I get it, you’re thinking “Hey Rach, it’s the middle of freaking winter. Why are you talking to me about going on a week long hike?” Well let me tell you, dear friend, it is because the glorious West Coast Trail will require some SERIOUS advanced planning, and I would like to put the bug in your ear right now in order for you to be ready to roll when the trail opens May 1st.

If you are an adventure seeker, avid hiker, camper, or someone who needs some time with nature, the West Coast Trail is the perfect trek for you! But there are many important pieces of information you will need before you embark on this journey.

When to go: The West Coast Trail is open from May 1st to mid October every year. When the trail is closed there is no dry firewood available, no shelters, and no rescue services. Not to mention the fact that the tide is high and the weather is unpredictable. Don’t go when the trail is closed, mmkay?

photo courtesy of cwexpeditions.net

Length of trail: The trail is exactly 75 kilometers long. For all of you Americans out there, that is 47 miles. 47 miles of rough, slippery, steep and rocky terrain. 47 miles of incredible and breathtaking views too!

Scenery to take in: Speaking of the views, there are so many stunning spots along the trail for you to take in. Check these out –

photo courtesy of summitpost.org

photo courtesy of media.mnn.com

photo courtesy of highwaybandits.files.wordpress.com

Fees/Costs associated: Ok. This is where the advanced planning becomes important, people. I bet you’re thinking “hey, Rach, it’s a trail. In the wilderness. How much could it cost?” This hike requires some coin, guys. If you think of it as a week long vacation, totally cheap. If you think of it as a hike, you may be a wee bit surprised.

Each year the prices vary but you will be looking at something to the tune of:

$25.00 to reserve your trip (see Parks Canada website to reserve)

$130.00 to the West Coast Trail Fee (accounts for rescue services, shelters, and maintenance)

$150.00 to Shuttle round trip from Victoria to the trailheads (see trailbus.com for fares and reservations)

$60.00 for the two ferry crossings required along the way

$50.00 to eat at a couple of pop-up restaurants along the trail (because the contents of your pack just ain’t as appetizing as freshly caught crab)

Total = $415.00

Of course, you can cut costs where possible – skip the eating out, and plan your own rides to the trailheads. You can probably manage this trip with $215.00 bare minimum.

Pro tip:

Do your research and decide which portion of the hike you want to complete first. Also decide if you would like to do the entire trail or half. The southern portion of the trail is much more arduous than the northern end. Perhaps it is a good idea to get the rough stuff out of the way while you have the most energy, and then enjoy the easier hike in the latter portion. On the contrary, you may want to adjust your muscles to the long days of hiking prior to hitting the hard stuff.

Make sure you travel with at least one companion to ensure safety and an equal division of gear among the packs.

Are you in?

Let us know about your experience on the trail @VictoriaHype on Facebook