The West Coast Trail

Hiking the West Coast Trail is an experience we should all partake in at some point in our lives.

There are two options; either a five-day journey headed south from Nitinaht Narrows to Gordon River; or three days travelling north from Nitinaht Narrows to Pachena Bay.

Head south for 42km along the Dare Shipwreck, have a light keeper welcome you into the lighthouse and share stories of the past whilst enjoying a spectacular view. On Day three you will hit the peak of the trail, not the highest point, but the most challenging. With mud, roots, a suspension bridge, and wooden ladders that you need to pull yourself and your equipment up. Day four is a fan favourite, the sea caves at Owen Point, these caves are brightly coloured by an assortment of mineral deposits from both the rock and sea salt. On the final day, you will reach the “donkey engine” which is at the highest point of the trail. Just remember the last ferry leaves at 3:30 p.m. so please don’t be tardy, otherwise you will have to tough it out in the wilderness for an extra night!

You could always choose the three day 33km adventure through Tsusiat Falls, across a suspension bridge over Billy Goat Creek to Pachena Point Lighthouse. This may not be as long as the five day journey, but rest assured this is a full-body workout and can be extremely tough to trek through.

Something to note before embarking on this journey: Both of these trails have the option to walk along the forest’s edge or the shoreline, this is always dependent on conditions as well as the tide. You can’t enter those sea caves if the tide is high! Please remember to bring some good footwear options suitable for the beach. As well as good quality hiking boots that have rubber bottoms, do not break in a new pair of boots since that could result in some bad blisters. Speaking of blisters, a first aid kit is always a great idea for you to bring! There is a long list of suggestions for what to bring, please check out this link.

Make sure you start and finish your journey the right way at Sooke Harbour Resort & Marina. This isn’t something you do alone so they offer incredible group packages that can accommodate 2-10 people. They can cater to any need, from shopping and supplying you with breakfast and meal kits for your trip to storing any extra luggage while you are on the West Coast Trail. It’s also suggested to only have to carry the bare essentials required for the hike in a backpack and leave any luggage behind. You could add an Ocean Tour to your trail adventure and see nature not only by land, but by boat as well.

The cherry on top when staying with Sooke Harbour Resort & Marina is “Mobile Massage Services,” that’s right, they have a massage therapist that you can book by the hour who will bring a massage table to your suite and help work out any knots from the difficult terrain you just overcame.

There is no doubt that after finishing the West Coast Trail you will feel accomplished and exhausted. There is no better place to unwind and relax than Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina.