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“Stunning hike for the Determined Trekker!”
Review of West Coast Trail

West Coast Trail
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Attraction details
Owner description: West Coast Trail has the reputation of being on of the most excutiating treks in North America, rewarding you with stunning backdrops in a cultural and historical landscape. West Coast Trail is a hiking trail that follows along the southwestern shoreline of Vancouver Island. It has infamous weather, where thousands of people come to storm watch. In fact, the weather and tides have been the demise of many catastrophic shipwrecks up until the late 1800's, making the area known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific". Beached survivors often met their makers once they made it to the jagged shoreline, provoking the government to rough-in a trail that is to this day isolated, physically challenging and potentially hazardous. West Coast Trail is not for the faint of heart, but welcomes those ready to take on the 75km challenge, explore the environment and learn a great deal about themselves, both mentally and physically. Can you conquer it?!
Reviewed December 4, 2013

The West Coast Trail was quite simply amazing! We began this trail June.28/13 the day after a week long torrential downpour had cleared. Trails were extremely wet, slippery and after taking a chest deep slip off the boardwalk into a bog, we were still laughing & loving every minute! The campsites along the way were always placed in wonderful locations leaving you breathless from the view. Be sure to check your tide charts for timing your hike each day!
We were lucky to witness a great variety of wildlife and sealife including whales and sea lions.
Be sure to wear ankle supported, broken in footwear, pack light, and monitor the condition of your feet for blisters, etc....we saw this ruin many hikers trip.
I will definitely be going back to experience Canada's West Coast beauty again soon!

4  Thank Rena4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 - 59 of 102 reviews

Reviewed October 6, 2013

This is a great but challenging hike needing 6 to 8 days. As someone with limited multi-day hiking experience, I went with a group organized by Coastal Bliss Adventures. They did a fantastic job and our guides were great. Be in shape otherwise you will suffer. Your pack will weigh 35-50 pounds and climbing up and down ladders and hiking challenging terrain is tough.

1  Thank Philip221054
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2013

I had thought about doing this trail next year, but when my daugther annouced she was going to do the trail alone this August, I decided to join her on the adventure. It was last minute, but worth it in everyway (and I was able to secure a last minute permit - not so tough at the end of the season..) Looking back now, I really realize that it was a good decision to join her on the 77 k hike (6 days, five nights - it would be hard to do it faster!) - it was dangerous to the degree that if she had fallen, she could have been in serious trouble. Although they allow 30 people to start on the trail from each direction each day (there is a north entry point and a south entry point - and one voluntary exit point thru tribal land in the middle), people spread out pretty quickly, and there were days when we went for a long time without seeing anyone - and I think 6 to 8 hours would be a long time to wait for help if one had fallen from a 40 ladder - and there were plenty to fall from. During the 6 days we were on the trail, 6 people were medivaced off the trail for health reasons and 12 voluntarily left at the half way point. Although it never rained while we were hiking, it had rained for 2 weeks before, so there a lot of mud to contend with. Despite the challenges, for me, it was one of those epic adventures that my daughter and I will always share the memory of - and I know, for me, it was one of those hikes of a lifetime. I was just so happy in the woods - even if there was endless mud, terrifying log bridge crossings and the occassional bear. And the beach stretches of the walk, which were in sand, gravel and along the tide flats - were beautiful beyond measure. There are also a number of cable cars along the route to cross deeper rivers - easy to go out on but hard to pull your way back up. At one river, the cable car was broken, and the tide was getting dangerously high - so we ended up wading/swimming a thankfully slack stretch - wow, was that wild, with our packs on and no footing! Fortunatley we had lined our packs with garbage bags, so there was no real damage.

We camped every night along the beach, and there were mornings when we could easily identify cougar and bear tracks in the sand. And everytime we looked out on the sea, we could spot grey whales migrating past. One day, when we were waiting to be ferried across a river by a First Nations guy who is paid by Parks Canada to transport people where no cable car is possible, we saw a huge sea lion catching fish in an amazing river lined with cedar and sparkling in the sunshine and I just thought we were in a dream - it was all so perfect - as was the salmon lunch we ate on the other side (one the sea lions hadn't got!) Just writing this makes me wish I could do it all again.

There a good number of people along the trail - but not too many. It was surprising to see how many parents were hiking the trail with their young adult kids - I don't know if the parents were worried about the kids more than the kids worried about the parents, but there was definitely a lot of bonding going on! We camped every night in designated camping areas with others (which I liked for the reason of safety in numbers), but again, we rarely saw people on the trail, unless they were going the other direction. I would say half the people we met were European (lots from Germany) - this hike really is considered world class.

Anyone can do this trail if they set their mind to it. Plan enough time - maybe 7 days if you aren't a young athelete, so you don't push yourself too hard. Doing it in 6 days, we set up camp almost everynight at 7:30 (except the last day_ - it would have been nice to have had one early day to just set up earlier to dry things out and relax.

Anyway, I loved every challenging moment and want to do it again next year. Do bring a pair of dry socks for every day on the trail, wear gators and avoid the crazy woman and her attack dogs at Chez Monique along the beach. This is the adventure of a lifetime, - you'll never forget it!

14  Thank Gambletravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2013

My review is on a bit different note. Please everyone - pack out every scrap of what you pack in. Foil lined dehydrated dinner packets do not burn! That leftover foil is trash! Pack out your toilet paper! or carry it to put it into a latrine. Do not bury toilet paper, animals dig it up and scatter it about. I saw way too much toilet paper along the trail. Be careful with your snack wrappers, especially the corners you tear off (pro tip: do not tear off the corner, leave it hanging on) My god, every major campsite we stayed in had too many rodents running around at night, scampering and waking us up because of all the garbage everywhere. We had no problems with rodents when we stayed in less used sites. I also watched a guy ripping a live tree branch off just so he could reach a piece of webbing he threw over a tree. He could have used a hiking pole or tent pole. jeez. Please, I hope the rangers drill into campers more nowadays the Leave No Trace principle. They didn't mention it strongly enough in our orientation. This trail is an overloved Disney Land.
Otherwise, yes, it's an amazingly beautiful trail. Get on the beach/shelf whenever you can. Do not miss Owen Point.

3  Thank carl12242013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 11, 2013

We took the Juan de Fuca Express with Brian Gisborne back from the West Coast Trail and this was a GREAT decision. The cost may seem prohibitive at $135.00 yet if you consider that the standard cost of the shuttle is $80.00 on a bumpy logging road with saddening views of the extensive clear cuts in the area then an extra $55.00pp is worth it! Brian stops for whales and sea lions, it is like being in National Geographic. It isn't a very well publicized or promoted operation but it is well worth it. Google it.
As for the trail, it is challenging, not to be taken lightly and absolutely incredible. As for long trails, I have hiked the Milford Track, the Queen Charlotte Track in NZ, the Skyline in Jasper, the West Highland Way in Scotland and this trail is WAY harder than those but very rewarding.
Between the winter storms, mud, rain, landslides, tides, etc., the trail is in constant metamorphosis, it will do you little good to read any trail specific information here. My guide books, although helpful for historical info and points of interest could not necessarily be counted on for descriptions. One thing I will note is that there is no longer any cell service on the trail but that could change again soon (I wasn't going to bring mine anyway but a lot of the stuff I read said that you could get service in many places).

8  Thank sekaitraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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