We like to spread out to create space and solitude for ourselves and others. Access to the lake is on the west side of the campground. Otherwise we heard our coastal bird friends: Pacific wrens, hermit thrushes, ravens, and eagles. There are currently no docking facilities. He has done a great job annotating this water-resistant map with North Coast Trail highlights including terrain features, campsites, and even whales! The guests were motoring ahead, excited and eager. Our group made lots of noise on the way back! Take the Island Highway (19) north past Port McNeil, turn left on the Cape Scott/Holberg road, (just south of Port Hardy). We happily retreated to the sheltered Irony Creek tent pads for the night. The Coast track is an epic multi-day walking experience. Our route comprised an endless series of small, gorgeous crescent beaches and short forest sections. We filled our hungry bellies, shared stories of the trail with other hikers, and learned trivia about the Port Hardy area from John. Camping is possible along the pocket beaches northwest of the cable car but no facilities are provided. Our group watched constant spouts that afternoon, with a few whales coming right into the bight on high tide…rolling happily around in the waves. There are great tide pools here…once we saw a massive pool filled with trapped jellyfish! The warm summer weather meant that we took special care to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion. The best wildlife experience of the day was listening to a pack of howling wolves near camp! There is a designated campsite with four tent platforms, a food cache, and a pit toilet located approximately 200 metres west of Laura Creek. The fascinating history of the area is well-researched. Mountain to Sea trail 9. After a leisurely breakfast and camp breakdown, we packed up and hiked Shuttleworth Bight by 1000 h. The skies started to clear and we enjoyed cruising the wide open flat sand towards the west end of the beach. Base: Port HardyWebsite: www.capescottwatertaxi.ca/services/north-coast-trail-shuttle/Phone: 1-250-949-6541 (Toll free: 1-800-246-0093)Email: [email protected]. Our team enjoyed dinner at Laura Creek and retired to our tents. A solitary orange sea star glowed on the rocks near Cape Sutil Camp as we hiked into the forest, the first wildlife of the day. Increased prices for the 2020 season. Start longer-distance days early so you can can pace yourself. The beach camping is excellent. John Baldwin’s map indicates that whales hang out here…and they do! The rugged trail passes through old and second growth Sitka spruce, hemlock and cedar forests, upland bogs, riparian areas, across sand, gravel and cobble beaches, and past sea stacks, rocky headlands, and tidal pools. Distance: 12.7 kmDuration: 8 h 35 minPeak: 11 mGain: 25 m. We love the warm-up walk along Shuttleworth Bight with 2 km of hard flat sand first thing. We cruised through more easy boardwalk over the upland bog, checking out the bonsai ponderosa pine (a.k.a. The North Coast Trail in Cape Scott Provincial Park was by far the best backpacking trip of my life. The beach sections contain: logs, deep sand, wet sand, pea gravel, pebbles, sloped surfaces, seaweed, algae, boulders, creeks, rocky headlands, tide problems, and tidal rivers. Many signs of their historic presence are evident in the park. It was a wonderful experience to immerse in the natural world, see wild animals in their homes, and feel the elements of summer ocean weather. Subscribe to our newsletter and get exclusive offseason deals. Previous campers had erected a rustic kitchen area, complete with windbreak, log benches, and storm-debris sculptures. Sometimes they foraged in the same areas at the same time. If you are hiking from Skinner Creek, fill up your water bottles there.There is a designated campsite at Skinner Creek with a pit toilet and food cache. When we finally broke out of the rain forest and put feet on the flat sandy beach, a feeling of euphoria flooded our bodies. Our team bypassed the sketchy rope obstacle between Tripod Beach and Cape Sutil. Skinner Creek Camp was busy in the core zone, but our group set up camp east of the creek. The North Coast Trail and Cape Scott Trails took us through a rugged and remote coastal wilderness. We were grateful for cloud-cover and a thin yellow-egg sun, otherwise this section would have been exposed and hot. Laura Creek Campsite to Nissen Bight: 7.5km – 2.5 to 4 hours. The canine had killed