We had a successful scouting mission in the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. During our two days of hiking we were lucky to have long sections of beach to ourselves for hours at a time. We planned our hikes to coincide with very low morning tides. Thousands of anemones and hundreds of starfish in remote tide pools and hidden sea caves! A highlight was stopping for a break at South Beach and having two whales join us within 100 m of the coastline. The Pacific Rim Traverse is a great introduction to coastal hiking and camping. Prepare for a bigger adventure like the West Coast Trail!
The Pacific Rim Traverse is located in the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Our basecamp was the Green Point Campground. Tofino is 20.3 km northwest and Ucluelet is 20.0 km southeast. From Victoria, drive 297 km via Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 N and BC-4 W. Google Map
All visitors to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve require a permit. Starting January 1, 2018, admission to Parks Canada places for youth 17 and under is free. Everyone else is required to pay an admission fee.
There is no backcountry camping permitted in the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. If you want to hike the Pacific Rim Traverse and camp overnight, we recommend staying at Green Point. Green Point Campground is the only campground in the Long Beach Unit. 94 drive-in sites, with electrical service, flush toilets, showers, fire-pits, picnic tables, sani-dump. 20 walk-in forest sites, unserviced, flush toilets, fire-pits, cold water taps, picnic tables, food storage. 1 group walk-in site and 1 oTENTik soft sided tent on platform. All sites have firewood available for a fee. Reservations can be made at Parks Canada Reservation Service or by calling 1-877-737-3783.
Florencia Bay to Schooner Cove – May 15-16, 2018
Distance: 29.3 km
Duration: 2 days
Peak: 51 m
Gain: 197 m
This was our first time trying to connect the Long Beach Unit hikes that we’ve been exploring for decades. Staging at Green Point gave us an opportunity to learn and practice camping skills while enjoying the amenities of a five star drive-in campground. We utilized two vehicles for a shuttle and hiked the traverse in two sections. First section was northbound from Florencia Bay to Green Point. Second section was southbound from Schooner Cove back to Green Point. We learned and practiced coastal hiking skills both days.
Day 1: Florencia Bay to Green Point
Distance: 15.7 km
Duration: 6 h 22 min
Peak: 51 m
Gain: 106 m
We woke up early and had a quick breakfast and coffee. We then drove one of our vehicles to the Willowbrae Trail parking lot. After a 1.5 km jaunt through the forest and a few flights of stairs, we arrived at the southeast side of Florencia Bay. It’s easy hiking on hard sand and some pebble sections to Lost Shoe Creek. We crossed the creek practicing safe fording technique and managed to keep our shoes dry. There’s a long flight of stairs to the top of the sand cliffs above Florencia Bay. Once on top, check out the viewing platform and plaque commemorating the wreck of the Florencia. There’s a nice a boardwalk and interpretive trail through the rainforest and bog on the way to Kwisitis Visitor Centre. It’s worth a stop at South Beach to check out the view, rock formations, and wildlife. We saw the two whales there! Hiking northbound from the Kwisitis Visitor Centre, the next beaches are Wickaninnish and Combers. We rarely see people and often see wolf tracks around the mouth of Sandhill Creek. After an easy ford on low tide, it’s a couple more kilometres to Green Point.
Day 2: Schooner Cove to Green Point
Distance: 13.6 km
Duration: 5 h 55 min
Peak: 43 m
Gain: 91 m
We followed a similar plan the next day, waking up early and packing up camp. We checked out and left a vehicle at the Green Point Campground entrance parking lot. Then shuttled up to the Schooner Cove Trail parking lot. The first section of trail follows a boardwalk through the rainforest out to the northwest end of Long Beach. We yo-yoed the section from here out to Portland Point and then travelled southeast to complete our hike at Green Point. If you time the tides right, and hike further northwest between the point and Box Island, you’ll be rewarded with an expansive and seldom visited hard sand beach that stretches all the way towards Portland Point. We timed the tides right! Make sure to leave at least three hours to fully explore Schooner Cove and the rocky headland at Portland Point. The best part about visiting the cove on a low tide is viewing the insane amount of sea life in the intertidal rocks. Less people typically means more wildlife. Be prepared for all possible wildlife encounters and Keep the “wild” in wildlife.
- Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Website
- Long Beach Unit Hiking Trails
- Maps and Brochures
- Tofino (#8615) Tidal Predictions
- Windy.com Green Point Weather
The Pacific Rim Traverse connects two world-class day hikes on the long sandy beaches of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Our objectives will be experiencing beautiful beaches and learning about backpacking in a coastal environment. The traverse includes one night at the Parks Canada Green Point Campground near Tofino. Click image below for more details.