Nootka Island Trail
In our hearts, we all live on the land. That is the real world. We take away the obstacles to experience what is real, to experience your bliss. We show you the way. That's Coastal Bliss Adventures.Look For Your Bliss Now
We Take Care Of You
We do the planning, logistics, and support. You do the experience and the fun.
From pickup to return, we cover everything you need, except your personal items. We take you to and from the trip start, and feed you well along the way. We can't guarantee weight loss on our tours.
Our guides get out into our areas. They know the ins and outs of the trip and provide exceptional interpretation of flora, fauna and history. You'll know more after you leave.
We give you an entire packet of information on how to prepare, what to bring, how to pack, and a plan for training so you can fully enjoy the trip. Our care for you starts before you even arrive.
Vancouver Island BC Hiking
Nootka Island Trail
6-day Backpacking Tour
The Nootka Island Trail guided tour is a journey of forgotten history, and one of the best places to hike in BC. When you consider hiking Vancouver Island, don't underestimate Nootka Island. Hiking the west coast of Nootka Island gives visitors to this rugged and spectacular Island the opportunity to experience the same scenic beauty that early explorers saw here. Together with an abundance of wildlife, this makes Nootka Island a paradise of scenic treasures. Most of the hiking is on beaches, making this BC hike one of the easier hiking trails on Vancouver Island. If you are looking for an exceptional hiking adventure, this coastal hike starts off with a float plane ride to the trailhead. On a clear day, you get to see the whole trail before you hike it!
- HIKING DAYS: 5
- TRAVEL DAYS: 1
- RATING: Easy to Moderate
This is our typical itinerary for this tour. Because we are travelling in wilderness, itineraries can change. There are many factors that can affect how a tour actually runs. We confirm pickup times by phone, email or SMS at least 12 hours before.
This trip begins in Nanaimo, where we will arrange your pickup to drive to the location where we begin the activity. PDF Itinerary
The Nootka Island Trail is a journey of forgotten history. Hiking the west coast of Nootka Island gives visitors to this rugged and spectacular Island the opportunity to experience the same scenic beauty as early explorers. This is the edge of the rainforest, where land and sea meet and interact. Waves crash rhythmically onto the shingled beaches, while inland water gently cascades down waterfalls onto the beaches. Together with an abundance of wildlife, this makes Nootka Island a paradise of scenic treasures.
Historically, Nootka Island marks the beginning of European history in British Columbia. More than 50 years before the Hudson’s Bay Company established Fort Victoria, Nootka was the hub of trade between Native people and European explorers. It also became a point of Spanish and English controversy, bringing them close war.
While Spanish and Russian ships travelled up and down the BC coastline, and even made contact with some of the native peoples, it was Britain’s Captain James Cook, who on his attempt in 1778 to find the Northwest Passage, first set foot on the island and spent time at Yuquot (Friendly Cove).
Fur traders, a Spanish settlement a mission followed. The mission can still be seen with its stained glass windows depicting the signing of the Nootka Convention by Captains Vancouver and Quadra.
In 1803, a turn of events saw the massacre of Captain Salter’s crew on the Boston and the 3 year enslavement of John Jewitt, later depicted in his journals ‘White Slave’. Following this event, and the increased activity around Fort Victoria, the European interests in Nootka diminished. However its’ significance in the history of BC lives on. Many of the names given to islands and locations on Vancouver Island stem from this period of exploration and exploitation.
Our backpacking tour begins on the rugged northwestern end of the Island where we are dropped by float plane. We then trace the coast southward to Yukuot. Here we can visit the old Mission, an old totem, and the woodworking studio of master carver Sanford Williams.
Coastal Bliss Adventures will arrange to meet you in Nanaimo to start our tour. We take care of transportation to Gold River. Here we will board a float plane to fly us to our Trail head, Louis Bay, on the north-western tip of Nootka Island. Following a short hike we arrive at our camping location for the 1st night, or continue to Skuna Ck., Tide/time dependent.
