Trip and Wellness

9 Best Hiking Trails in Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino is a unique destination of natural beauty located on the western side of Vancouver Island, offering an exceptional setting for delightful short hikes amid captivating landscapes. The primary attractions include the ancient rainforest and expansive beaches.

The rainforest is a habitat for colossal, centuries-old trees, including some of the oldest documented trees in Canada. However, the main draw for visitors is the stunning golden-sand beaches that grace the Pacific Ocean shores, particularly those within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Numerous hiking trails seamlessly blend walks through the old-growth forest with strolls along the vast stretches of beach that extend for kilometers. Most of the highlighted hikes are within the park or nearby, with a couple located farther south near the community of Ucluelet. Almost all of these trailheads are easily accessible by car.

The hikes typically cover distances of less than five kilometers, with many being only a kilometer or two in length. However, the overall distance can be adjusted based on how far you decide to explore along the beaches. Given the diverse nature of these trails, you might consider combining two or three hikes in a day. Make your trail selections with the help of our guide to the best hikes in Tofino.

1. Rainforest Trail

Rainforest Trail in Tofin
Rainforest Trail in Tofin

While Tofino’s magnificent beaches attract most vacationers, the old-growth forest, featuring western red cedar and western hemlock, stands as a natural wonder and, for nature enthusiasts, represents the true highlight of the area. If you choose only one hike during your stay in Tofino, let it be this exploration through the ancient trees.

The Rainforest Trail ranks among the most serene hikes in the park, offering an opportunity to witness some of Canada’s oldest documented trees. This trail provides an easy stroll through a living natural history exhibition, showcasing trees that took root long before the arrival of Europeans in Canada or 

Columbus in the Americas.

The trails are flanked by trees over 800 years old and colossal logs that contribute nutrients to the soil, fostering new life in the forest. Fallen monster trees can take up to 1,500 years to decompose fully, sustaining diverse vegetation as they break down.

In contrast to trails closer to the ocean, where the constant crash of waves is heard, the Rainforest Trail is set sufficiently inland, providing virtual silence on calm days, punctuated only by the sounds of birds and wildlife.

During your walk, be attuned to the hum of nesting hummingbirds or the high-pitched screeches of bald eagles. Sudden commotions in the trees may also indicate the presence of eagles.

The Rainforest Trail comprises two sections, Loop A and Loop B, each slightly over one kilometer. Both loops start from the same parking lot but are situated on opposite sides of the highway. Most of the trail consists of a raised boardwalk connected by stairs leading into gullies. An intriguing feature of Loop B is a massive fallen log functioning as a bridge, complemented by handrails installed by the park.

2. Long Beach

Long Beach, Tofino, BC

Is it considered a hike if you simply stroll along the beach? While the answer may be no in certain destinations, the 16-kilometer-long Long Beach can easily turn into a full-day hiking experience. Long Beach technically comprises several beaches separated by headlands, accessible on the beach only during low tide.

Long Beach can be accessed from various points, and one of the most impressive sections is directly reachable from the Long Beach parking area. The prominent Incinerator Rock marks a key landmark along this stretch.

The sand is firm and conducive to walking, whether you choose the upper part of the beach or the water’s edge. Families can effortlessly push strollers along the beach, and, as with all Tofino beaches, dogs are allowed if they are leashed.

Starting from here, you can hike for up to 10 kilometers if you wish, but keep in mind that unless someone is picking you up at the far end or along the route, you will need to trek back to your car. Distances may be deceiving on this vast and expansive beach. It’s advisable to pack lunch and consult tide charts before embarking on your journey.

3. South Beach Trail

South Beach Trail
South Beach Trail

This brief trek can be undertaken independently or as an offshoot of the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail, which takes you to Florencia Bay. The trail commences at the Kwisitis Visitor Center, offering panoramic views of Wickaninnish Beach, another captivating shoreline that stretches in both directions. Before embarking on the South Beach hike, you can explore the visitor center, where exhibits showcase the cultural history and natural features of the region.

