This spectacular coastal walking trail is the result of an initiative driven by the residents of Ucluelet. Trail construction has resulted from years of planning and hard work by a crew of volunteers, and has been supported by donations from both individuals and organizations.
Two of the three trail sections have been constructed so far, for a total of 8.5 kilometres of trail. The final section is planned to connect the northern end of the present trail right through to Florencia Bay, within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and will add another 14 km to the trail system.
The Wild Pacific Trail is accessible all year around, and the clifftop views of crashing surf make it a prime spot for winter storm-watching. Most of the trail system consists of a smooth gravel walkway, but there are some wooden boardwalk sections and stairs – not difficult walking, but not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs. If it has been raining, the boardwalk sections can be very slippery, so take care and use handrails.
The southernmost section of the trail (“Phase 1”) is a 2.7 km loop, most of which hugs the shoreline at the southern tip of the Ucluth Peninsula. The two parking lots at each end of the loop are just 200 metres apart; to get to them, continue southward along Peninsula Road through town (that’s the road that you enter Ucluelet along). The first parking lot, at He-Tin-Kis Park, is for walking the loop counter-clockwise, or you can continue to the next lot, which is sign-posted, to hike clockwise. The southern part of this loop passes Amphitrite Lighthouse. At He-Tin-Kis Park the trail splits, and you can either follow the more coastal (western) route or the forest (eastern) route; either way, the two routes will join back together again. Walking this whole southern section can take between 30 to 60 minutes; walking only the He-Tin-Kis sections takes 15 to 20 minutes.
The middle section of the trail is about 4.5 km in length. You can walk to it from He-Tin-Kis Park along roads, about 1.3 km (10-15 minutes), by heading back towards town on Peninsula Road and turning left on Marine Drive to get to Big Beach. Alternatively, you can drive there and park near Big Beach, in the lot at Matterson Drive.
This section of the trail continues northward, skirting the coast and ducking in and out of the forest to yet more stunning clifftop views of waves rushing in from the open Pacific to hit the rocks below. The trail ends at the Rhododendron Garden on the highway at the northern entrance to town. From here you can either walk back along the trail, or take the shorter direct walk straight back into town along the highway (which turns into Peninsula Road). There is one additional parking area and access to the trail about halfway along this middle section, near the west end of Forbes Road.
You can pick up brochures with trail maps at either of the visitors’ centres at the Tofino/Ucluelet highway junction or in Ucluelet, or you can find maps online at www.wildpacifictrail.com.