Willowbrae & Halfmoon Bay Trails Tofino & Ucluelet Area Hiking
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. Another beautiful look into history is the remaining sections of the "Corduroy Road". Early settlers constructed roads in the forest by laying down logs next to each other in a fashion that resembles corduroy fabric.
The Willowbrae Trail takes you straight to the southern end of the beautiful Florencia Bay which is reached in 1.4 kilometres from the trailhead. The final descent to the beach is down a wonderfully long and somewhat steep boardwalk and stairs section. Florencia Bay is certainly one of the most beautiful beaches in Pacific Rim National Park due to its secluded feel, sunny south facing direction and interesting shipwreck history. The beach is big and beautiful and you will usually find just a handful of surfers enjoying the whole area to themselves.
The beautiful and even more secluded feeling Halfmoon Bay can be reached from the branching trail off of the Willowbrae Trail. At 1.2 kilometres from the Willowbrae trailhead you come to a nice, big sign and map board indicating the trail to Halfmoon Bay in just 500 metres. Both routes should be taken on any visit to this area as both are very nice. Walking to both beaches and back to your car only adds up to 3.8 kilometres and can be done at a leisurely pace in less than two hours or one hour in a faster pace.
The Willowbrae Trail trailhead is just 5 kilometres from Ucluelet and actually lays just south of Pacific Rim National Park. Pacific Rim National Park begins a few metres into the trail.
Directions to the Willowbrae Trailhead Tofino & Ucluelet Hiking Trails
The Willowbrae Trail does not have a visible sign from the Tofino Ucluelet Highway. It is however, at the end of Willowbrae Road, but the street sign is easy to miss. If you are coming from the Tofino Ucluelet junction on the Pacific Rim Highway, Willowbrae Road is exactly 2 kilometres away, on your right. If you are coming from Ucluelet look for Willowbrae Road on your left at about 5 kilometres from Ucluelet. From Tofino, the turnoff to Willowbrae Road is about 36 kilometres.
Other Ucluelet & Pacific Rim National Park Trails Nearby:
Wild Pacific Trail(lighthouse loop) - incredible trail above wild, rocky coastline, gnarled, weather blasted trees. 1.5-3hours circle route
Florencia Bay Trail - amazing wooden boardwalk through the rainforest ending at a wonderful beach. 10 minutes to beach
Nuu-chah-nulth Trail - a 2.1km wooden walkway with informative pit stops through the forest to a nice beach. 1.5 hours
Kwisitis Visitor Centre - a beautiful and free (small) museum with amazing displays and wonderful restaurant attached