Third Beach to (Skuna Ck 2.25, 1hr) or Tide permitting to Crawfish Falls 15.25 km, 4-6 hrs
Crawfish (Calvin) Falls to Beano Ck. Over sandy beach south round bay, straight shoreline to First Nations village site at Bajo Point (3.5 km). Sand, boulders, rock shelf. Round Point to see Nootka sound and Hesquiat Peninsula in distance. Long stretch of pebble beach to Beano Ck. (Cross Creek if possible). 6.75 km, 3-4 hrs Day Total 10.25km.
Beano Ck to Maquina Pt. Cross Creek if on north side. Round Bay below cliffs, or along trail through forest. Up short rope 10m. Through forest to Calicum Ck. 2.25km, 45 mins east end Beano. In and out of pocket beaches. 1.25km, +1.25km to sea cave beach. 2nd rope (hand line) into forest and on to Maquina Pt. Look out and down to beach 1.5km east of Maquina Pt.
Maquina Pt. to Friendly Cove. Across Lagoon and along pebble beach to Friendly Cove. Set up camp. Swim in warm lake. Explore area and take photographs of church, colourful totems, old totem, lighthouse and visit Sanford Williams workshop.
Have a leisurely morning as we wait for the MV Uchuck to boat back to Gold River, or we fly back to Gold River by float plane. Drive to Nanaimo for ferry.
Due to transportation by float plane we need to keep our pack weights to a minimum. Air Nootka requires me to provide them with the following information prior to our arrival:
Passenger weight (Please write this on the medical form)
We ask that if you will be packing bear bangers, bear spray, and/or camp stove fuel, to pack them separately, as they must be carried in the float compartment of the aircraft, not in the passenger compartment.
Our arrival at Louis Bay requires us to wade (shin deep) to shore as there is no dock for the float plane to tie up to. We suggest that you wear water sandals/shoes and shorts.
Included Not Included Transportation from and to the departure location (pick up and drop off) Your transportation to the departure location (from your home) All backcountry park fees and camping fees National Park entry fees (may change as Parks alters their policies) Professional guides Hiking Boots (should be less than 5 years old) All meals (except on travel days) Some food (on travel days and special options) Tent (shared) Hiking Boots (should be less than 5 years old) A substantial preparation guide Backpack (available for rent) Gear rental options Sleeping bags or mats (available for rent) Gratuities are not included. Recognizing your guide for their hard work and care is always appreciated; $10-20/day per guide is recommended.
Getting There And
Where To Stay
If you are travelling into the Vancouver, Victoria, or Nanaimo area from afar, you should arrive at the departure location (in Nanaimo) for your trip the day/evening prior to the trip start date and plan to leave the day following trip return.
You can fly to Vancouver (airport code YVR) or Seattle (airport code SEA) then connect to Vancouver Island using ferry, bus, or air, or arrange flights directly to Vancouver Island.
Flying to Victoria (Airport code YYJ)
Flying to Nanaimo (Airport code YCD)
Nanaimo Airporter shuttle service.
Servicing all of Vancouver Island from airports to ferrys to cruise ship terminals. Tel: 1 250 758-2133
BC Ferries 1-888-BC FERRY (1-888-223-3779)
We will let you know the ferry to take for travelling to Vancouver Island, but if you want to check out times, you can go the the BC Ferries website at:
Where to Stay
Naniamo Pick up & Hotels
Pick up: Departure Bay, Duke Point Ferry Terminal, or the following Accommodations:
Days Inn Harbour View Nanaimo
Address: 809 Island Hwy South, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, V9R 5K1
Phone (250) 754-8171
Best Western Dorchester Hotel
Address: 70 Church, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, V9R 5H4
Phone: (250) 754-6835
Painted Turtle Guesthouse
Address: 121 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, British Columbia CANADA, V9R 3A2
Toll Free: 1-866-309-4432
Phone: (250) 753-4432
Preparing For Your Trip
How you prepare for your adventure is important. Being well prepared will enhance the quality of your experience. Because we are travelling in wilderness, it is very important for you and for the rest of your adventure group that you are fit enough to handle the level of difficulty and demand with no problems. Our guides know how to minimize the impact of these demands as much as possible, but they cannot remove them. The depth of your experience can only increase if you have made sure that you have prepared well.
