The Trail


The Ditidaht First Nation, along with the Pacheddaht and Huu-ay-aht people, has always lived along the west coast of Vancouver Island. Our ancestors created many of the hiking trails and paddling routes in this land for the purpose of trade and travel. 

Some of our traditional communities and cultural places, along with a once life saving trail established for survivors of ship wrecks along the coast, became part of the newly created Pacific Rim National Park in 1973. That 75 km life-saving trail is now known as the West Coast Trail, and it is a premier adventure destination on Vancouver Island. 

The West Coast Trail is much more than a breathtakingly beautiful hike – it is the remnants of history that takes you through in the footsteps of the First People. It is also a challenging hiking trail, and requires careful preparation and planning. Here are some things you should know about the West Coast Trail:
       
                                     
  • In order to hike all or 1/2 the trail you must reserve your spot through the  Parks Canada  web site.       

  • The trail is open May through September, is 75 km long and takes 5-7 days to hike. The terrain is uneven, and you must be prepared for slippery conditions on muddy trails, wooden surfaces, boulders and rocky shorelines.                             
  • Summer of 2015 introduced Timber construction replacing the age old boardwalks.
  • At various parts of the trails you will be wading through rivers, negotiating steep slopes, climbing ladders and using cable cars
  • It is not unheard of for structures on the trail to be unexpectedly damaged by storms and other natural phenomenon. Likewise, the climate of this temperate rainforest can change quickly and dramatically. You must be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions and changes circumstances on the trail
  • Accidents and injuries do happen on the West Coast Trail. If an accident should occur, it may take up to 24 hours for help to arrive. 

FAQ's about the West Coast Trail

A: Thousands of people hike the West Coast Trail every year, and they bring with them various ages, abilities and hiking experience. Hikers enjoying the 2-3 day West Coast Trail experience from Nitinat Lake will find the trail accessible to most abilities. However, the full trail is definitely meant for hikers who are:
  • Able to walk long distances through rough terrain with a heavy pack  
  • Experienced in multi-day backpacking trips  
  • Prepared to have an isolated wilderness experience  
  • Have lots of stamina  
  • Free of recurring knee, back or ankle injuries  
  • Over twelve years old 
A: The West Coast Trail requires all the equipment you would expect to need during a backcountry wilderness experience. Comfort Campers on the 2-3 day West Coast Trail experience will need sturdy hiking books, a sleeping bag, rain gear, food and a backpack to carry it all. Hikers on the full trail will also need a tent and other supplies. Go to Parks Canada website at http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/activ/activ6a/iv.aspx for a complete list of gear to pack.
A: Parks Canada has a number of very helpful tools to help hikers prepare for their trip along the West Coast Trial. This includes a West Coast Trail Preparation Guide. The Guide provides details about hiking the WCT, tips and contact information. The Guide is published annually ahead of the hiking season. You will also find maps and tide tables. Go to http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/activ/activ6a/ii.aspx for more information. 
A: To avoid overcrowding, Parks Canada limits the number of hikers during the peak hiking season from June 15 to September 15. Hikers can gain access to the trail by either making a reservation or registering on the standby list or hiking 1/2 the trail by entering/exiting at the Nitinaht half way point. This spot offers more access and less waiting times.  Go to http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/activ/activ6a/iii.aspx for more information and bookings.
The entry point at Nitinaht Lake is accessible by water taxi from the Nitinaht Lake dock. The boat leaves daily at 9:00AM and returns at 5:00PM.
If you are coming from Bamfield or Port Renfrew without a vehicle the West Coast Trail Express will get you to the 3rd Entry Orientation Centre located in the DItidaht Nation General Store. (May-Sept) There is a Motel and Campground available for an overnight stay. Go to http://www.trailbus.com.  for more shuttle info.
The tent site is at KM30 of the WCT located and is  2.5KM from the Water Taxi drop off point on the north side of the Nitinat Narrows. The 2.5KM hike is on the Trail itself and requires proper footwear and gear. Orientation is required and available at the Visitors' Centre  250-754-3999 prior to boarding the Water Taxi.  
Nitinaht Lake Motel: Comfort and convenience next to the Nitinaht General Store and 10 minutes walk tom the water taxi dock. Sleeping rooms and kitchenettes from $120 per night. To check availability please contact us or  check out our packages.  
Comfort Camping: Premium canvas tent campsites with wood stoves and decks 2.5km from the Nitinaht Narrows. Maximum capacity of 4 people and monitored by Ditidaht Trail Guardians. Check availability or book. 
Windsurfer’s Park Camping: Rustic camping with picnic tables, fire pits and outhouse facility. Maximum stay of 14 days, monitored daily by Ditidaht Campground staff. Reservations are not accepted but we will do our best to find you a spot while booking your Comfort Camping trip.
Nitinaht Wilderness Charters: Carl Edgar and family have operated the West Coast Trail Ferry Crossing for over 35 years and offer water taxi services to hikers utilizing Nitinaht Lake as the mid-point entrance and exit for the West Coast Trail.  
Tsusiat Tour Company offers you flexibility and comfort with its 24ft Silverstreak enclosed passenger vessel ready at your convenience. Perfect for corporate retreats, school outings or a romantic getaway Custom packages up to 14 people. Contact us with your requirements.