Exploring the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve stretches along 130 kilometers of western Vancouver Island’s coastline, encompassing pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and the wild Pacific Ocean. The park is comprised of three distinct units: the Broken Group Islands, the West Coast Trail, and Long Beach.

Long Beach is the largest and most accessible unit of the park. Located just a 30 minute drive from Tofino, it offers stunning beaches, scenic rainforest trails, and opportunities for wildlife viewing. The highlight is Long Beach itself, an 8 kilometer stretch of sand that is part of the longest expanse of beach wilderness on Vancouver Island’s west coast. It’s a popular spot for beachcombing, picnics, and watching the sunset. You might spot gray whales, sea otters, or sea lions along the shore.

Just inland from the beach are rainforest trails like the Rainforest Trail and Ancient Cedars Trail. The 1.5 kilometer Rainforest Trail winds through old-growth stands of western hemlock, western redcedar, and Douglas fir. Some of the massive cedars on the trail are up to 800 years old. The 3 kilometer Ancient Cedars Trail leads through a grove of some of the oldest and largest trees in the park, including a massive redcedar over 1,000 years old. These short trails are accessible for all skill levels and provide a glimpse into the beauty and ecological importance of Vancouver Island’s coastal rainforests.

For a longer hike in the park, head to the Schooner Trail or Strathcona Trail. The 19 kilometer Schooner Trail runs through the park to Nitinaht Lake, one of the largest coastal lakes on Vancouver Island. You’ll hike through coastal forests, wetlands, and have the chance to spot wildlife in their natural habitat. The more challenging 43 kilometer Strathcona Trail also leads inland to Strathcona Provincial Park, taking 2-3 days to complete. Backcountry camping allows overnight exploration of this rugged wilderness.

No trip to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Long Beach unit is complete without seeing it from the water. Storm watching and whale watching tours depart from Tofino and Ucluelet, offering an opportunity to spot gray whales, humpbacks, and orcas in their natural habitat. Sea kayaking is also popular, with guided day trips and multi-day excursions to explore the Broken Group Islands.

From beach picnics to multi-day treks, Long Beach offers a variety of outdoor experiences for all skill levels in a spectacular setting. Its coastline, rainforests, and wildlife draw visitors from around the world. Whether you have a day or a week, Long Beach unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is an ecological wonderland waiting to be explored. Experience the power of nature in one of Vancouver Island’s wildest and most beautiful places.

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