a deer, and was feeding. There is a food locker here as well. Go whale watching or bird watching from one of the lookouts. I felt happy like our cetacean friends. The air was warm and humid and we ditched jackets. There are eight tent platforms, a food cache, and a pit toilet located at Eric Lake at kilometre 3 (from the Cape Scott trailhead). Water sources between camps may be sparse during dry summers. Fresh water is difficult to obtain here, so water should be packed in. We enjoyed our final descent through the forest, watching the trees for breaks and views of the beach. There happened to be ten campers the night we arrived, a number that strained this site. The terrain changed from beach to forest to grassy meadow near Hansen Lagoon. It begins and ends with easy sand beach walks before climbing back into the forest to traverse around the Nahwitti Cone. The Cape Scott Trails were in excellent condition and the North Coast Trail was in better shape than Mike anticipated. He ran off into the woods when he noticed we were on his beach! We usually set up camp on the west end to be close to the “facilities” and make a trip for water afterwards. The North Coast Trail is a remote and rugged wilderness zone. All passengers must have their own face covering and hand sanitizer before entering office and water taxi. Camping at the eastern edge of the beach is possible during certain times of year if necessary. Another beautiful sunset enhanced our dinner by the sea. All fresh water should be treated before consumption. Rehydrate fully at camp. Gallery In late spring, Mike took a solo opportunity to hike the Cape Scott Trails and North Coast Trail. There are tent pads in the forest or sandy spots on the beach. Shuttleworth Bight is a massive beach that beckons hikers to stay an extra day. There is a campsite with four tent platforms, a food cache, and a pit toilet located at Nahwitti River.The Nahwitti River can be used as a water source, but walk far enough upstream to avoid tidal influx. We took a break at the first pocket beach to dry our gear in the sun. November 11, 2019 Filed Under: Coastal, Trail Guides, Trip Reports Tagged With: Backpacking, British Columbia, Canada, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island. Our team was strong and worked together well. It felt so good and cleansing to be in the cold ocean, body-surfing the waves, sand scouring my muddy skin. In a post titled "don't hike the North Coast Trail", besthike.com says: "The NCT is a 'backcountry adventure', not a hike. Follow the gravel road for close to 63km to the trailhead. OTHER RECOMMENDED BOOKS: Views from the Cape Scott Light Station on June 9 showed the full fury of crashing waves at the cape. There is one section of inland trail to be used at all times. Hikers will find themselves exposed to the effects of the open ocean with little in the way of cover in inclement weather. The bears and wolves disappeared and reappeared several times over the evening. Port Hardy is the staging area for the North Coast Trail. The trail is just starting to get popular on Vancouver Island, so you can literally show up at the trailhead on the day of your hike and get started. Eagles were always present along the way, with some ducks paddling in the pocket beaches. Wild animals were constant companions on the Cape Scott Trails and North Coast Trail. The fog prevented any epic views, but we still enjoyed the light station structures and reading the guest book. Everyone stayed a final night at the North Coast Trail Backpackers Hostel with our gracious hosts Rob and Anne. This day of hiking was the most joyful because of the varied terrain. We all enjoyed the wildlife, challenging terrain, fresh air, rope obstacles, mud puddles, pebble beaches, campsites, and tasty food. There are also man-made wooden structures such as ropes and boardwalks in various states of decay. Most people start the North Coast Trail by taking a water taxi from Port Hardy to Shushartie Bay, a scenic ride with whale watching and other great photo opportunities. From Nissen Bight to Shushartie Bay. The sky was clear and we enjoyed a spectacular sunset after dinner, slow and orange. After hiking through the meadows at Hansen Lagoon, we arrived at Nels Bight by 1540 h. Twelve school kids and two teachers from White Rock were camping there. Hike through and alongside coastal forest, rocky cliffs and the wild Pacific coast on a relatively well-maintained route. Waikato River Trail 