Things To Do
Photo: Kevin Bradshaw of Hello Nature
Created by the pounding surf of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver Island’s West Coast is edged by pristine sand and rock beaches, secluded coves, rocky headlands and intertidal areas. This dramatic coastline boasts some of the most spectacular beaches in the world and offers unique beachcombing, hiking, picnicking and storm watching opportunities. Ucluelet and the southern peninsula offer miles of pristine beaches, including Big Beach, Little beach, Long Beach, Terrace Beach, and Fletchers Beach for sunset walks, building sandcastles, wildlife viewing and beachcombing for sea treasures at low tide. Located in Pacific Rim National Park, Halfmoon Bay, Florencia and Wreck Beach are beautiful sandy beaches with secluded coves and tide pools. Explore the rocky cliffs above and gaze out over the open sea.
Cox Bay is a mile of sandy beach in Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Popular with surfers, storm watchers and nature lovers, Cox Bay offers a peaceful escape for romantic walks, picnics and reflection. You can reach the beach via the public beach access at Cox Bay Beach Resort.
The pride of Tofino, Chesterman Beach is a 1.5 mile strip of bar-packed sand and rolling surf. This long beach is an exceptional spot for walking, surfing and bike riding. Wander down at low tide to explore the rich marine life in the tidal pools off Frank Island.
Tucked away on the northern side of the Tofino Village, Tonquin Beach is a secluded sandy beach in a sheltered cove. A short boardwalk pathway leads to this sandy beach – a tranquil getaway from the crowds at Tofino’s larger beaches.
One of the most spectacular beaches in the world, Long Beach offers 6 miles of surf-swept sand in Wickaninnish Bay in Pacific Rim National Park. Long Beach offers outstanding beach hiking, surfing, swimming, snorkeling, storm watching and whale watching along with a relaxed vibe. Gaze out to the vast, open sea, feel the forces of the wind and waves, and take in amazingly beautiful coastal scenery that calms your soul. Cyclists, kite flyers, hackey-sackers, disc tossers, joggers, and walkers are at play on the hard-packed sand.
Part of the Long Beach Unit, Radar Beach is rich in rugged beauty with fierce surf. If you seek a wild, untamed setting, Radar beach is a slice of paradise for surfers, beach bums and adventurers who crave the energy and beauty of Vancouver Island’s West Coast.
Experience an exhilarating Vancouver Island wilderness adventure in the Kennedy River Watershed – a breathtaking 100-foot canyon hidden by dense rainforest and cut from centuries of flowing white water. Fly above the majesty of the wild river flowing through the canyon towards Kennedy Lake and the Pacific Ocean. This zipline eco tour takes you through the canyon where your senses will be heightened by the roar of the water and the crisp mountain air in your face. The journey starts at Canyon Bridge – between Port Alberni and the Pacific Rim – where you will be shuttled to the top of the course. The 2-hour flight zips you above the whitewater river and through old growth rainforests and the canopy of fragrant cedars next to Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park.
The Pacific waters around Ucluelet and off the West Coast of Vancouver Island are legendary for salmon and halibut fishing. One of the world’s top salmon and halibut fishing destinations, Ucluelet offers big catch and unforgettable fishing vacations. Hop on your boat or join a sport fishing charter and cast your lines for salmon, including Coho, Chinook, Sockeye, Pink and Chum, halibut, ling cod, black cod, snapper, rockfish, – the most popular saltwater fish. In the summer, the Chinook range from 20 to 30 pounds. Anglers also find cutthroat trout in the streams.
During the wild West Coast winters, storm watching is an exhilarating experience. Travelers to Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve can feel the natural fury and power of the wind, rain and waves of a raging winter storm. When arctic and subtropical air masses collide over the Pacific Ocean, the tempests slam into Vancouver Island. Eight foot waves and thundering surf pound the beaches bringing Driftwood, trees and Japanese glass fishing floats. Thundering surf and ocean spray provide nature’s dramatic theatrics. Witness the ferocity of a storm from the resort or at viewpoints on the Wild Pacific Trail. As many as 15 storms per month hit the west coast during the storm season from November to March.
Explore the Broken Group Islands, an archipelago of a hundred islands and rocks in Barkley Sound. Discover beautiful waterways, channels, bays and coves that reveal jaw-dropping scenery and wildlife. Accessible by boat, these islands are a wondrous destination for boating, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing and whale and storm watching. Join Archipelago Wildlife Cruises on a exciting tour into Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands to enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife aboard the luxurious 53 foot motor yacht, the “Raincoast Maiden”, for a cruise unlike any other.