Your preparation will be different for different activities. Preparing for a kayak trip is different from preparing for a hiking trip. We have provided some basic information that can be downloaded through the following links to pdf documents. If you do not have the Adobe Reader, you can download it from the Adobe site by clicking here.
Use the links below to download some of the preparation files for this hiking or kayaking tour. When you book your tour, we will send you a complete preparation packet to help you get ready.Please take this seriously. Most people are unaware of the demands of a coastal environment, particularly with keeping dry and warm. Your preparation will really help make your coastal hiking or kayaking tour a great experience.
We have gear available to rent if you don't want to buy a particular piece of equipment, or need to travel without it.
Look over the following list to help you decide whether you want to rent. If you decide to rent gear, you can tell us on the phone or book it online with your tour.
Item Price Sherpa for Hiking Tours $2399.00 Backpack Rental $55.00 Sleeping Bag Rental $55.00 Thermarest Rental $20.00 Gaiter Rental $15.00 Hiking Pole Rental (one) $7.50 Rental Bundle 1-Sleeping Bag+Thermarest+Gaiters or hiking pole $80.00 Rental Bundle 2-backpack+gaiters+hiking pole $76.00 Rental Bundle 3-backpack+sleeping bag+Thermarest $117.00
What Our Guests Say
Our Vancouver Island BC Hiking Tours
Georgia knows her stuff man... she has been guiding forever and you can certainly see that and she has perfected the art of guiding on the West Coast Trail. Coastal Bliss is the company I would recommend for sure...
We had a fabulous hike. Wow, the weather couldn't have co-operated any better. It made for an amazingly beautiful hike. Both Tom and I were very impressed with the food that was provided on the trip. We did not come off the trail hungry as expected. Thanks for an amazing experience! So glad we were able to do it. We are sharing photos and recommending to friends who are interested.
Hi Gary...thanks again for a fabulous trip - and for endlessly helping me over rocks and stumps. Really enjoyed it...
I just wanted to thank you for such a great trip. I had a fantastic time hiking and was so impressed with how well Coastal Bliss took care of us from start to finish. The meals were delicious and Kelsey and Phil were great.
Georgia, I speak for all of us when I say your kindness and experience made this West Coast Trail trip a memory of a lifetime. I truly believe I will do it again knowing there is a slight chance the weather would possibly be somewhat better. Now I’ve done it I am glad that I did experience the trail in true West Coast Weather.
Just wanted to write and reiterate what a great experience I had on the West Coast Trail trip that we went with Coastal Bliss. It was a trip that I won't soon forget. Thank you for the wonderful knowledge and service that you brought to the trip.
Just a quick note to thank you again for taking us to Duncan last night. Dad and I are home in Calgary now. We had an amazing time on the West Coast Trail and sincerely appreciate everything from you, Gary and James.
Georgia, thanks for a great week-the hike was better then our expectations. Your tireless duty to caring for us was appreciated along with the great gourmet meals. The place in Victoria turned out too be perfect great bed and washing facilities Thanks for organising our special trip and safe walking the trail again.
I just wanted to thank you for facilitating such a great trip last week! I had a really terrific time and am very grateful for all the hard work and energy you put in to ensuring we were safe, well fed and entertained! Thank you for the great meals, the warm fires and sharing your knowledge. I learnt a lot and especially enjoyed the West Coast Trail shipwreck stories...
I really enjoyed the West Coast Trail trip - definitely challenging terrain but the scenery was gorgeous & Phil & Mike were both wonderful guides.
What an amazing trip! Thank you so much Georgia and Tony for excellent guiding, great smiles and laughs, being ready with a helping hand and schlepping the heavy packs. Who would have known that camp food could be so delicious? Thank you, Gary, for the delicious lunch at Pachena Beach and driving us to the ferry.
I must pass on my thanks to Georgia and Tony. I had a wonderful time, (in fact, I would think about doing it again) I enjoyed every minute of it and I am sure that is because of your expertise. Both yourself and Tony were wonderful guides, friendly, knowledgeable, great cooks, and most importantly totally committed to our group and aware of our weaknesses and strengths. I know, personally, I couldn't have done that without either of you. Thank you both and hopefully we will see you again.
