The first exploration of The Wild Pacific Trail the day before left us curious and super excited to visit more of the Pacific Rim National Park the next day. We were promised rainforests and lovely beach views, and that’s exactly what we got. We drove from Ucluelet to Tofino and did several small hikes to explore the diversity of the park.
After some cereal for breakfast on our amazing balcony we were forced to say goodbye to our so far favorite hotel. We drove north on Vancouver Island and entered the official limits of the Pacific Rim National Park little after 9am. The weather was a little gloomy, but for our first hike through the forest that didn’t really bother us.
We started the day with the Halfmoon Bay hike. The first two kilometers were quite dull but after the intersection of the Halfmoon Bay and Willowbae Trail trail we entered deeper into the forest and got more dense views. This is what we came to Canada for! The wooden stairs through the forest go all the way down to the beach. Amazing views along this three kilometer trail!
Once we were back at the intersection, we decided to hike the rest of the Willowbae Trail as well. There was less than a kilometer left, so I’d be a shame to dismiss it. More wooden stairs down and ending with a desolate beach view. Both hikes and beach views are quite similar view wise, so it doesn’t really matter which trail you end up taking.
Back at the parking lot, we drove about ten minutes to the next trailhead; South Beach Trail. By then the sun was already peeking through the clouds so we were quite hopeful for the rest of the day. This trail led mostly along the shore and offered multiple beach views, which we could have seen coming going by the name of the trail.
Enough with the beaches; time to head into the rainforest! And what better way to do so then by hiking the Rainforest Trail. This hike consists of two one kilometer one-way loops through the forest. Most of the trail is on an elevated wooden path, so it’s not really a technically challenging hike. There are quite a few stairs however. It can also get quite busy on these loops, so don’t ignore the one-way direction of the loops. We did (oops!) and crossing people was often a bit tricky.
And that was all the hikes for the day. But not the end of our visit to the park. We still continued further up north to the most famous viewpoint in the Pacific Rim National Park; Radar Hill. A couple hundred meters from the parking lot you are rewarded with a stunning vista over the area as you can see in the picture at the top of this post.
Considering we had to take the ferry early the next morning we had decided to stay in Port Alberni for the night instead of another night in the Pacific Rim National Park. So we still had quite a drive ahead of us that evening. Fortunately we had some time left before we had to leave, so we drove the last bit north to Tofino. This city mostly serves as a place where tourists stay the night and doesn’t really offer much authenticity, but the views on the bay are still worth a quick stop.
It still wasn’t dark by the time we made it to Port Alberni, so we made a detour to the harbour to check that out as well. We almost got blown into the water by the strong winds and there wasn’t even much to write home about there. Bummer. We didn’t waste any more time on it and had an early – and very delicious – dinner at Boomerang Café before retiring to our room at the Best Western Barclay Hotel. The day after, it was back to the mainland!