South Beach is nestled in a small cove adorned with prominent rock formations. It boasts breathtaking scenery and stands out from other nearby beaches. While the upper part of the beach features soft sand, closer to the water, small pebbles glisten with the incoming waves.

4. Meares Island Hike

Meares Island Hike
Meares Island Hike

For a unique experience that includes a boat journey across the waters near Tofino, consider exploring the Big Tree Trail on Meares Island. This 2.4-kilometer round-trip hike guides you through some of the oldest trees in North America, with many estimated to be 1,000 years old or more. The trail consists of handcrafted boardwalks and, though slippery and somewhat uneven, is suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

The trail’s focal point is an approximately 2,000-year-old cedar tree known as the Hanging Garden. This colossal tree boasts an 18-meter circumference, with boardwalks surrounding its base. The boardwalks conclude at this point, and while most people choose to turn back and retrace their steps, an unmarked trail continues forward for those with suitable footwear and a tolerance for mud.

By turning right at each junction, you will eventually return to the drop-off point. This additional trail extends the hike by three kilometers, resulting in a total round trip of 5.4 kilometers.

Boat rides can be easily arranged in town; simply call for pick-up once you’ve completed the hike. If you have your kayak or canoe, reaching the trailhead is a straightforward two-kilometer (one-way) paddle.

5. Tonquin Trail

Tonquin Beach Hike
Tonquin Beach Hike

The three-kilometer round-trip Tonquin Trail guides you to a series of picturesque small beaches, offering a convenient way to reach the ocean if you’re lodging in downtown Tofino.

Commencing from the Tofino Community Center parking lot, this trail meanders through the rainforest, eventually leading to the main Tonquin Beach. The trail maintains a relatively level terrain, concluding with a descent to the sand via a set of stairs.

Tonquin Beach stands out from other Tofino beaches as it is sheltered from the direct impact of the rugged Pacific Ocean. Consequently, the water is clear and tranquil, making it ideal for swimming or wading. This location ranks among the best spots to witness the sunset in Tofino.

For those wanting to extend their trail experience after reaching the beach, return to the trail leading back to the Community Center (the southernmost trail). Proceed for a short distance, ensuring you veer right toward Third Beach.

En route, small side trails provide scenic viewpoints over the water. Eventually, the trail concludes at Third Beach, a small and rocky inlet. Retrace your steps, take a right where the trails converge, and head back to the community center.

Note that there is an alternative trail to Tonquin Beach, confusingly named Tonquin Beach Trail, which starts from a small parking lot at Tonquin Park Road. If you’re only interested in a shorter route to enjoy the sunset at the beach, opt for this trail.

6. Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet

View along Wild Pacific Trail
View along Wild Pacific Trail

Located about a 40-minute drive south of Tofino, Ucluelet stands out as a prime destination for hiking along the west coast of Vancouver Island. The Wild Pacific Trail, a standout feature of this region, distinguishes itself from other coastal hikes by tracing a rugged coastline marked by jagged rocky points and offering views of offshore islands, in contrast to the soft-sand beaches of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

The trail comprises two sections: the Lighthouse Loop trail and the Brown’s Beach to Rocky Bluffs trail. Both are worth exploring, but the Lighthouse Loop is particularly popular.

The Lighthouse Loop covers a 2.6-kilometer stretch leading to a point where the actual lighthouse is situated. It takes you above the dramatic rocky shoreline, offering fantastic views of the sea before cutting inland. Twisted and windblown trees line the trail, occasionally running just meters inland from the shore. Throughout the trail, cut-out areas for the forest, many equipped with benches, provide glimpses of the water and serene spots to watch the waves crashing against the rocks.

Many visitors opt to walk from the parking area to the lighthouse and back, which constitutes the busiest segment of the trail. Alternatively, you can traverse the trail to the lighthouse and then cut up to the road, walking back along the pavement to the parking lot.

