West Coast Trail 2013 Help.

2:06 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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I just got a reservation for the West Coast Trail for the 4th of July weekend.  I've been doing a lot of research but could use some help with a couple things:


1.  Looks like we will be driving from the ferry at swartz bay.  Looks like the last 120Km to the northern terminus are pretty rough.  Is my Prius even an option for that drive?

2.  My wife and I are experienced backpackers.  I have thru-hiked the  Appalacian Trail and we have hiked most of the Pacific Crest Trail in approximately 1500km sections.  We have limited time to hike the WCT.  Is it really that hard to hike the WCT in 4 days? 


Any input would be greatly appreciated.  Psyched!

5:10 p.m. on April 18, 2013 (EDT)
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I have not hiked the trail, but have talked with lots of people who have.  They all say the same thing.  It is going to be wet, really wet and slippery.  You do not want to hurry with all the rocks, steps, and ladders to negotiate.  Parts of the trail require a tide table.  At high tide some of the trail is under water and you do not want to press your luck and get out there in the 55 degree water.

2:11 a.m. on April 24, 2013 (EDT)
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I finally got my act together and this year got permit (mid Aug) to hike the WCT as well, but in our case, we are planning on 7 days. I really had a hard time arranging for vacation time as well, but figured I really want to enjoy the trail and not rush through it.

Does anyone know more about the options for transferring between trailheads. There are 4 of us in the group and we will be doing the hike from south to north. Ideally I would like to leave the car on the north end so by the time we finish the trail we can just jump in the card and drive to a warm shower and a real bed :)

10:33 a.m. on April 24, 2013 (EDT)
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Run a shuttle with 2 cars like a river trip.

9:10 a.m. on May 10, 2013 (EDT)
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You might find this to be helpful. Lots of good suggestions. 


Four days might be difficult - the typical ratings run 5-8 days. Remember that, as ppine says, you may be held up for many hours by high tides that block the route. And this isn't an easy walking path, but a demanding rainforest route with steep slopes, impassable headlands, and washed out gullies to cross. Have you considered doing half the trail at one time?

One point; 26 overnight hikers can start the WCT at Pacheena Bay (north) and at Gordon River (south) and 8 at Nitinat Visitor Centre. That means that at any given time, there might be up to 500-600 people somewhere on the trail. Because of its high usage, many sections with boardwalks and ladders have fallen into disrepair. Be prepared for sections that may be more difficult than expected.

The shuttle buses are a good way to do it, IMHO. Your car will be parked in a lot that has some monitoring, and the buses are reliable and not too expensive. 

11:44 p.m. on June 2, 2013 (EDT)
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Soaring dude,

I have done the trail 17 times. Number 18 this September. My favourite way of doing it is to use transit. I take the bus to Victoria and overnight there. Take the WCT bus (6:15 am) to Port Renfrew. Hike the trail. (I take 7-8 days and stop for 2 days at Carmanah if the weather is nice. Leave Bamfield on the Barclay (ship) to Port Alberni. Overnight there and take the bus the next day to the ferry. A little more expensive this way but very relaxing with no logging road travel.

4:14 p.m. on June 9, 2013 (EDT)
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The trail can be hiked in 4 days (3 nights), but it is a very fast pasted trip.  Although the trail is only 75K, it feels more like 150 or 300 due to the ladders and trail conditions.

If you only have that amount of time then it is possible, it just won't be as much fun. 

As for transportation;

Leave your car at Port Renferd (South End) take the bus to the north end and them Hike south.  When you come off the trail your car is there and you are on paved roads back to the Ferry.   To do it the other way would involve an extra day to get back south to start, as the bus only runs once a day and starts south and heads north. 

Site Selection Suggestions: 

(2 nights 3 days) Ferry next AM, 3rd night in hotel.

First night at Tsusita Falls, this is 25 K, but it's also some of the best trail and very little up and down ladders.  Some beach sections, but unless the tides are really high that should not be a problem.   You should be able to be on the trail by 1:00 PM, after the bus and the orientation, so it will be a long hike but should be doable.  Cross the creek to camp if the beach is full!

Second Night at Cullie Creek (58K) or Camper Bay (62K), either of these two sites will let you finish the next day. 

OR (3 night 4 days) catch last ferry of the day.  CONFIRM FERRY TIME, you will need at least 2.5 / 3 hours to get from the trail head to the ferry!!!!

Night one:  Michigan Creek (12k) or Tsocowis Creek (17K)

Night two:  Cribs Creek (41.5K)

Night three:  Camper Creek (62K) or Push on to Thrashers Cove (70K) if the last ferry is early in the day.  This leaves about 6K to the end (5 for the trail + 1 to get up from the breach)  But from Cribs to Thrashers will be a LONG day.

Best of Luck


11:16 a.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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wolfman:  Thanks for the advice.  Our itinerary worked out to exactly as you suggested.  First night at Tsocowis.  Second night at Cribs.  Third night at Camper.  Got to the terminus the next day by about 1:30.  The hike to Camper ended up being the most tedious/difficult despite not being all that much mileage.  Thanks to good weather, it worked out great.  Definitely slower than a normal trail, but I don't think I would have liked to take much more than three nights/four days.  We're self described "Mile Hogs" and would rather be hiking the trail than sitting around camp into the evening.  All in all, a great hike albeit over crowded.   Best part was the whale watch at nitinat bay.  Ferry guy followed around a mom and her calf for about an hour. 

9:20 a.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Jam, Glad I could be of help!   Good weather always makes that a better trip.  It probably would not be a lot of fun in the rain. :) 

Cool on the Wale watching!  The next time I do the trail I am going to use the boat to get north, the bus was not a ton of fun.  Glad you enjoyed the hike!


PS:  Make sure you post a trip report and pics!! 

9:25 p.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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No rain??!!! I was there two weeks ago and was socked in for three days. 

Lucky guy. 

Too many people on the WCT for my taste.


March 31, 2020
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