandering the beach are the main activities here. Winter storm watching and summer sunshine make Long Beach hard to beat. It is popular and huge, so you don't feel crowded even in the busiest of summer days. Incinerator Rock lays just steps from the parking lot and is great to climb and enjoy the view. The massive shore of Long Beach is beautifully littered with driftwood near the shore and the massive and chaotic look of the crammed piles of driftwood is a testament to the power of the local winter storms.
Hiking/walking the Shorepine Bog Trail in Pacific Rim National Park is a surreal experience. As you wander through this weather beaten forest that looks nothing like anything else you've seen in the rest of the park. It is absolutely bizarre. Pacific Rim National Park is almost entirely rainforest. Giant trees, wet, mossy ground, dead and decaying giant trees, laying on the dark, wet forest floor. And yet the Shorepine Bog Trail looks more like a desert. Everything looks blasted by wind, and unexpectedly dry, very dry. Click the video below to see an aerial view of the Shorepine Bog Trail.
The Shorepine Bog Trail is not so much a trail as a continuous boardwalk. This makes it a very easy and relaxing trail that keeps you from damaging the bog beneath your feet as you walk. This short trail runs in a continuous loop that is less than one kilometre and should take you about 20 minutes to complete. The wonderful boardwalk is free of stares and one of the few Pacific Rim Park trails that is very wheelchair friendly.
, named after the ship that was wrecked here in 1861 is certainly one of the most amazing places in Pacific Rim National Park. Just a short walk to the beach you descend down a wonderfully sketchy tangle of wooden stairs onto a fantastic, wild and secluded feeling Canadian beach. Florencia Bay seems to have it all. Gorgeous, sandy beach. Excellent waves for surfing. An absurdly wild jungle forest that spills over the beach alive with colour. It has to be explored to be appreciated. The 5 kilometre bay cuts a wide arch, often with abrupt cliffs just off the beach. Click the image below for an aerial video of Florencia Bay.
is known locally as Wreck Beach due the shipwreck that happened here. Four people died when the 200 tonne ship, the Florencia was wrecked. The Florencia actually capsized elsewhere, however, during the salvage effort, the ship towing the Florencia had engine trouble and cast off the Florencia to be wrecked here. The Bay's name was officially changed to Florencia Bay in 1930, but the original name is often still used.