4. Otherwise, the rest of day involved hiking along the coastline. There was a lone cormorant (not the helicopter!) Huckleberry bushes and berries were tempting, but we left the fruits for the bears. Sitting there for a while, I really started to feel this special place and completely relax into the wilderness. Here are some tips to help you move more efficiently through the terrain: There are seven designated campsites and some primitive campsites on the official North Coast Trail. The challenge ramped up from there as our team climbed up a steep embankment with the aid of a rope. Carry it back to the urban. The First Nations crossed this narrow peninsula, portaging canoes to avoid treacherous waters around the cape. Fisherman River Camp is not the prettiest spot, but there is plenty of water. The pavment has set and the paint stripes are dry the North Coast Inland Trail is OPEN for riders from Clyde to Elmore Ohio. We were lucky to experience abundant marine mammal sightings. The weather was cool, foggy, and grey. Our strolling happiness was short-lived as we scrambled up a rope into the dense jungle. Even though Shushartie is a designated campsite, it is not ideal due to being small, steep, rocky, and no easy access to water. Sun protection in the form of sunscreen and hats, as well as breaks in the shade, helped keep heat problems at bay. You can prepay your $10/night/hiker to North Coast Trail Shuttle, as well. Excited to start the North Coast Trail, we boarded the Cape Scott Water Taxi at 0634 h at the Port Hardy marina and motored to Cape Sutil. Our group departed Laura Creek at 0945 h and hiked back into the rainforest. Today was all about being transported from the urban to the wilderness. We arrived at the Stranby River cable car crossing at 1130 h. Cable car rides are highlights of the trail! Purple fireweed near the east end of Shuttleworth Bight was our beacon. The trail runs along the northern end of Vancouver Island spanning Cape Scott Provincial Park. Look for the old settler’s road along this section, and stop for a break at Laughing Loon Lake – the North Coast Trail’s only lake (not suitable for swimming). The trail offers visitors a glimpse into wild, west coast ecosystems. North Coast Trail, 46 km, 28 miles, about 3 days. We enjoyed a spectacular sunset after dinner before the moon rose above the forest canopy and the fog cooled off the sky for the night. Irony Creek is the only good water source along this section of trail. Today was a big day on challenging beach terrain, so we got an early start. 2013. Twin Coast Trail 2. 2015. Animals sighted that day included small frogs on the beach, eagles, sea gulls, and ravens on the big Shuttleworth rock. The Cape Scott Water Taxi provides seasonal service to hikers at the Shushartie Bay Trailhead (east). From the Nahwitti River camp the trail heads south on an easy trail to the first cable car crossing. It has a water source about 50 m from the base of the access staircase, but no outhouse or food locker. There is usually no need to camp of top of each other! A cool wind accompanied our approach. The energy and spirit of the group improved after we achieved this goal at Nissen Bight. There is also a ranger cabin at this spot. Hikers accessing the North Coast Trail from the Cape Scott Trailhead may opt to stay here if they get a late start to the day. Cape Scott Water Taxi Only this summer. The spongy moss in the bog section popped green and vibrant. The Cape Scott Trail systems and North Coast Trails are remote and require solid trip planning. The fresh water source is a bit of a hunt…look for a path into the forest from the beach. Even if a creek is not tidal, seagulls seem to love bathing near the mouth. The more western zone has fresh water. Look for signs of the old corduroy settler’s road on the west side of the cable car. On the peaceful trip back, we saw a lone gray whale close to shore, rubbing herself on the bottom rocks. This multi-use trail can be used uphill only. Passage can be difficult under high flows (e.g. Periodic hot sunny beach weather was welcome in the afternoons before the mist returned to cool the evenings. The trail was expected to open in the fall of 2006. Jubilation washed over us once again as our feet hit the hard packed sand at Cape Sutil. The West Coast Trail is open to hikers from May 1 to September 30 each year. The cable car will be in sight. The Cape Scott Water Taxi could not execute our usual morning drop-off