Ucluelet has awesome surf beaches, surf shops and schools. While summer waves are small and calm, winter waves can be wild and unpredictable. Wickanninish Beach, Long Beach, Cox Bay and Chestermans are popular surf spots within 30 minutes of the resort. Surfers must be aware of the dangers of rogue waves and strong rip currents. Located in Pacific Rim National Park, Florencia and Wreck Beach are favorite surf spots with local wave riders. Relic Surf Shop offers surf lessons and equipment right in Ucluelet.
Whale watching is one of the most exciting activities on Vancouver Island’s rugged west coast. There are several adventure tours and whale watching excursions departing from Ucluelet’s Barclay Sound and Tofino’s Clayoquot Sound that offer amazing opportunities to view gray, humpback and orca whales migrating and feeding along the coast from early February through April.
Enjoy unparalleled sea kayak adventures on the incredible West Coast of Vancouver Island, where you will encounter an untamed wilderness of ocean, channels, waterways, inlets, bays, coves, rivers and streams with magical scenery and abundant wildlife. Enjoy kayak adventures to Barkley Sound, Broken Group Islands, Pacific Rim National Park, Clayoquot Sound and the Deer Group Islands. Explore intricate waterways through the 100 islands and tiny islets of the Broken Group Islands and paddle to peaceful coves, white sandy beaches and ocean swells. Discover sea caves, sea sculpted rock formations, aboriginal fish traps, and tide pools. Paddle through the clear waters of Clayoquot Sound around Tofino and explore the white sand beaches. The Nitinat Triangle offers a chain of lakes for amazing kayak expeditions.
The West Coast of Vancouver Island – between Ucluelet and Tofino – is one of the world’s most amazing bird watching destinations. Situated in the Pacific Flyway, the island offers diverse habitats – Pacific Ocean, long sandy beaches, rocky islands, protected harbors, mudflats and forests – where thousands of shorebirds, including albatross, eagles, geese, ducks, and plover can be seen. Clayoquot and Barkley sounds are home to whimbrel, dowitchers, black-bellied plovers and the red knot. Marvel at eagles soaring over sandy beaches and black oystercatchers, murres, guillemots, auklets, petrels, and tufted puffin nesting on offshore islands.. Wander the trails and boardwalks through cedar forests in Pacific Rim National Park with winter wrens and Townsend’s Warbler. Sitka spruces above surf pounded beaches give Peregrine Falcons cover. Paddle through sheltered ocean coves and inland rivers or explore mountains with blue grouse and willow flycatchers
Experience the West Coast of Vancouver Island on amazing flight seeing tours that offer an eagle-eye view of this breathtaking coast – from the mighty Pacific Ocean to the jagged mountain ranges. West Coast Wild Adventures offers exciting floatplane tours over the Pacific Ocean and the rugged shoreline so you see whales, sea lions, sea birds and sea otters in the Pacific waters. Enjoy spectacular vistas of snow-capped peaks with waterfalls that form crystal clear creeks, lakes and rivers, crescents of sandy beach protected by rocky points, long twisted inlets dotted with islands and an emerald rain forest that supports a very diverse population of wildlife. Scenic floatplane tours take you to wild Vancouver Island destinations, including Clayoquot Sound, Pacific Rim National Park, Hot Springs Cove, MacKenzie Mountains, Cougar Annie’s Garden, Della Falls, Friendly Cove, First Nations Villages, Mountain Glaciers, and Butchart Gardens.
The Village of Ucluelet on the southern peninsula of Vancouver Island offers several beautiful beaches that are popular for hiking, surfing, beachcombing, storm watching, whale watching, and picnics. A short walk from town and connected to the Wild Pacific Trail, Big Beach is a blissful sand and volcanic rock beach for relaxing, watching sunsets and enjoying incredible coastal views. The beach also has a gazebo and sheltered picnic area near the trailhead. Also located along the trail, Little Beach is a small sheltered beach with amazing views of the shoreline and a British Columbia Heritage Site. Near Amphitrite Point lighthouse at the south end of Peninsula Road, Terrace Beach is a quiet sandy beach set among trees adjacent to Wild Pacific Trail. A 15-minute walk north of Ucluelet, Fletchers Beach is a beautiful secluded beach that is reached from the trail across from Fletchers Cove.
