There’s a feeling you get when you are sitting on a beach that stretches on forever feeling the wind whip your hair across your face and listening to the ocean beat ferociously against the shore. Bliss. The smell of the salty air and watching as a bald eagle flies overhead is nothing short of a blissful experience at the western edge of British Columbia. At Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, you feel like you’re at the edge of the world.
British Columbia’s Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, one of 47 parks in Canada, is one of the best places to explore Canada’s temperate rainforest. It protects over 500 square kilometres of forest, beach and ocean on Vancouver Island. With activities like hiking and surfing, it is an excellent place for adventure seekers.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve encompasses three units of Vancouver Island’s western coast – Long Beach, Broken Islands and West Coast Trail.
The most popular and most easily accessible unit is Long Beach. Spanning from Tofino to Ucluelet, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve features beaches, trails and forest. Highlights include Long Beach, Combers Beach, Radar Hill, Rainforest Trail and Kᵂisitis Visitor Centre.
The Rainforest Trail takes you from the canopy of the gigantic western red cedar and western hemlock to the forest floor. It grants you access into some of Canada’s unique biosphere, the temperate rainforest. The trees here are absolutely massive.
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Long Beach, along with the other beaches in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, is a surfer’s paradise. The constant swell gives surfers of all experience levels to catch a wave. But these are wet-suit waters on Canada, meaning it’s freaking cold year round.
But the waters around this area can be hazardous. It’s no secret that the ocean is a dangerous force. There are some incredibly strong currents here. There are major water hazards that visitors need to be cautious of – like rip tides and tsunamis.
Riptides are incredible powerful currents that can pull people into the ocean. Visitors also need to be aware of large waves and tides.
Tsunamis, no matter how rare, are caused when the water is disturbed by a large scale event, like an earthquake. It’s also a weird feeling knowing you’re staying in a tsunami evacuation area and you’re worried about sleeping through an earthquake.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve also has an incredible history. The Wickaninnish Beach served as an essential training area for the Canadian Armed Forces from 1942 to 1957. The coastal conditions and sandy beaches were comparable to what the soldiers faced overseas. Parks Canada warns visitors that unexploded explosive ordnance have been found in the sand dunes and ask people to call emergency service or the park if one is found.
West Coast Trail
One aspect that makes this area popular for adventure seekers is the West Coast Trail. This unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve features a 75km hiking trail. It is only open from May to October, and Parks Canada only gives out so many reservations each year. The trail takes you through the forest, up and down ladders, over a self-powered cable car, and over beautiful beaches. It can take 5 to 7 days to complete this trek and is designed for experienced multi-day hikers.
About 100 islands make up this incredible group of islands in Barkley Sound. The area is known to be a haven for kayakers navigating the crystal waters. There are a number of designated campsites on some of the islands, and it makes one hell of a camping trip.
The Pacific Rim National Park is the perfect playground for adventure seekers – so what adventure will you find here?
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