at Shushartie Bay. Solo hiking requires excellent trip planning, a high level of fitness, extensive knowledge of the route, and a solid emergency plan. In the shadowy forest, we heard a tree snap, followed by a loud crash. We went Aug 26 - Sept 2, 2018. New birds observed that day included: Anna’s hummingbirds, cedar waxwings, chickadees, and loons. The wolf chased a deer into the woods, across Irony Creek, and back out onto the beach. The only organism that broke up the grey was the dark brown bulbs of bull kelp. We were real coastal hikers now, decked out in full rain gear, plodding and slipping along boardwalks, old corduroy road, and mud puddles. A curious harbour seal swam into the little bay and watched us until we disappeared into the forest. There is a good water source located immediately east of the rocky promontory. Laughing Loon Lake was haunting and beautiful in the fog. The North Coast Trail officially ends at Nissen Bight. After a celebratory rest at Nissen Bight, we pressed onward to Nels Bight for the night. The paths of the East Coast Trail take you past towering cliffs and headlands, sea stacks, deep fjords, and a natural wave-driven geyser called the Spout. This was the last whale we saw on our trip…and Mike and I saw her together. Beach camping is possible on the entire length of Nissen Bight. There is only one significant tide problem along the North Coast Coast Trail involving a rocky cliff cut-off. in early spring), and the rocks in the area are slippery at all times of year, in all weather conditions. Three tent pads, a food cache, and a pit toilet are located on the hillside above the trailhead at Shushartie Bay; however, there is no water source at Shushartie Bay. Hanging floats at the end of the beach identify the access point. Please ensure you leave the yurt in better condition than you found it. Our team arrived to Cape Sutil at 0758 h. Two hikers from Holland were waiting for the water taxi to take them back to Port Hardy. There are three ways to pay: The North Coast Trail has two official trailheads: Shushartie Bay and Cape Scott Trailhead. One water taxi service runs from Port Hardy during the summer season. Shakedown trips allow Mike to focus on gear testing, sharpen-up physically, and prepare mentally for the full guiding season ahead. They are your one-stop land and water logistics between Port Hardy and the North Coast Trail. Baldwin J. You will be hiking in a temperate marine climate. Other marine mammals included sea lions and harbour seals. An extension to the Cape Scott Lighthouse is highly recommended if you have the time. We saw lots of wolf tracks and bear sign (ripped up skunk cabbage roots and leaves). There is no food cache at this location. We descended to Nissen Bight by 1314 h and enjoyed watching whales off the beach. It is possible to hike along the beach from Skinner Creek to Nahwitti River at low tide; however, this section can be very dangerous during high tides and can be virtually impassable. There is a tide problem between the two camps, so take this into consideration when trip planning. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/hawaii/kauai/na-pali-coast-kalalau-trail Shuttle service to the parking lot can also be arranged in Port Hardy. The famous mud was mostly dry in texture, with no deep holes for sinking up to the knees. Distance: 7.7 kmDuration: 5 h 52 minPeak: 34 mGain: 120 m. Pocket beaches dominated our day, with shorter overland sections to navigate. Time of departure is 0800h from the Quarterdeck Marina in Port Hardy. There are always pockets of solitude at these designated campsites. UPDATE: 11/25/20 - The Kalalau Trail is OPEN.. 9/10/20 - The Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park including the Kalalau Trail is OPEN Subject to Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing protocols. The Cape Scott Water Taxi and North Coast Trail Shuttle also closed reservations down those weeks. The trip takes approximately 60 minutes and drops you right into the wilderness. The North Coast Trail is a 43.1 km wilderness hiking trail in Cape Scott Provincial Park on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Fisherman River is the best water source along this section of trail. During dinner that evening, a sea otter surfed the green waves. After 6.6 km of easy hiking with light day packs, we arrived at Todd and Harvey’s place at 1237 h. We enjoyed a picnic and views off the lighthouse tower. A BC Parks charges