The rugged scenery of Vancouver Island’s Pacific Coast attracts thousands of visitors a year, many of whom stay in the town of Ucluelet. The town of Ucluelet is situated on the south end of the peninsula roughly 40-minutes south of Tofino but close to all the major beaches. While many of the trails in Pacific Rim National Park get plenty of attention, the free trails in Ucluelet offer spectacular views year-round.
Here are the must-see trails when visiting Ucluelet:
Located along the southern tip of Ucluelet, the Lighthouse Loop Trail follows the rocky shoreline, offering incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. Amphitrite Point Lighthouse is an active lighthouse and the trail passes right through the grounds, although the actual lighthouse is off limits to the public. The area is popular for storm watching as the winds whip up along the rocks while the ocean waves pound the shoreline. The entire loop is about 2.6km long and takes anywhere from 30-minutes to an hour, depending on how often you stop to enjoy the many views.
Wild Pacific Trail
Combining the Lighthouse Loop and additional sections of trail further north is the Wild Pacific Trail, which follows more than 8km of rugged Pacific Coastline offering many incredible views. The route is broken up by a resort and other pieces of private land, so it’s best to refer to the PDF Map provided by the Wild Pacific Trail Society who maintains and builds additional sections of trail. Starting at the parking lot bear Brown’s Beach is a natural starting point before following the trail north along the coast all the way to the rocky bluffs. You will have to hike back the same route to return to where you began, doubling your distance and time. The length and time depends on where you start but expect to spend over 2-hours on the trail.
Ancient Cedars Loop
There are some enormous trees in the region and it’s an easy walk to see these large cedar trees along the Ancient Cedars Loop in Ucluelet. The loop is also part of the Wild Pacific Trail and is best accessed along the west side of Peninsula Road where there is a small gravel parking area at the side of the road near a large wooden trail sign (link: Google Map). Walk up the gravel trail and veer to the left as, almost immediately, a giant of the forest stands ahead of you. There are a few trees in this grove that are the most impressive, however you can complete the short loop by following the trail to where it joins the main Wild Pacific Trail, go left and then go left at a second junction a short distance later. After the second junction, the trail will bring you back to Peninsula Road, a short distance from where you parked. The loop is just under 1km and takes about 15-minutes to complete.
You won’t find this hike in any official guides but photos from Sky Couch are popping up online and drawing people to this scenic view. The hike itself is short and not all that great but the platform sits above the treeline where you can look out towards the Pacific Ocean for a stunning view. Be careful on the wooden platform as it’s not the most sturdy. The hike begins near the green water tower along Peninsula Road and only takes about 10-minutes to hike up the steep hill to the viewpoint.
Looking for Accommodations in Ucluelet?
We stayed at the Canadian Princess Lodge and Marina during our time in Ucluelet and it was the perfect accommodations for a family. The large rooms were ideal for multiple people and our stay was very comfortable. The location was nearby several popular restaurants in Ucluelet and it was a short drive to all of the hiking trails and even the beaches in Pacific Rim National Park. Oh, and the view from the lodge was incredible!