You can grab a water taxi to get to Flores Island...they run regularly between Tofino and Flores Island.The boat leaves from the Government wharf in Tofino and lands in the First Nations community of Ahousaht....on Flores Island.The travel takes an hour max...and the trail will take you as long as it takes...
This is primarily a community of people of The Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nation.
"Ahousaht" is from a Nootka word probably meaning "facing opposite from the ocean" or "people living with their backs to the land and mountains."
There really isn't too much going on here AT all....but there is a pretty cool trail that takes you through the town of Ahousaht and along the West coast of Flores Island....you can take your time and really its not a chalenging trail at all....more like a gentle walk ..the trail goes along three or four beaches and through some areas of forest...the section of trail in the forest is boardwalked.
The trail actually has a name..."Walk the Wild Side" trail....and is approximately 10kms long.
This is an opportunity to see a beach of the Pacific Northwest that is NOT manicured and is for the most part in its natural state!
The ancient stands of mostly cedars is a MUST SEE when visiting the Tofino area.Its just simply AMAZING that these old beauties can grow to the size that they do.
The trail is part boardwalk and part MUCK....or at least it was the last time that I was there.The trail itself is few kms long and is not too difficult a walk.If you can make this little side trip you wont be disappointed.The trail brings you through and around old growth forest and you'll get to see some old Giants!
From the Wharf area in town you can easily find a form of water "taxi" to and from Meares Island...the cost likely upwards to $ 30.00 return.
This is a great way to get yourself onto the "edge"of some great backcountry...see some amazing country and whats at the end of the road...something for sure....
These pics were taken when my mother and father came to visit with me in Victoria...my mother was not feeling well this day ...she had undergone chemotherapy the week previous to they're little adventure West...so my dad and I decided to go backroading ...and see something that neither of us had seen before.
Cathedral Grove (in MacMillan Provincial Park) is a stand of some of the largest and oldest Douglas fir trees in the world. Some trees are 800 years old and 9 meters in circumference! If you're driving in or out of Tofino, you will pass Cathedral Grove on your way. It's located just south of Port Alberni.
The park is relatively small - you pull off the highway, park your car, and go for a walk. The paths are pretty even, as I seem to recall, and are not strenuous at all. It's definitely a "walk" as opposed to a true "hike". I don't remember how long we stayed there, but we were driving from Nanaimo to Tofino when we went, and we probably spent 20 minutes there. There's information about the trees and the forest as you walk through, so it's an education experience as well.
Unfortunately over the past decade (perhaps due to global warming?) Vancouver Island has been experiencing fierce winter storms with stronger-than-normal hurricane-like winds - winds which have knocked down some of these trees. The last time I visited was in 1994, so it's well over 10 years. However, I have been told that it's still very much worth a visit as many of the trees still survive.
The only way to get here is by car - no public transit stops here. The park is also free, although there may be a donation box - some parks on Vancouver Island have them as a way to help maintain the park.
Tofino is a great base for visits to this national park, which lies along part of the west coast of Vancouver Island. It consists of three distinct parts. The Long Beach Unit is easily the most accessible and the only one we visited. It lies between Tofino and Ucluelet, and is named after the 16 km sandy beach of Wickaninnish Bay. The other units are the Broken Group Islands Unit (an archipelago of more than one hundred islands and rocks scattered throughout Barkley Sound and accessible only by boat) and the West Coast Trail Unit (a 75 km backpacking route).
Within the Long Beach Unit are a number of trails of different lengths. We did one of the shorter ones, the Spruce Fringe Trail. This led us through the Sitka spruce forest to Wickaninnish Bay, where we enjoyed the many great photo opportunities and peering into the tidepools.
Other trails include:
~ Halfmoon Bay Trail, which is 1.7 km in length and winds through an old growth cedar-hemlock forest where fallen trees serve as nurseries for seedlings, and ends with a steep climb down to the sands of Halfmoon Bay
~ Shorepine Bog Trail, a 800 m loop boardwalk through coastal temperate rainforest which is wheelchair accessible
~ Schooner Cove Trail, 1 km each way, which leads to the beach through a forested area, crossing a small stream on the way and passing the Tla-o-qui-aht village of Esowista
Daily entry to the park is $6.90 (Canadian) for adults, $3.95 for children. The ticket we purchased allowed us 24 hours in the park so after visiting one afternoon we returned the next morning to get our money’s worth!
To get here, head south from Tofino on Highway 4.
Surprisingly this is not as well known as you'd think. A beautiful beach, not too far from Long beach. Its about a 30-40 minute walk through the woods, on a path, thru the rainforest and comes out onto the beach. Florencia Bay was also known as Wreck beach at one time as History tells us that a ship, Brigatine Florencia, drifted helplessly to the Nootka area, homeward bound to Peru, but shattered itself on the inlet in the Bay...now known as Florencia bay~
Head over to Vargas Island. You can kayak or hire a boat to take you to the Vargas Island Inn (on the close side) and hike over a barely-used ~5 mile trail to the beach on the far side. The trail is in poor shape, and there are some wolves in the interior, so best to go with someone, but it's definitely far from the crowd.
I have been to 'natural' hot mineral springs before visiting the Pacific Rim, but was unprepared for what we found when we visited Hot Springs Cove.
It can be reached by a one-and-a-half hour boat trip from Tofino (a number of outfits offer the tour). The boat drops you off on a boardwalk and you then have a half-hour walk beside the ocean through ancient rainforest. The walk itself is quite breathtaking. When you reach the cove you find a completely natural rocky area with the springs pouring out of the side of the rock face. No built swimming pool, no kiosk, no temperature control or developed enhancement of any kind, except for an outhouse and a single change shed. It was fabulous! You had to carefully climb over the rocks and bolders and sit in one of the cascading pools, complete with algae and barnacles. The uppermost pool was way to hot to sit in but the ones nearer the tidal pools were great.
Unfortunately, because I needed both hands to climb down to the springs I didn't take my camera in so didn't get a great shot. However, I have included the website for the tour operators, Ocean Outfitters, who have a terrific shot of the hot springs on their site.
I must say, I was a little concerned for some of the elderly folk that came along, probably not expecting the springs to be quite so rugged. One lady slipped on the rocks and needed assistance, so if you go be very careful! However, it is a unique experience and I would highly recommend it.
Unfortunately, there has been quite a bit of clear cutting in British Columbia and on Vancouver Island in particular. Luckily, some old growth forest remains. Tramping through the wet forest scrambling over huge toppled cedars and wading across hidden forest streams makes for a terrific afternoon.