Thank you so much for a brilliant holiday, walking the West Coast Trail. I really enjoyed my days on the trail. Great company and friendship. Beth, Kelly and Gary made it a memorable trip. They were very very professional and I felt very safe in terrain which is different from North Yorkshire. They produced meals from those rucksacks which my husband thought I was pulling his leg. We did see some envious looks from fellow hikers too."
Hi Georgia-Thank you for the awesome experience on the West Coast Trail. I loved every minute of it, you are a wonderful guide. Thanks to Tony as well. Hope to join you in the future for some more adventures.
I had a fablous time and I really appreciated all that the two of you did to ensure we all had a great experience. I still am amazed at the stamina you both have.... to keep us all organised, safe, get fires going, prepare meals plus hike the same 70km we do is amazing..... I also very much appreciated both your help (and patience!). It was definitely an incredible trip on the North Coast Trail and one I won't ever forget.
My experience on the trail was fantastic. James and Tony were outstanding guides. They handled EVERYTHING throughout the West Coast Trail hike in a most professional manner. It was amazing in every way.
I have enjoyed all the aspects of this trip (except for the wet few days we had). James and Toni work so well together and they kept us safe and on time.
It was such a great experience treking the West Coast Trail with you. Thank you to everyone for making it a memorable experience. Hope to connect with you again.
The West Coast Trail experience was amazing! Thanks to each of you for making it awesome. I was really hungry for experiencing the West coast again as I had so much wonder and enjoyment from exploring the coast in my earlier life. The WCT was far more exciting and exhilarating than I expected. My exit from the trail was perfect for me, although I did miss greeting you all at the end.
We had a wonderful time hiking on the West Coast Trail and it was great to meet you guys. I hope all is well.
My thanks to you and our Coastal Bliss guides, James and Shiming, for a fantastic hike on the West Coast Trail. This was a trip of a lifetime. James and Shiming were so well organized, patient and thoughtful. They managed our diverse group through the challenging terrain with a keen focus on both our safety and enjoyment. I was very impressed. Again, many thanks for this very special opportunity to experience the rain forest and west coast of Canada.
I wanted to thank you, and more so, our hike leaders, James & Olivia for a great hike on the West Coast Trail. The scenery, ocean, mountains & wildlife (which included bear, seals & great bald eagles) were all I could possibly have wanted, including the great 'hiking' weather.
Thank you so much for such a well organised, exciting and challenging West Coast Trail hike this week. And thanks for the great final lunch when we'd finished! James & Shiming were amazing throughout & I always felt safe under their guidance as well as learning a lot from their knowledge of the trail! A truly superb trip.
We would like to thank you so much for the unique & wonderful outdoor experience on the West Coast Trail hike we took with Coastal Bliss in July, 2017. The preparation by the experienced guides, James & Shiming at Port Renfrew really got the hike off on the right foot. Their recommendations on packing light, and getting us set up at camp, set the positive tone for the whole trip.
While each day was a highlight reel, there a few that standout are, Sandstone Creek, the ladders at Logan Ck, the beach camp at Tsuquadra, (without James & Shiming’s knowledge, we would have missed it), Tsusiat Falls, etc.
Having guides to lead the way, especially in their knowledge of how & when to be on and off the “beaches”, knowing where the good drinking water holes are, keeping spirits up, etc, was awesome. Please give James and Shimming a “hats off!” for making the hike a memorable experience!
What a great trip I had with Georgia and Carolyn hiking through the South Chilcotins this summer. You were right - what gorgeous country! The wildflowers were magnificent, the scenery breathtaking - and very few other folks in the area! For me personally - all the ingredients for a perfect trip!!
Hi Gary-Thanks a lot for your mail. That's cool that you finished the Juan de Fuca Trail without problems. Yes of course it is pity that I could not finished it, but it's better for my knee. Maybe next time!!!! Thanks again for your support in general and of course it was a great time in this two days. See you soon and take care
Thanks again for all advice and hard work on the West Coast Trail!
