The Shorepine Bog Trail - Tofino & Clayoquot Sound Trails
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. 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.
This trail is a wonderful confirmation of Canada's appreciation of parks, nature and education. The fact that an entire raised, wooden walkway has been built in this forest shows an immense dedication to parks and conservation. This forest/bog could easily have gotten forgotten in the expanse of other more dramatically beautiful trails and beaches. Canada's Pacific Rim National Park created the boardwalk and information along the route to bring this area to life for visitors. And has transformed an ostensibly ugly, weather-beaten forest, into a beautiful glimpse into the contrasting nature of nature in a British Columbia coastal rainforest. And in doing so, has created a trail in the park that is one of the most interesting and unexpectedly beautiful.
The bizarre looking Shorepine Bog with its gnarled, stunted trees is a result of acidic soil that has been trapped in an odd depression in the landscape. Bogs result from poorly drained ecosystems, and this bog receives 3 metres of rain a year.
Lack of drainage encourages Sphagnum moss to grow and Sphagnum acidifies the water which in turn slows the decaying process and most forest species cannot survive. And the species that can, look brutalized by the deprived conditions.
The shorepine is a great example of this. According to the informative signs along the Shorepine Bog Trail boardwalk, the stunted and mangled looking shore pine grows sideways instead of upward due to the few nutrients available in the acidic, waterlogged ground here. Some in the bog are estimated at 300 years old.
Three centuries of harsh growing conditions have made these mangled looking trees into a modern work of art. The lodgepole pine, towers above the others at 4 to 5 metres high, elsewhere in Pacific Rim National Park, rises more than 30 metres! A certain confirmation at the awful growing conditions and wonderful resilience of the Shorepine Bog's inhabitants.
Trailhead Directions to the Shorepine Bog Trail
The Shorepine Bog Trail is easy to find and convenient from both Tofino and Ucluelet. It is located in Pacific Rim National Park and approximately 31 kilometres south of Tofino or 12 kilometres north of Ucluelet. On the Pacific Rim Highway turn at the Wickaninnish turn-off and continue for about 2 kilometres until you see the sign for the Shorepine Bog Trail. The trail is just under 1 kilometre long and should take less than 30 minutes at a relaxed pace, reading the interpretive information along the way. The Florencia Bay Trail and the Nuu-chah-nulthTrail leading to the beautiful Kwisitis Visitor Centre are nearby. These are beautiful places to visit and a good idea to combine them all in a half day. The Kwisitis Visitor Centre has a very nice and reasonably priced restaurant attached with great food and million dollar ocean views from every table!
More Trails Near the Shorepine Bog Trail
The Nuu-chah-nulth Trail is an amazing interpretive trail that gives a glimpse of First Nations culture as it meanders 2.5 kilometres through the rainforest from Florencia Bay to Wickaninnish Beach. At Wickaninnish Beach there is the wonderful small museum, the Kwisitis Visitor Centre, as well as the spectacular . Previously known as the Wickaninnish Trail, the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail Trail is one of the most interesting and beautiful trails between Ucluelet and Tofino. The interpretive trail has several beautiful and informative stops along the way identifying the history and fauna of the area. After about 30 minutes of hiking through the deep forest, mostly along the nice boardwalk you come to a great viewpoint. From here you can turn left and in just 200 metres reach South Beach, or turn right, continue on the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail and in 600 metres arrive at the amazing Kwisitis Visitor Centre and Kwisitis Feast House. , 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.