The Wild Pacific Trail - Tofino & Clayoquot Sound Trails
The Wild Pacific Trail is a must see on any visit to Pacific Rim National Park, Ucluelet and/or Tofino. Located in Ucluelet, the Wild Pacific Trail is actually a set of three trails that connect into a wonderful 8.4 kilometre route.
The Lighthouse Loop trail is a great place to start is wild meandering 2.6km trail that has endless amazing ocean views and an amazing array of twisted, weather beaten, and endlessly interesting trees along the trail.
There are several great access points to the ocean where you can clamour over the rocks and see all sorts of sea life lurking in the pools and crevices where the ocean pours in and out of.
The Wild Pacific Trail is wide and leisurely with numerous viewpoints to the ocean and guides you in and out of the forest on a constantly interesting route. The Lighthouse Loop takes less than an hour to walk, though considerably more if you explore.
You can continue walking along Peninsula Road and Marine Drive to reconnect to the trail or a good idea is to drive to the parking on Marine Drive near Browns Beach.
This positions you in the middle of the other two section of the Wild Pacific Trail, Big Beach and Brown's Beach.
Big Beach has a large picnic area and a great ocean viewpoint. There are three beach access points. Browns' beach begins near Black Rock Resort and runs through a section of forest then three kilometres of beautiful ocean views until reaching Peninsula Road.
If you turn right here you can follow the bike trail to Forbes St and connect back to Marine Drive or simply retrace your steps to your car.
Directions to the Wild Pacific Trail
The Wild Pacific Trail is well signed and easy to find in Ucluelet. For the Lighthouse Loop Trail, simply follow Peninsula Road until you see the signs for Wild Pacific Trail. There is one parking area near Terrace Beach and another one further on if you turn right onto Coast Guard Road. This one is a great choice for the Loop Trail route, but the Terrace Beach parking is great if you plan on hiking the Loop Trail then relax and/or picnic at the lovely Terrace Beach.
More Trails Near the Wild Pacific Trail
The Willowbrae Trail is a fairly quiet trail as compared to other beach trails in Pacific Rim National Park. The trail is easy and flat to begin as you hike along the straight and flat gravel path. This trail is prominent in the local history as a connecting route to Tofino. Before the current highway was built in 1942, the route to Tofino was usually via sea and land right through what is now the Willowbrae Trail. A nice map and information board along the trail points out what historic interests to look out for.. "Notches on old growth stumps that held springboards on which loggers stood to fell the giant trees. Abandoned homestead sites characterized by young second growth trees crowded together with littler shrubbery or undergrowth." The abandoned homestead sites have been obliterated by the forest but the notches in fantastically huge tree stumps are everywhere. The Kwisitis Visitor Centre is a beautiful and astonishingly elaborate little museum next to the very nice Kwisitis Feast House(previously the Wickaninnish Restaurant). Both the Centre and the Restaurant lay in the rainforest of Quisitis Point that separates Wickaninnish Beach and Florencia Bay. The restaurant has incredible views and the Kwisitis Visitor Centre is free. Kwisitis, in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, means "other end of the beach". The restaurant and visitor centre are in a very nice building perched on a point in the middle of seemingly endless beaches in either direction. The restaurant is perched so far out on this point of land that you feel as though you have ocean all around you. There is a huge sundeck outside the restaurant where you have the ocean crashing below you. Florencia Bay, named after the ship that was wrecked here in 1861 is certainly one of the most amazing places in the world. Just a short, 1 kilometre (.62 mile) 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. 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. Hiking/walking the 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 looks more like a desert. Everything looks blasted by wind, and unexpectedly dry, very dry.