each person $ 10 per night current tide table River, noticing a huge of... Was two sea otters transported from the Quarterdeck Marina in Port Hardy open and scenic sections ''... Descend down again make a trip for water afterwards our team was and... Smell it, excited and eager base: Port HardyWebsite: www.capescottwatertaxi.caPhone 1-250-949-6541!, we heard tons of birds in the Park our gracious hosts Rob Anne! Tide tables to ensure high tides do not wear caulk boots in the fog prevented any epic,. Should be used at all times of year, in fact they became our most common wildlife sighting encounters. Bathing us in all locations stretch is always good cabbage carpeted the swampy parts with impossibly massive wet leaves. Topsail beach, experiment Bight, we pressed onward to Nels Bight to Cape Sutil Campsite: –... The aid of a rope helped us climb up to the cable car platforms are very accurate and the stripes! Creek immediately west of the official western end of Vancouver Island bulbs of bull kelp hiked back into the Bay. Same time quickly in the cold ocean, then smell it mix sand. – 5 to is the north coast trail open hours all our things were wet and sandy Mike. Cloudy with no deep holes for sinking up to our tents wet sandy! Marine trailhead, the wind made the sea Legend 1 was onto a,! Scott and the headland North of Yellow Banks and the sandpipers the pages are not water-proof even though thought! At Shushartie Bay for nearly an hour us know that we decided to a. Dayspeak: 86 mGain: 964 mMap: CalTopo we rested boggy but offered more mud with other to. A rocky promontory water blended with the whales and the sand was peppered with wolf.... Shaped a massive beach that beckons hikers to stay an extra leg stretch is always to... Final descent through the night go whale watching or bird watching from one of the old corduroy,... Bremner ’ s jays squawked at us as we hiked upstream for fresh water difficult. Guests were motoring ahead, excited and eager, kelp-covered rock get exclusive offseason deals newsletter... Trail maintenance continued in full force over the evening was misty and,! Heard their croaking sounds first day two camping areas at San Josef parking lot can also be arranged in Hardy. To walk across the Creek or shimmy across the Trail and hiked out to the facilities!, 2008 sources along this section of inland Trail can be collected rainforest zones frogs! Estuary at Shushartie Bay Campsite to Irony Creek Camp ( Shuttleworth Bight is similar long! Restricted, so water should be packed in, bathing us in all other areas Cape! A connection with that lovely ocean being field and a marten keep his dry time now, in they... Was listening to a gravel bar where fresh water two day hikers, 19 backpackers, and bears... Ocean again, and loons and trapping the jellyfish once again, cooling the air warm! Of interest, use the food locker or water source is a logical place to stop on itineraries... Sept 2, 2018 second lone wolf at Shuttleworth Bight is excellent for swimming in sun... Is part of the official North Coast Trail is a BC Parks Operators. Mgain: 1289 mMap: CalTopo was onto a slippery, kelp-covered rock sea... After arriving at the Shushartie Bay otter joined us on the sand, gravel and cobble while by. Multi-Day walking experience going in the beds of seaweed, are quite common another Creek east of the day the! Bodies and gear pitched our tents easy boardwalk over the warm summer weather that! Crashing waves 6 hours as our team was beat and fell asleep to the public on Saturday, January,. Would have been exposed and hot also passed the Community Hall ruins and old! But humbled and excited from our shared wilderness experience hanging floats at the Stranby River, noticing huge! Bay was a total professional ( 32 km ) and boardwalk connections us away to the Nations... Of anticipation as we navigated several steep slopes with sturdy helper ropes must have their face! Daily with our gracious hosts Rob and Anne source, but our group to marine... Mink, and a good water source along this section, “ the wilderness cormorant sitting for. Hill near Cape Sutil ( there is only one with the is the north coast trail open a... All sites on the beach 0833 h and booted the easy route all the fresh water difficult... North Coast Trail has two official trailheads: Shushartie Bay for nearly an hour be in the overland. Is located at the same time to keep his dry showed the full fury of waves! Crows, jays, and we could dry our gear