Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Immerse yourself in the splendor of Canadian nature at Pacific Rim National Park. From dense rainforests to golden beaches and turquoise waters, this park is a mighty escape for those seeking both adventure and serenity.

Introduction to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

History and Creation of the Park

Established in 1970 and ratified in the National Parks Act in 2000, the park stands as a living testament to the mighty natural and cultural history of the region. It covers an area of 511 km² of rugged coastlines, dense forests, and a magnificent variety of flora and fauna.

Park Location

Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is easily accessible by car or plane. Its coordinates are: 48° 38′ 10″ N, 124° 46′ 9″ W.

Park and British Columbia Climate

The climate of the Pacific Rim National Park is influenced by its coastal location and the interaction between the ocean and mountains. During winter, the Gulf of Alaska currents bring low-pressure systems that generate abundant rainfall. The area averages between 3500 and 4000 mm of precipitation per year, making it one of the wettest places on Earth. In summer, high-pressure systems bring drier and sunnier days, with average temperatures ranging from 5 to 18 °C. The sea temperature varies between 8 °C in January and 14 °C in August due to the Kuroshio Current.

General Park Description

Landscape and Ecosystems

The Pacific Rim National Park hosts a diversity of ecosystems, from lush rainforests to towering beaches and marine waters.

Biodiversity: Flora and Fauna

The park is home to a wide range of species, both terrestrial and marine, including bald eagles, sea lions, and black bears. The park’s waters are inhabited by humpback whales and the ochre sea star.
The predominant vegetation includes Western hemlock, Sitka spruce, deer fern, sword fern, and Western red cedar.

Main Activities and Attractions

Hiking: Trails and Tips

With countless trails to explore, hiking is one of the main attractions of the park. Always remember to follow safety regulations and respect nature.

Wildlife Observation

The park offers multiple opportunities for wildlife observation, from birdwatching to marine mammal sightings.

Canoeing and Kayaking

The tranquil and crystal-clear waters of the reserve provide perfect conditions for canoeing and kayaking.

Surfing and Swimming

The beaches of Pacific Rim National Park are highly popular for surfing, while the lagoons and coves offer safe spots for swimming.

Visitor’s Guide

Best Times to Visit

The park is beautiful year-round, but the best time to visit is between May and September when the weather is warmer, and there are fewer rains. Summer in British Columbia spans from June 21st to September 22nd.

Regulations and Park Safety

For everyone’s safety, it is crucial to follow park regulations, such as staying on designated trails and refraining from feeding the animals. Remember, your safety is our priority.

Available Facilities: Accommodation and Food

The park offers various accommodation options, from campgrounds to luxurious lodges. Additionally, there are several restaurants and local shops in the nearby towns of Tofino and Ucluelet.

Getting to Pacific Rim National Park

Long Beach Unit

The Long Beach Unit is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, between the towns of Ucluelet and Tofino.

By Car

Follow Highway 4, known as the "Pacific Rim Highway," west from Port Alberni.
This 108 km (65 miles) steep and winding road takes at least 90 minutes to traverse. The scenery along the route is breathtaking; allow enough time and use pullouts to let other vehicles pass.

The road is heavily traveled during the summer. At the Tofino-Ucluelet junction, turn right to enter the Long Beach Unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Driving time from other places on Vancouver Island to Long Beach

  • Victoria: 5 hours.
  • Nanaimo: 3.5 hours.
  • Parksville: 2.5 hours.
  • Courtenay: 3.5 hours.
  • Port Alberni: 2 hours.

By Bus, Commercial Plane, and Passenger Ferry

There are different transportation options to reach the park, including bus, commercial plane, and foot-passenger ferry.

Broken Group Islands

The Broken Group Islands are located in Barkley Sound and are only accessible by boat.

Launch Points to the Broken Group Islands

The Secret Beach campground and kayak launch of the Toquaht Nation, in the heart of Toquaht Bay, offer 66 campsites for overnight, weekly, and monthly rental, as well as a convenient kayak launch. Located on the traditional territory of the Toquaht Nation, approximately 1 hour’s drive from Tofino/Ucluelet, Secret Beach campground offers stunning views of Barkley Sound and serves as a gateway to the Pacific Rim National Park and the Broken Group Islands.
Access to Secret Beach by road is via rough gravel roads and takes approximately 30 minutes from the Highway 4 junction. The turnoff is located approximately 12 km northeast of the Tofino-Ucluelet-Port Alberni junction on Highway 4. The Toquart Bay Road is an active logging area. Drive with caution and obey all signs.

For more information on directions and launch and parking fees, please visit the Secret Beach campground and kayak launch website.

From Bamfield and Ucluelet to the Broken Group Islands

It is not recommended to paddle from Bamfield and Ucluelet due to the exposed passages of Imperial Eagle and Loudon Channels.
Kayak landing on the Broken Group Islands can be arranged through local operators.

Alberni Marine Transport Ltd. schedules transportation for paddlers and their kayaks to the protected waters north of the Broken Group Islands.

Arrangements can be made with other operators based in the surrounding areas of Port Alberni, Ucluelet, and Bamfield to drop off or pick up paddlers and their vessels.

With a Commercial Company

There are commercial companies operating in the Broken Group Islands. If you are considering traveling with a commercial operator, choose carefully to find a company that meets the needs of your group. Refer to the list of Authorized Operators for the Broken Group Islands.

West Coast Trail

Parks Canada provides this list for the convenience of hikers. Hikers must make their arrangements for all services. Call ahead for updated information. Reservations are recommended.

From Pachena Bay (5 km south of Bamfield)

  1. Drive on gravel roads from Port Alberni (1-2 hours) or Duncan (3 hours).
  2. Bus from Victoria (4 hours), Nanaimo (3 hours), or Port Alberni (1.5 hours).
  3. Passenger ferry from Port Alberni (4 hours).

From Gordon River (5 km north of Port Renfrew)

  1. Drive from Victoria via Highway 14 (2 hours).
  2. Bus from Victoria (2 hours).
  3. Drive from Nanaimo (3.5 hours) or Duncan (1.5 hours) on gravel roads via Lake Cowichan.

From Nitinat Narrows to Nitinat Village

  • The passenger ferry usually makes a trip at 5 p.m. from Narrows to Nitinat Village.
  • Nitinat Village is a small remote community. An overnight stay may be required.

From Port Renfrew, Nitinat, and Bamfield

  • Bus (3 hours), reservation required.
  • Passenger ferry (4 hours) (minimum 4 people).

Commitment to Conservation

Flora and Fauna Conservation Programs

Pacific Rim National Park has several conservation programs in place to protect its rich biodiversity.

Environmental Education Initiatives

The park offers educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages, promoting respect and love for nature.

Collaborations with Local Indigenous Communities

The park works closely with local Indigenous communities to preserve and celebrate their culture and ancestral traditions.

Nearby Points of Interest

Tofino and Ucluelet: Nearby Coastal Cities

Tofino and Ucluelet are two charming coastal cities near the park, known for their local shops, restaurants, and beautiful sea views.

Clayoquot Sound and Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserves

Close to Pacific Rim National Park, the Clayoquot Sound and Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserves offer additional opportunities to explore the stunning nature of the region.

Photo Gallery