One of the most spectacular beaches in the world, Long Beach offers 6 miles of surf-swept sand in Wickaninnish Bay in Pacific Rim National Park. Long Beach offers outstanding beach hiking, surfing, swimming, snorkeling, storm watching and whale watching along with a relaxed vibe. Gaze out to the vast, open sea, feel the forces of the wind and waves, and take in beautiful coastal scenery that calms your soul.
Edged by the Insular Mountain Range of Vancouver Island and Pacific Ocean, Pacific Rim National Park is one of Canada’s natural treasures. From the majestic coastal mountains to the ancient rainforest to the rugged shoreline, Pacific Rim offers stunning natural landscapes, dynamic history, and exciting adventures. Encompassing 317 square miles on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is comprised of three units – Long Beach, Broken Group Islands and West Coast Trail – where natural wonders are woven with the legacy of the First Nations. Explore miles of coastal trails and pristine beaches. Ramble over headlands, gaze at tide pools, and watch the fury of the sea against the rocks. Enjoy exciting activities like fishing, birding, hiking, cycling, kayaking, and whale and storm watching. Hike through a rainforest of towering Sitka spruce, kayak through the Broken Group Islands, an archipelago of a hundred islands and rocks, bike on the Pacific Rim Highway and explore the 47-mile West Coast Trail.
Originally built in 1906, Amphitrite Lighthouse stands on a rocky outcrop on the southern end of the peninsula near Ucluelet overlooking the Barclay Sound and rugged coastline on Vancouver Island. A popular destination for hikers on the Wild Pacific Trail, the lighthouse offers panoramic views of the coastline, Barclay Sound and the playful sea lions just off shore. The historic lighthouse is accessed via Peninsula Road through Ucluelet or by hiking the Wild Pacific Trail’s Lighthouse Loop, a scenic path that traces the edge of the coastline. Be careful when exploring the rocky shoreline as the sea is unpredictable with pounding waves.
Located one mile from the resort, the Ucluelet Aquarium offers up close encounters with a diversity of island marine life and a stimulating “hands on” environment. See beautiful and interesting creatures from the waters right outside the aquarium, and watch as they are released back into the wild to help preserve the local marine ecosystem. Water from Ucluelet Harbor flows directly through our tanks allowing animals to find their way in and out of the displays, which are like transparent tide pools connected to the harbor ecosystem. At the Ucluelet Aquarium, displays communicate our relationship to the ocean environment. Visitors can also participate in feeding a creature or releasing it back into the ocean.
Situated on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in the Clayoquot Biosphere Reserve, between the villages of Ucluelet and Tofino, Long Beach Golf Course is one of the most challenging courses on the island. Surrounded by the ancient rainforest of Clayoquot Sound and the breathtaking beauty of Barkley Sound, the 9-hole, par-36 course offers a challenging layout on the wild and rugged coast of the Canadian wilderness. The course hosts a variety of local events and features a pro shop, driving range, Lounge Restaurant and an 18-Hole Mini Golf Course.
Edged by the ocean and rainforest, Tofino is a beautiful coastal village at the tip of Vancouver Island on the edge of Clayoquot Sound. Boasting miles of gorgeous beaches, islands of old-growth cedar, migrating grey whales, festivals, and natural hot springs, Tofino is an island escape where you feel the force of nature. Sink your toes into soft sand and rugged rock beaches, explore blissful bays and coves, discover tidal pools and surf the gentle waves. Head to Tofino’s docks for fishing, sea kayaking, whale watching, and adventure tours. Ride on Tofino’s bike path to beaches and downtown. Take a boat to Hot Springs Cove in Maquinna Provincial Park.. Walk the Wild Side trail, a scenic path and boardwalk that follows sandy beaches and headlands to Mount Flores. Kayak in Clayoquot Sound and explore the beautiful beaches of Flores Island. Celebrate the spirit of Tofino at the Food and Wine Festival and Lantern Festival. Tofino’s, surf, sky, serenity and wild beauty are mesmerizing.