The second segment of the Wild Pacific Trail extends along the coast between Brown’s Beach and Rocky Bluff. Covering an eight-kilometer round-trip hike, it meanders along the ocean and through the rainforest, offering a different perspective with slightly tamer views. Additionally, you have the option to include the short Ancient Cedars Trail to witness truly massive trees.

7. Ancient Cedars Trail, Ucluelet

Ancient Cedars Trail
Ancient Cedars Trail

Close to Ucluelet, the Ancient Cedars Trail forms a brief loop off the main road (Peninsula Road), swiftly leading you to the base of colossal cedars that have graced this location for centuries.

This one-kilometer trail easily rivals the splendors of Cathedral Grove, a noteworthy stop on the drive to Tofino and Ucluelet. Amidst the trees, including Sitka spruce and western hemlock, stand red cedars that have thrived for up to 800 years, some boasting a circumference of up to 12 meters. Parking is available along the roadside, and a small sign indicates the entrance to the hiking trail.

8. Combers Beach Trail

Combers Beach Trail
Combers Beach Trail

This one-kilometer round-trip hike guides you through the forest to Combers Beach, a distinct section in the middle of Long Beach with a unique look and atmosphere. While technically part of Long Beach, it presents an entirely different landscape. During low tide, the area resembles a desert, extending for hundreds of meters from the forest to the water’s edge and creating an almost endless vista in either direction.

Although the trail is short, it involves a steep descent to the sand. Logs and driftwood of various sizes line the top of the shore, but they are easy to navigate as you venture farther out. If you seek a beach stroll away from the crowds of Long Beach, this provides a delightful escape. You can extend your hike by covering additional kilometers along the hard-packed sand.

Similar to most beaches in the park, Combers Beach often attracts surfers capitalizing on the waves. It also becomes intriguing during storm season when massive waves make their presence felt. Many individuals specifically visit this area to witness the spectacle of storms.

9. Shorepine Bog Trail

Shorepine Bog Trail
Shorepine Bog Trail

The Shorepine Bog Trail, commonly known as the Bog Trail, spans less than a kilometer, offering a unique experience distinct from other trails in the park. Instead of towering trees and expansive beaches, this hike takes you through a forest of Shorepines—small trees with twisted branches and curved limbs resembling bonsai trees. Compared to other trails in the park, this path feels like a stroll through a miniature forest.

The soil in this area of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is highly acidic, supporting only a limited variety of vegetation. Shorepines, despite their stunted and small appearance, thrive in this bog. Some of these trees are hundreds of years old. The bog is dominated by Sphagnum moss, almost 400 years old, and depending on the season, you may encounter various blooming flowers.

The trail is a level boardwalk, making it accessible to anyone, including those with strollers. It is more open and sunnier compared to the shaded rainforest or the windy beaches. On cool, clear days, this trail provides a warm hiking experience.

The Bog Trail is situated in the same area as Wakaninnish Beach and Florencia Bay, each with its parking area on the same road off the main highway. It’s convenient to combine a visit to the Bog Trail with the exploration of these two areas.


Q: Are the hiking trails in Tofino suitable for beginners?

A: Yes, Tofino offers a variety of trails, including easy ones like Cox Bay Beach Trail, perfect for beginners.

Q: What should I wear for hiking in Tofino?

A: Wear sturdy boots, and waterproof clothing, and bring layers as the weather can change.

Q: Are there camping options along the hiking trails?

A: Yes, some trails, like Flores Island Wild Side Trail, offer camping opportunities. Ensure you have the necessary permits.

Q: Is wildlife a concern on Tofino’s hiking trails?

A: Yes, be aware of wildlife encounters. Carry bear spray in bear-prone areas and respect their habitats.

Q: Can I hike year-round in Tofino?

A: Yes, Tofino’s mild climate allows for year-round hiking, but check trail conditions and weather forecasts before heading out.