Tofino BC Trails | Tourism Tofino

  • Photo credit
    Tonquin Beach boardwalk, Kevin Midgley
  • Photo credit
    Hiking Lone Cone, Jeremy Koreski Photography
  • Photo credit
    Blaze Moffat
  • Photo credit
    Lighthouse Trail, K Murcheson

Tofino BC Trails

With a diverse, natural network of trails in and around Tofino, you can walk and climb your way through Clayoquot Sound for a new perspective on our special corner of the world.

Explore Tofino BC trails:

Big Tree Trail (Meares Island)

Lone Cone (Meares Island)

Tonquin Trail (Tofino)

Tonquin Beach (Tofino)

Wildside Heritage Trail (Flores Island)

Our Natural Gym

In and around Tofino, come face to face with some giants (of the tree variety) and walk or climb your way through Clayoquot Sound’s diverse ecosystem to some spectacular views on these trails.

Big Tree Trail (Meares Island)
Conceived in 1984 as a protest against logging on Meares Island by Tofino photographer Adrian Dorst and friends, see how it earned its name when you come face to face with some very big trees, ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 years old.

The star of this trail – the Hanging Garden Tree – was once considered the largest tree of its kind in Canada, with a circumference of 18.3 metres/60 feet.

Getting there:
Hop on a boat or kayak from a local charter company, and cruise Tofino’s calm inside waters, up Lemmens Inlet to Meares Island. Meares Island is a Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park; your $3-5 Tribal Park Pass may be automatically collected by your tour company.

The Big Tree Trail in a nutshell:

  • Distance: 3 kilometres/1.86 miles round-trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate. Expect some mud as the boardwalk ends.
  • You'll Love: Being among the most giant and ancient trees in North America. Of note are the Hanging Garden Tree and Poster Tree, both Western Red Cedars.

Lone Cone (Meares Island)
Contrary to local lore, Lone Cone is not an old volcano, though it certainly does look like one. A prominent landmark in Clayoquot Sound, its looming presence dominates Tofino Harbour. From its summit, Lone Cone provides an impressive and incomparable 360-degree panorama of all of Clayoquot Sound.

A trail leads up the south side of the cone. It is extremely steep and unrelenting to its 730 metre/2,395 foot peak, making it one of the most challenging and rewarding trails in Clayoquot Sound.

Getting there:
The trailhead is accessed through private property and can be difficult to find. In order to hike this trail, it’s best to hire a guide or call the Tla-o-qui-aht Band Office 250.725.3233 for details about permission and how to locate the trailhead.

Lone Cone in a nutshell:

  • Distance: Around 1 (mostly vertical) kilometre/.62 mile in each direction.
  • Difficulty: Difficult (but rewarding!)
  • You'll Love: The amazing, top-of-world views of Clayoquot Sound and its islands, and boasting that you climbed Lone Cone.

Tonquin Trail (Tofino)
Tofino’s newest trail, Tonquin winds through an ancient rainforest, along the open ocean shoreline and down to Tonquin Beach. Once the 2 kilometre/1.24 mile trail is completed, it will connect Tonquin Beach to MacKenzie Beach.

Some viewpoints are adorned with wooden benches crafted by Tofino’s own Robinson Cook – a beautiful invitation to take a deep breath, and a break. Don't miss the viewing platform, which cantilevers out of the rocks for some life-affirming views.

Getting there:
From the Post Office, travel south on First Street, past the hospital and a small park. Turn left on Arnet Street, up to a parking lot adjacent to the Tofino Community Centre and Tuff City Bike Skills Park. The main trailhead is located between the Tofino Community Hall and Tuff City Bike Skills Park.

Tonquin Trail In a Nutshell:

  • Distance: 2 kilometres/1.24 mile (once completed)
  • Difficulty: Easy although it does involve some steps to and from Tonquin Beach.
  • You'll Love: The feel of having these views to yourself on a trail so close to town!
  • For more, visit the Tonquin Trail website!

Tonquin Beach (Tofino)
Tonquin Beach is an accessible hiking beach located within the District of Tofino, outside of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It is named after the Tonquin, the 19th century American trading vessel, which sank here after historic altercations between the crew and local First Nations people. The wreck has not yet been discovered, but we now have a peaceful beach to carry this historic name.

Getting there:
From the Post Office, travel south on First Street, past the hospital, some forest and a small park. Turn right on Arnet Street, then left up Tonquin Park Road to a small parking lot on the left at the end of the road.

