Schooner Cove - Tofino & Clayoquot Sound Trails
The beautiful trail to Schooner Cove starts just at the top end of Pacific Rim National Park near Tofino. Schooner Cove also sits near the top or northern end of Long Beach which continues south from here for 10 kilometres! Almost immediately you are struck by the enormous trees. Hundreds of years old, these monsters are everywhere along this trail.
The Schooner Cove trail and Schooner Cove itself is much quieter and even at times secluded feeling when compared to other Pacific Rim National Park beaches and hiking trails. The trailhead parking is just off of the Pacific Rim Highway.
The trailhead is just across a small, gravel road and you quickly enter a beautiful forest along a gravel path. The path soon leads to a wonderfully constructed wooden boardwalk. Stairs, bridges and lots of boardwalk guide you through the the thick forest of huge cedars and hemlock trees.
There are an abundance of examples in and around Tofino and Ucluelet of nurse logs. Trees that have fallen and another tree has grown on it. The Schooner Cove Trail, however, has a really amazing example of this. A massive, western hemlock, grows from a huge, fallen tree with its spider web like roots grasping all around it. This wonderful tree is located just inches from the boardwalk and leaves you staring in wonder about how aggressive a tree can fight to live.
The trail soon descends to the beach which is has a variety of places to explore. Rock outcrops will all sorts of sea life lurking, a sandy beach that goes for kilometres, and Schooner Cove itself which is hidden, sheltered from the wind and secluded. To reach it by low tide by walking along the beach or by walking the overgrown trail that connects to it from near where the main trail reaches the beach. Schooner Cove's close proximity to Tofino, its shelter from the wind as well as its beauty, make it a popular spot for those that know and love it.
Trailhead Directions to Schooner Cove
The Schooner Cove trailhead is just off of the Pacific Rim Highway. Just look for the Schooner Cove sign 15 kilometres from Tofino or 26 kilometres from Ucluelet. The trail starts just across a small, gravel road from the parking area. Schooner Cove is in Pacific Rim National Park so you must have a park pass. Park passes can be purchased almost everywhere, including all parking areas for the park.
More Trails & Beaches Near Schooner Cove
Radar Hill should not be missed while visiting Tofino. The views are beautiful, one of the few places in Tofino where you can see where you are. Usually you are engulfed in trees or down by the water. From Radar Hill you rise above everything. This is not really a hiking trail, but rather a short, very scenic, uphill walk to the monument and views. A wonderfully written memorial sits at the top of Radar Hill which describes the harrowing battle during the Korean War that involved the 27th Commonwealth Brigade. Grice Bay is not really a hike but a setting off point for kayakers and boaters. Tofino Inlet, Cannery Bay, Tranquil Inlet, Fortune Channel, Dawley Passage Provincial Park as well as Kennedy River are all attractions for boaters from here. There is a nice boat launch and lots parking. Kayakers frequently depart from here to explore the sheltered waters away from the open ocean out past Tofino. 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. Chesterman Beach is a wonderful 3 kilometre beach just a 10 minute drive from Tofino. The walk to the beach from your car takes just 3 minutes with the roundtrip distance covered to the beach and back to your car is about 500 metres (or a third of a mile). It lays just outside of Pacific Rim National Park and as a result has a local feel that you don't get from most other beaches. From the wind battered houses that line the beach though shrouded in the coastal forest, to the magnificent Wickaninnish Inn sprawling to the ocean, Chesterman Beach is a beautiful beach oasis. The Spruce Fringe Trail in Pacific Rim National Park is located at the edge of Long Beach, 22 kilometres from or 19 kilometres from Ucluelet. The trail begins as gravel then a wonderful boardwalk and then leads to a stunning force of nature. The Krummholz Tunnel is a weather blasted tunnel of trees. Thick and surprisingly dense, this bizarre feature of the Spruce Fringe Trail has a nice information board explaining it and it's wondrous formation.. "Closer to the sea, the trees contort and huddle together against the weather. The ocean's influence has created the spruce fringe but also limits plant growth and form. The Rainforest Trail is a fantastic, deep, dark, wet and wonderful walk through a giant tree forest. There are, in fact, two beautiful 1km rainforest loop trails. One on the ocean side of the highway, the other on the forest side. Both are equally nice and both have an elaborate boardwalk system that at times seems luxurious as it keeps you tidily above the deep, mossy, wet, and chaotic forest floor. For an amazing, jungle-like experience this is the place to go. The forest is deep, wet and massive. Very massive. The wonderful aroma of nature fills your lungs as this incredibly elaborate boardwalk runs along massive nurse logs, huge cedars and an astounding array of young and ancient trees. You come out of this forest in awe of how beautiful this Tofino - Ucluelet stretch of land is. 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. 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.