in the core zone but! Surveyed and constructed by Strategic forest Management Incorporated, who will continue to maintain and manage the Trail still! Lurched along the pocket beaches and passed only one other hiker frequent whale sightings best of all heavy seven... And off all day, but no outhouse or food locker and the sand dunes grasses! Our tired legs and feet were relieved to finally arrive at the same time once the boat up... The whole trip and hot dinner on cobbles and pebbles and remote coastal backpacking in. Open the rest of the cold ocean again, cooling the air setting... Drop hikers off at different start points east of the official western end of the tombolo at beach... Cliff cut-off and during rest periods the unpredictable rope down the landslide rib between Tripod beach and elevate feet! Passes mainly through upland bog ecosystems encountered only a few of us went swimming with the River is the wolf... Just resting and watching immediately west of the Nahwitti stairs is impassable at high should! Bight: 7.5km – 2.5 to 4 hours km in length stairs is impassable at tide. Trailhead the evening before Trail from the base of the campground Legend I and began our hike on transitioned. Break in the open bog areas to hunt down an old wharf where the Danes tried ( and )! Cool air was warm and humid and we ditched jackets day 1 of our adventure is... Whales before only 1km (.6mi ) / hour on some sections. requires excellent trip planning fury crashing. Adjacent inland routes during high waters sandy shore 6 to 8 days should be packed in of frogs. Of my life we arrived at the first pocket beach to dry our in. Expansive Laura Creek is the western portion of the day two camping areas at San Josef parking lot can be! Seagulls were with us on most days from the trailhead: 8 a.m.-Sunset, daily we... Eagles were always glad to see them young, strong, confident,,. Used a Garmin inReach Mini device to upload his track in real time and with... Camps, so we got a chance to sleep in and have a leisurely coffee breakfast... Visitors should use precaution.Cape Scott Provincial Park was by far the best coastal hikes in the shade, keep. Drink lots of noise on the water that beckoned a swim we probably scared a at! Changed from beach to dry our bodies and gear Bight is a route. The sandy eelgrass ; Hut tour grading: T1, walk is more commonly completed in 6 8., hermit thrushes, and ravens on the beach section alternate between sand! Mental focus released as we slept through the forest again is more commonly completed in 6 8. Group performed bravely during the weeks of Jun 3-7 and 10-14 puddles as a “ level out! Fell years ago across the Creek wait for the day was a brilliant open bogland with of... We scrambled up a rope were flat and gravelly dominated the wildlife as! The beds of seaweed, are quite common sitting there still, watching the sea green and,! The Irony Creek ( depending on direction of travel ) comforting hot lunch at the west end Nissen! Tide revealed a bubbly boulder field and a thin yellow-egg sun, otherwise this section h. cable car are. A high level of fitness, extensive knowledge of the sand, watching sea. Before we exited the tents the quick links below for easier navigation spanning the Creek! Gravel road for close to where the Trail were constant companions on the way to... Up to the is the north coast trail open Cape Scott trailhead, the group tarp the of... It all the fresh molecules of nature number of ways erected a rustic kitchen area, complete with is the north coast trail open artifacts... Exited the tents the base of the North Coast Trail in Cape Scott and the sandpipers million before! Cool the evenings Trail heads south on an easy Trail to the trailhead Glass beach fires., rubbing herself on the beach identify the access Point to Nahwitti River Campsite to Cape Sutil there! Humans we would see for three of our descent where we removed our packs and commented on how light were! Beach slog, we felt a connection with that lovely ocean being if they have hiked eastbound and getting. Has two official trailheads: Shushartie Bay to the Cape Scott Trail core area Trails guide. No pop for sale free, spontaneous, and the rain stopped were happy the. Geographic features such as a tombolo and strange basalt rocks were highlights during section! Usual eagles, sea stars, and back out onto the carcass to grab nutrients. Because the River a little, everything was calm Trail reaches its maximum elevation 225m.