Note that the parking lot at the trailhead is less than 1 kilometre from the Post Office; an easy and pleasant walk. To get there, head for the end of Tonquin Park Road, then follow a winding boardwalk through the forest for about 7 minutes. You’ll be walking through a nature preserve set aside by the District of Tofino. After descending about 75 steps, you will be at the beach. Although it is not very large, this beach feels secluded and gets beautiful, full sun.

When the boardwalk on the Tonquin Trail is wet – and this is true of all boardwalks – the planks can become very slippery, especially in the early morning or during and after rain showers. So watch your step.

After arriving on the beach, look out to Wickaninnish Island (straight out and a bit to your left) and Felice Island (off to your right, also called Round Island). If your timing is right, you will experience the area’s best view of the summer sunset. Walk to the left side of the beach, and climb the staircase to walk the Lighthouse Trail.

For more information about the wreck of the Tonquin, purchase a copy of Tonquin: The Ghostship of Clayoquot Sound, a booklet written by David W. Griffiths, a local marine archaeologist. The booklet is available at Tofino Sea Kayaking, 320 Main Street.

Tonquin Beach in a nutshell:

  • Distance: A few hundred metres, each way.
  • Difficulty: Easy, short steep ascent on concrete path, then all boardwalk. One descent is about 75 stairs.
  • You’ll love: Being on a secluded beach with soft, white sand and some coves. Oh, and the breathtaking sunsets.

Wildside Heritage Trail (Flores Island)
For centuries, the Ahousaht people used sections of this trail to reach the wild beaches on the west side of Flores Island, a 40 minute boat ride northwest of Tofino. In 1995, under the guidance of the Ahousaht elders, a 16 kilometre/9.94 mile trail was completed to expand the economic opportunities in Ahousaht traditional territory.

In 2009, BC Parks and other partners worked with the Ahousaht First Nation to continue the trail repairs and to develop a more robust ecotourism strategy for Ahousaht and Flores Island.

The Wildside Heritage Trail winds its way through ancient Sitka spruce forests and visits two of the most spectacular beaches in Clayoquot Sound: Whitesands Beach and Cow Bay. This is a long trail, so bring a backpack with provisions and be prepared for some mud and spontaneous weather changes. Most hikers choose to camp for a night or two on Cow Bay, the final beach on the trail.

Excellent interpretive signs along the entire trail point out culturally modified trees, historical landmarks and valuable insights to the indigenous culture.

Getting there:
To access this trail, you need to take a 40 minute boat ride or a 10 minute seaplane flight from Tofino to Marktosis, the Ahousaht village on Flores Island. The scheduled water taxi, Ahousaht Pride, departs Tofino at 10:30 am and 4:00 pm from First Street Dock and costs $20 one way (cash only). Return departures leave Marktosis at 8:30 am and 1:00 pm.

There is a $20 fee per person (cash only) for accessing the trail, payable at the Ahousaht Band Office in Marktosis.

The Band Office is located just south of the arrival dock in a two-story red wooden building. The staff at the Band Office will point you to the trailhead, down the road (south) that led you to the Band Office, staying left at the fork. Nuu-chah-nulth guides are occasionally available to guide hikers. Call the Ahousaht Band Office 250-670-9531 for guide arrangements and any other questions about the Wildside Heritage Trail and Marktosis tourism information.

Wildside Heritage Trail In a Nutshell:

  • Distance: 11 kilometres/6.83 miles one way; then return
  • Hiking Time: 5 hours one-way. Recommended as an overnight wilderness camping trip. Hiking the trail in one day is possible, requiring an early morning seaplane ride to Marktosis and a chartered boat or seaplane ride home.
  • Difficulty: Moderate. There is little elevation gain, but the wilderness setting demands some hiking experience and agility.
  • You’ll Love: The wild beaches, First Nations cultural insight, and the experience of visiting a place that is truly the path less chosen.

The Long Beach Unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is home to several walking trails that should not be missed. See them here.

NOTE: All trails profiled by Tourism Tofino are sanctioned.


Tofino Today

Latest News

Upcoming Events

Latest Tweet

Latest Photos

Coastal Sunrise Mountain Air | Mt. Prevost | September 2017If anyone knows any one in this photo tag them or send it to them! 😆🌊 Tofino BeachFeet firmly planted in mid-air, Tofino | September 2017