Tofino, British Columbia

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Words & Photos By Vivian Chen

The small fishing village and surf town of Tofino, British Columbia boasts rugged coastlines, gorgeous beaches and lush temperate rainforests and is home to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. From hiking and beach-combing to surfing and kayaking, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve has a lot to offer. Most of the sights to explore are indicated by clearly marked road signs along Pacific Rim Highway. There is currently free entry to all Canadian National Parks since they’re celebrating their 150 year anniversary. You can pick up a map from the visitor’s centre, located right before your turn right towards Tofino on Highway 4/Pacific Rim Highway.

Cloyaquot Sound
Wickaninnish Beach
 Rainforest Trail
Immersing yourself in the lush greens of the British Columbia coast makes the Rainforest Trail a must see. It’s relatively easy 1km trail hike through a Pacific Northwest temperate rainforest. Douglas firs, red cedar and hemlock trees tower above while giant ferns and skunk cabbage flourish on the forest floor. Moss drapes and envelopes every surface and the air smells fresh and rich with life. This was my kind of emerald-hued wonderland. There are two trail loops but at the time I visited one was closed for repairs. I explored the trail loop on the other side of the road from the parking lot. Because the ground is so wet and squishy (it is a rainforest after all) most of the trail is all along a wooden boardwalk with informational signs along the way. There are lots of stair segments climbing around the terrain but nothing too strenuous. Plan to budget about 1-1.5 hours here to soak it all in.
Rainforest Trail, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

South Beach Trail
If you’re looking for a beautiful secluded pebble beach with big rock formations, South Beach is an easy one to visit. Take Wick Road off Pacific Rim Highway down towards the Kwisitis Visitor Centre. At the end of the road, you’ll turn left into the lot. Be sure to wander around Wickaninnish Beach and the Visitor Centre before heading to the trailhead located behind the building. At the time I went, there was some construction going on but you’ll see a big sign and map at the trailhead. The South Beach trail is the short one on the map but this does link up with Nuu Chah Nulth Trail on your right if you have the time to explore further and go towards Florence Beach. The walk to South Beach takes less than an hour but you could easily spent a lot of time watching the waves crash along the shore here.

South Beach, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Wild Pacific Trail (Ucluelet)
Located south of Tofino in the town of Ucluelet, this is a must do hike to really get a feel for the wild coastline. Large jagged rocks and low mid-day fog added to the untamed feel of the landscape. It’s no wonder that this coast was the site of many shipwrecks over the years. We only had time to explore the lighthouse loop portion but there are other parts you can access from the town of Ucluelet. There are signs indicating the trailheads and parking lots once you take the main road into Ucluelet. Budget about 1.5 hours to explore this area and more time if you do other parts of the trail. It’s a relatively easy hike with beautiful views and lots of places to stop and take photos along the way.

Wild Pacific Trail

See Vivian’s full 3 day travel guide to Tofino on her blog ->

Find more of Vivian Chen’s photographic work on Instagram and in her portfolio.