Located in Maquinna Provincial Park on the north end of Clayoquot Sound, Hot Springs Cove boasts natural hot springs that rejuvenates your soul. The boiling spring water bubbles up from the earth and cascades down a cliff into natural layered rock pools cooled by the Pacific Ocean surf. The high tide surf surges into the lower pools creating a blend of hot and cool water. Soak in the rocky pools surrounded by mountains and rainforest, and experience the hot natural shower under the waterfalls. Take a tour from Tofino and hike the boardwalk trail from the dock to the springs. Hot Springs Cove is a refreshing stop for kayakers paddling through the Flores and Vargas Islands. Hike the 2-mile wilderness trail to Tsamata Beach and explore the pristine shoreline and forest of towering cedars, firs, and spruce draped with Spanish moss.
Dedicated to the cultivation and display of plants native to the world’s coastal temperate rainforests, Tofino Botanical Gardens offer 12 acres of gardens, forest, and shoreline that explore the relationship between nature and culture. Walk the paths and boardwalks from the Visitor Centre to kitchen gardens, the Frog Pond, and Children’s Garden into the forest, where clearings have become pocket gardens. Many gardens display plants that once thrived in coastal temperate rainforests around the world and celebrate the cultural groups of Clayoquot Sound, particularly the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. Tofino Botanical Gardens offers educational programs and research about temperate rainforest conservation inspires understanding of the ecosystems of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve.
Canadian artist Roy Henry Vickers has touched people from around the world with his limited edition prints, carvings and books. His colorful sunsets, misty rivers and peaceful winter scenes reflect Canada’s West Coast and his love for Vancouver Island’s natural beauty and heritage. In many pieces, including his signature Eagle Moon, superimposed shadow images add a layer of depth, history and myth to his clear images. A Tofino landmark, Vickers’ Eagle Aerie Gallery is a stunning Northwest Coast longhouse of carved and painted cedar and copper doors. Discover Roy’s paintings, prints, calendars, art cards and reproductions hanging on carved cedar walls among totem poles and carvings. The public gallery offers an atmosphere of harmony and peace.
Pacific Rim National Park
Edged by the Insular Mountain Range of Vancouver Island, British Columbia and the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Rim National Park is one of Canada’s natural and cultural treasures. From the majestic coastal mountains to the lush ancient rainforest to the rugged Pacific Coast, Pacific Rim National Park offers a myriad of natural beauty, diverse landscapes, dynamic history and adventure that captivates your spirit. Encompassing 317 square miles of land and sea on the south-west coast of Vancouver Island on the outskirts of Ucluelet, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is made up of three separate regions – Long Beach, Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail – where natural wonders are woven with the legacy of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations.
Vancouver Island Hotel on the Edge of Pacific Rim National Park
Sitting on a rocky headland on Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island, Black Rock Oceanfront Resort is a captivating destination 2 miles from the wild majesty of Pacific Rim National Park. With breathtaking views of the ocean and rainforest, Black Rock offers nature lovers a front row seat Vancouver Island’s stunning west coast. Enjoy spacious suites with balconies and fireplaces, ocean facing hot tubs, a fitness room and delectable West Coast cuisine at Fetch Restaurant and Float Lounge. Rejuvenate your senses at Drift Spa, enjoy wine tasting in the Wine Cellar, and host celebrations and events in the elegant Rainforest Ballroom. Escape to Black Rock Oceanfront Resort – set in nature, designed for comfort.
Explore Pacific Rim National Park
Explore the magnificent seashore with miles of winding coastal trails and pristine sandy beaches. Feel sand between your toes, see eagles soaring overhead and marvel at the ocean stretching to the horizon. Ramble over headlands, gaze at life in the tide pools, and watch the fury of the sea against the rocks. Experience a vast rainforest of twisted trees, vivid green moss hanging from towering Sitka spruce, and arching ferns. Pacific Rim offers an abundance of marine and land activities, including fishing, birding, hiking, cycling, kayaking, and whale watching. Take a voyage to the Broken Group Islands, hike through rainforests and long scenic beaches, and bike along the Pacific Rim Highway.
Long Beach Unit
Stretching the coast from Tofino to Ucluelet, the Long Beach Region is a magical destination for outdoor adventures – from fishing to kayaking to whale watching. The area features the sands of Long Beach, 7.5 miles of trails that run through the shoreline, intertidal areas, bogs and temperate rainforest, Green Point, Florencia and Wreck Beach, Wickaninnish Beach and Wickaninnish Beach Interpretive Centre with a theatre and exhibits on native wildlife, plants, culture, and history.
Broken Group Islands Unit
An archipelago of over a hundred islands and rocks throughout Barkley Sound, Broken Group Islands is a boating and kayaking paradise. Explore dozens of waterways, channels, sheltered coves and bays that reveal breathtaking scenery and wildlife. Accessible only by boat, this fantastic destination is a haven for boating, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing and whale, seal and sea lion watching. Enjoy guided tours and activities for boundless adventure.