I hope you and Gary are doing great! As I am sure you know, I loved our trip and totally fell in love with the West Coast Trail.
Hi Georgia and Beth, Thank you both for your tireless energy and enthusiasm throughout this hiking trip. I couldn’t believe how tasty and filling the meals you prepared were, and I think I actually gained weight on the hike. The views, and pocket beaches we camped on were spectacular, swimming at the falls was a real treat after the days hike. The crowning of this trip however was sitting in the sun at Friendly Cove, watching the humpback whales feeding off shore. The Nootka Trail was certainly a trip of a lifetime. Thank you.
I'm back home since yesterday, physically but not with my mind. I just wanted to let you know, that I enjoyed the West Coast Trail hiking trip very well, everything was nice. It was the first time in my life, that I did an outdoor trip like this. Thank’s for your always good company. For sure I'll come back next year.
Finish the West Coast Trail with Gary from Coastal Bliss Adventure is my best decision I made, I really enjoy the whole trip, not only the amazing views but also the delicious food. Gary is very professional and knowledge, he will show you the best view in West Coast Trail.
For two years in a row we have used Coastal Bliss to guide us through the Wild West Coast Trail. This year we also added a 1/2 day kayaking. Using Coastal Bliss ensured we get to see the best there is to see. A further advantage is that you will learn about the fascinating fauna, flora, history and geology on the coast. People do hike up on their own, but apart from the risk they take by going at it alone, they also rob themselves of a superior experience. While we were setting up camp they were cooking incredibly delicious snacks and meals. Who knew dehydrated foods could taste so good.
I just returned home from my second West Coast Trail hike and I truly believe hiking with Coastal Bliss gives me a much, much bigger experience than I could get on my own. Their understanding of what there is to experience on and off the trail, how to manage the tides to get there and an emphasis on safety that adds confidence to the picture. Did I mention the food, wow, the mac and cheese with brie and white wine was my favourite! I also hiked with some truly amazing people from all walks of life that makes campfires a lot more interesting. Most of all our guides Gary & Travis looked after every need with a smile. There will be a third trek and it will be with Coastal Bliss!
If you're up for the West Coast Trail, the guides at Coastal Bliss Adventures are a great choice. Gary and Travis took care of all the details so the camping experience was easy. They also showed us routes that few hikers know and introduced us to the environmental diversity that makes this trail so interesting.
Having researched ways of doing the west coast trail I decided to go with Coastal Bliss.This decision was the very best. Our trail guides from Coastal Bliss highlighted amazing parts of the trail which were missed by other hikers who opted not to have a guide...the food was excellent , nutritious and varied with a "Surprise" addition to one of the dinners mid week which was thoroughly enjoyed by all! If you want to maximise your experience of hiking the west coast trail and and get the very best it has to offer I would highly recommend the team at Coastal Bliss. Thank you Gary and Shiming.
My sister & I just returned from the West Coast Trail trip with Coastal Bliss. I miss falling asleep to the sounds of the waves, nightly campfires, shipwreck stories and delicious meals prepared by our guides, James & Travis. The terrain was interesting and absolutely beautiful. Thank you for making my "bucket" list trip memorable.
In May 2018 I hiked the West Coast Trail (WCT) with Coastal Bliss. The 9 day hike was well organized, the guides were very knowledgeable and highly motivated to allow for the best possible experience for the participants. Even the point "hear about shipwreck stories in the evening at camp fire" as promoted on the homepage was fulfilled :-) If you want to hike the WCT in a group and you're looking for people to do it with - Coastal Bliss is the way to go.
We had a wonderful guided hike on the West Coast Trail in September and things couldn't have gone better. From pre-trip planning (equipment and clothing suggestions, physical preparation, food, environmental consideration, Parks Canada requirements) to pick up/drop off to excellent food on the trip, the communication certainly fulfilled expectations. Our guides were wonderful - experienced, knowledgeable, patient and with a sense of humour, they made a week+ strenuous adventure safe while fun. We had a fantastic group to meet up and travel with and will consider going again on another tour with this company.