Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

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Hiking trail guide

On Vancouver Island North, trails penetrate deep into the landscape, offering easy access to remote forests, beaches, streams and lakes. Walk among giants on pathways made spongy from decades of coniferous needles falling. Inhale the freshest ocean air, rich with sea-spray, along pristine shoreline.
Many seaside communities are lined with wheelchair-accessible seawalls, boardwalks and pathways, perfect for family outings and sunset strolls. Excursion options abound close to towns and further afield. These hikes can vary from an hour or two up to a full day. Multi-day epic adventures like the Cape Scott Trail and the North Coast Trail are on the list for trekkers looking to get remote and experience the ruggedly beautiful outer reaches.
Check in at local Visitor Centres for details on hiking options closest to their communities and destinations beyond.

The west coast has spectacular options for all levels of hiking ability. Follow forested trails to the open Pacific Ocean where your footprints could quite likely be the only ones in the sand. Two of these west coast hiking highlights became more accessible in the summer of 2010 when the trail to Raft Cove was re-routed and improved with boardwalk and bridging, and the trail to San Josef Bay was resurfaced. A parking lot expansion at the trailhead for San Josef Bay, and Cape Scott, leading to the North Coast Trail was also completed during the site upgrade.

You will find nature that is just a little more natural everywhere you turn on Vancouver Island North. Check in at local Visitor Centres for details on hiking options closest to their communities and destinations beyond.

If you plan on exploring some of the more remote areas of the region, make sure you are prepared:

Proper planning will help you enjoy the rewards of your journey.


Port Hardy

Quatse Loop & Estuary Trail – 2.5 km loop
Storey’s Beach – stroll this long stretch of beach, enjoy the wide, sandy expanse that is uncovered at low tide
Tex Lyon Trail – out and back, allow minimum 8 hours for the complete round trip
Beaver Lake Interpretive Trail – 1.3 km interpretive loop
Seawall – paved pathway along the waterfront with views of Hardy Bay

Port McNeill

Schoolhouse Creek Trail – 1.6 km loop
Cluxewe Salt Marsh Trail – 3 km out and back to the beach
Lady Ellen Point Trail – 2 km
Harbour Seawall – oceanfront walkway with views of Broughton Strait

Port Alice

Seawalk – wheelchair accessible pathway along the community coastline of Neroutsos Inlet
Marble River – 8 km return trip, out and back trail
Spruce Bay Interpretive Trail – 2.7 km out and back interpretive trail
Alice Lake Loop – a series of ancient Quatsino karst and limestone formations, all features located approximately 15 km’s from Port Alice including Devil’s Bath, and the Eternal Fountain

Alert Bay

Ecological Park – 1.3 km loop
Alert Bay Trails System – 16 km network of trails
Seawall – Harbour front boardwalk and walkway


Mateoja Trail – 3.2 km one way, allow 3 hours for a return trip
Beautiful Bay Trail – 10 km return trip, allow 5 hours
Pulteney Point Lighthouse – 2.5 km return trip


Cape Scott Park website:
San Josef Bay Trail – 5 km round trip, out and back
Cape Scott Trail – 15 km one way, plenty of camping options
North Coast Trail – 58 km one way, start at the Cape Scott Trailhead or Shushartie Bay
Raft Cove – 4 km round trip, out and back, beachfront camping available
Grant Bay – less than 1 km to the beach, beachfront camping available
Little Huson Caves – a network of trails and limestone formations


View Activities

Ripple Coast Society

Ripple Coast Society provides fun, experiential and fascinating nature tours with the ecosystems and wildlife of coastal British Columbia to help unde ... Read More

Cove Adventure Tours

Cove Adventure Tours offers regularly scheduled day trips to remote locations on northern Vancouver Island. The tours offer guests an opportunity to s ... Read More

250 230-4575

North Coast Trail Shuttle

The North Coast Trail Shuttle is a service taking hikers to or from the trail head of the new North Coast Trail and the existing Cape Scott Trail. Hik ... Read More

k’awat’si Tours

Eco Tours & Aboriginal Cultural Experiences Experience the wild beauty of British Columbia’s coastal rainforests through the eyes of your First N ... Read More

Woss Fire Lookout

Recreation Sites and Trails BC has recently undertaken a project to restore abandoned fire lookouts and establish them as recreation sites to preserve ... Read More