West Coast Trail
The 47-mile West Coast Trail follows the southwest coast of Vancouver Island from Port Renfrew to Bamfield. Named the best hike in the world by BestHike.com, the rugged trail winds through a challenging terrain of sandy and rocky beaches, rainforest, bogs, deep mud, high ladders, surge channels and headlands, where cliffs descend into the sea. Hikers pass old growth trees, tall waterfalls, streams and exposed shelf and boulders. Hikers enjoy stunning views of Pacific Ocean, Olympic Peninsula and Carmanah Lighthouse. To cross rivers and streams, hikers ride cable cars, trek over fallen logs or pass by boat. Access sections of the trail by the trail bus, water taxi and float plane.
Wild Pacific Trail
Located in the District of Ucluelet, the Wild Pacific Trail skirts the rugged cliffs and shoreline of the west coast of Vancouver Island. Overlooking Barclay Sound and the Broken Group Islands to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the south and west, the trail system offers spectacular shoreline panoramas and seaward vistas through ancient cedar and spruce framed platforms on headlands along the route. Divided into 4 sections – Lighthouse Loop, Big Beach, Brown’s Beach and Ancient Cedars – the massive trail gives hikers unforgettable views of the ocean’s fury. The next phases will extend the trail to Half Moon Bay in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Hikers wander through old growth forests of massive trees, gigantic logs, twisted roots, mosses, fungi, lichens and ferns creating startling images of nature imitating art. The ever-changing outer coast offers intense views of storms above the surge channels and outer reefs pounded by ocean swells. During the gray whale migration from February through May, whales are spotted just offshore as well as sea lions, seals, and otters playing in the surf.
The Wild Pacific Trail is accessed right from the Black Rock Resort property! Ask guest service for a trail map before your hike.
Wild Pacific Trail Accommodations
Perched on the coastal headlands – steps from the Wild Pacific Trail – Black Rock Oceanfront Resort is a West Coast destination where comfort and natural tranquility blend in perfect harmony. Our Wild Pacific Trail Suites are separate accommodations from our Main Lodge- with direct access to the Wild Pacific Trail. With magical views of the ocean and rainforest, Black Rock offers nature lovers a window to Vancouver Island’s Wild Pacific Trail. Enjoy nature views from accommodations with balconies and fireplaces, outdoor pool and hot tubs overlooking the ocean, a fitness room and wonderful West Coast cuisine at Fetch Restaurant and Float Lounge. Host your special events and celebrations in the elegant Rainforest Ballroom. After you hike the Wild Pacific Trail, rejuvenate at Drift Spa or soak in the outdoor hot tubs. A perfect way to end an adventurous afternoon on the Wild Pacific Trail.
This 2.41 km section of the Wild Pacific Trail can be walked in a 30-45 minute loop. Hikers journey through a mossy rainforest to a scenic trail along the edge of the coastline past dramatic views of Barkley Sound, Amphitrite Lighthouse and the exposed coast. Viewpoints and benches are perfect for watching whales, birds or catching sunsets. The He-Tin-Kis Park trail also has stunning views with a short trail on a boardwalk path with stairs to rocky beaches.
Big Beach Section
Starting at the popular Big Beach recreational area, this very scenic 3-mile path winds along the coast and through the rainforest down to a several pebble beaches. Turn right up the stairs to the boardwalk overlook, cross the bridge over Marine Drive past Black Rock Resort to the beautiful coastline trail.
Brown’s Beach Section
Starting at the new parking lot just past Black Rock Resort on Marine Drive, hikers follow a short section of a forested trail to the 5.5 – 8.4 km wilderness coastal trail. Take a scenic path right along the coastline for stunning ocean views, or walk a loop via the forested access trails to Forbes Road sports field or exit at the Pacific Rim Highway. Turn right to walk the bike path back to town.
Ancient Cedars and Rocky Bluffs Section
This section showcases old growth Sitka spruce, western hemlock and giant red cedars, with some of the oldest trees on the Ucluelet peninsula. The trail head is accessed from the Pacific Rim Highway, just a short 10 minute walk out of town from Forbes Road.
Trail maps are available from the Black Rock Concierge or Reception Desk. Maps can also be found at trail heads and on the website.