TofinoPacific Rim National ParkUcluelet

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a 500 square kilometre west coast treasure that lies between the Vancouver Island coastal mountain range and the open Pacific Ocean.

Established in 1971, the park has three separate areas: the Long Beach unit lies between the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet on Pacific Rim Hwy., the Broken Group Islands are made up of approximately 100 islands in Barkley Sound, and the West Coast Trail is a challenging 75 km (47 mile) that stretches along the ocean from Port Renfrew to Bamfield.

From lush rainforest hiking, to beachcombing and surfing on endless sandy beaches, Pacific Rim provides a wealth of activities for all types of adventurers. The park also allows visitors the opportunity to see all sorts of wildlife in its natural habitat, both on and off shore. From bald eagles and migrating shorebirds to hulking sea lions and furry sea otters, to foraging black bears and giant 30-ton humpback, grey and orca whales, it's an adventure seekers' paradise. 

This is the traditional territory of several Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, including the Ucluelet, the Tla-o-qui-aht, the Ditidaht, and the Toquaht. Archaeological evidence from 290 sites within the entire park suggests the Nuu-chah-nulth inhabited this area for 4,300 years. 

The most accessible section of the park is the Long Beach unit. With more than 10 accesses along Pacific Rim Hwy., visitors have an abundance of choices. Coming from Ucluelet before you enter the park, visitors can access Florencia and Half Moon Bay from Willowbrae Rd. Two hiking trails lead to the beach.

Entering the park from Pacific Rim Hwy., you'll first come to Wick Rd., which has several beach access and hiking trails. First is the main entrance to Florencia Bay, accessible off Wick Rd. A wide path leads to a lookout point with information plaques and a steep wooden staircase provides access to the beach itself. Also called Wreck Bay, this area was named for the Wreck of The Florencia, a Peruvian vessel that was on its way home loaded with lumber from Victoria when it became unmanageable and was drifting helplessly.  The HMS Forward took her in tow but then developed engine trouble and had to cut the Florencia adrift, and she shattered on the islet in the bay. The area of the West Coast is part of the "Graveyard of the Pacific" that stretches from Oregon to the northern tip of Vancouver Island; named for its historical treacherous navigational characteristics.

A little further along Wick Rd. is the Shorepine Bog Trail, a level boardwalk trail through some of the most unique vegetation in the park. Three hundred year-old shorepine dwarf trees dominate this somewhat eerie 1km trail, so gnarled because of water accumulated in this geological depression. Sphagnum moss is prevalent throughout the bog, causing the soil to remain acidic and stunting the growth of all the plants and trees in the area. This trail is wheelchair accessible and washrooms are located at the parking area at the trailhead.

The Wickaninnish Centre is located on Wickaninnish Beach at the end of Wick Rd. An interpretive centre that's been newly redesigned, you'll find a wealth of information about the park, its historical inhabitants and its flora and fauna here. Public interpretive programs are available throughout the summer and educational and tour groups can be booked individually. Learn about such topics as intertidal life or traditional First Nations wild foods from Park staff.

You'll find numerous beach accesses for Wickaninnish Beach by turning right at the end of Wick Rd. The paths to the beach will lead you through windswept sand dunes, and there are picnic areas near most of the parking lots. Washrooms are also available. Parking fees are in effect in all areas of the Long Beach Unit, with kiosks scattered throughout the area.

The South Beach trail and Wickaninnish Trail begin at the same point just south of the Wickaninnish Centre. This trail will either lead you to South Beach along a gravel pathway, boardwalk and staircase to the beach or to the Wickaninnish Trail, a trail that connects with the trail head at Florencia Bay. Wickaninnish Trail contains some of the old logs that made up a corduroy road between Tofino and Ucluelet used by early European settlers. The trail also has boardwalk sections, but can get wet so bring your boots if it's raining!

The Rainforest Trail will transport you into an ancient hushed world where towering trees reign (see Hiking Trails for a detailed description of all trails in the park).

Combers Beach is the next park access point. An older trail located where Sandhill Creek and the ocean meet had to be repositioned after extensive shoreline erosion damaged the original access. This erosion is still visible from the new trail, a combined gravel and boardwalk that ends in a ramp and stairs. Watch your step here and keep a look out for species of birds that frequent this area.

Green Point Campground and Theatre hosts free nightly park programs during the summer at the heated indoor theatre. Check out program listings at the Wickaninnish Centre or the Junction Information Centre.

Long Beach is the jewel of the West Coast and the next point of access in Pacific Rim Park. The longest stretch of beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island, this beach is what dreams are made of. Walk the length of it and be transported into a windswept world of barking sea lions with eagles overhead and white sand beneath your toes. The Tla-o-qui-aht community of Esowista is located at the northern end of Long Beach and is set to expand. Follow the beach all the way around to Schooner Cove at its northern tip.

You can also access Schooner Cove from Schooner Trail, a 1km boardwalk trail that will take you over streams and through a canopy of vibrant forest.

Grice Bay Rd. is one of the only access points on the western side of the park and it leads to a boat launch on Tofino Inlet. A calmer, more serene landscape greets you here, although it is no less teeming with life than the open ocean. Access to Long Beach Golf Course and the Tofino-Ucluelet Airport is also off Grice Bay Rd.

The last point in the Long Beach Unit is Radar Hill, a beautiful vantage point from which to gaze off over the western horizon towards Japan, and appreciate the lush green-carpeted mountains of Clayoquot Sound. This was a radar station during the Cold War and interpretive information and remnants still remain on the site. The Kap'yong Memorial at the lookout point (up the boardwalk) commemorates the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry's involvement in the Korean War.

The border of the park is the southernmost border of the District of Tofino.