Cable cars help you across rivers and boardwalks keep you out of some (but not most) of the mud. We thought being out so far there would However, it can be helpful to bring a copy of the Vancouver Island BC Backroad Mapbook to stay on track. A few minutes past the blowdown, a signed trail on the left descends a short distance to a gravel beach with some beautiful sea stacks. It’s a good place to stay if you got a late start on the trail. On the other side, it heads back into the forest through a particularly muddy patch. There is also lots of historical garbage strewn around including parts of an old stove. Lowrie Bay and Experiment Bight see a handful of campers each year. The trail to San Josef Bay heads left and your route to Cape Scott turns right. The bear was feeding on the beach, blocking our route back to the trail, and walking towards us. You can also spot lots of other wildlife at Cape Scott. Distance: 6.3km | Elevation Gain/Loss: none | Time: 2 hours. Beautiful. Pristine sandy beaches and surf, sea stacks and (depending on when you go) very quiet. You can camp here too. Better than nothing. San Josef Bay:Length 2.5 kilometres from the trailhead. Cape Scott is in the Coastal Region.). Thankfully there is lots of boardwalk through this section, and for the most part, the walking is easy. If a wolf attacks, fight back. My preparation for this hike was short CrossFit workouts. From there, the trail follows the coast, sometimes through upland mud bogs, sometimes on rocky beaches. In most areas of Cape Scott Provincial Park, dogs are prohibited. It has been closed for several decades now. They cost $10/person/night for adults. Follow it for a few minutes to a beautiful marble memorial. Distance: 2.5km | Elevation Gain/Loss: none | Time: 45 minutes. We can get you to/from the North Coast Trail and Cape Scott trailhead(s) & drop-off spots by water or land. Over 100 years ago, Danish settler built a series of dykes across Hansen Lagoon to convert the tidal salt marsh to pastures. The drive from Nanaimo to Cape Scott takes about 6 hours. If you continue straight, you’ll reach a viewpoint at the southern end of Eric Lake. Shushartie Bay, Nahwitti Beach, Cape Sutil & More… LEARN MORE. South heads to San Josef Bay. The trail splits at 900 metres in. This section of trail is brand new, as the bridge over the Fisherman River was replaced a few years ago and this section of trail was built to connect it. As you will see in the map legends,the maps indicate completed trail sections in green, sections of the route using roads in yellow, proposed/projected sections of trail in olive green, and sections over water in blue. If you’re on a budget, the North Coast Trail Backpackers Hostel gets good reviews. Recently I learned that burning driftwood can create toxic smoke from the salt build up in the logs. I even saw a stroller go by. Within a few minutes, you will encounter a huge section of blowdown. As you get closer to the beach, the forest opens up and thick salal bushes line the trail. Crossing the new bridge over Fisherman River, Distance: 3.8km | Elevation Loss: 60m | Time: 1.5 hours. There’s a ranger on staff here in the summer, stationed in a cabin at the east end of the beach. 63km on gravel road, that got very narrow, has soft shoulders and the last 2 to 4 km, very rough. After Nahwitti Lake take the left fork onto NE 60 Road. There are some awkward spots in this section as the trail is rocky and rooty. Distance: 2.9km | Elevation Loss: m | Time: 1 hour. It is smaller than Nel’s Bight and sees far fewer visitors. Bring a spare tire and know how to change it as flats are common. Logging road with lots of pot holes and big rocks to avoid. It’s a remote but beautiful place: old-growth rainforest, coastal bog, gorgeous white sand beaches, and lots of historical sites. Along the path you will journey back in time as signs of civilization still present from the Danish pioneers who settled the land 100 years ago reveal themselves. Look for a trail heading into the forest, marked with a hanging buoy. In the first minute, look for some huge old-growth cedar trees on the north (right) side of the trail. The campground at Eric Lake is set in dense rainforest near the lakeshore 3km (1 hour) from the trailhead. You will be sharing the road with industrial traffic including fully loaded logging trucks, so use caution. 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The VI Trail is currently more t… The trail is well maintained and an easy walk. The following information comes from the BC Parks website, http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/cape_scott/hiking.html. Some maps show trails branching off this trail to the south, but I couldn’t find them. The main attractions in the park are the trail to Cape Scott at the northwest tip of the park, and the North Coast Trail, a challenging 5-day backpacking trip. A Cape Scott Explorer guided tour is one of the best hikes in BC. The settlers would land boats full of supplies there, then haul them up this road to their homesteads near Hansen Lagoon. Wolves are very territorial and will attack dogs since they see them as a threat. Look for a faint trail heading north (right) into the forest. There are also two trails to Hansen Lagoon on the south side of the trail just before Nel’s Bight. This is the fork to turn off to the parking lot or turn south to San Josef Bay. If you need to pay fees in person, there is a station where you can deposit money in an envelope. Many people camp here after finishing the North Coast Trail. From the junction, the trail heads downhill in the forest over some roots and rocks. Ignore a side trail heading into the dunes and onward to Experiment Bight. This post includes: Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. There are so many little rocks and logs and things to trip over. Distance: 3km | Elevation Gain: 75m | Time: 1 hour. I’ve also seen bears in Hansen Lagoon. You can follow three different rough trails to see them. It’s a long 1km walk from the Cape Scott Trail entrance. There are two picnic tables where you can take a break. The Kwakwaka’wakw know this beach as Tsewunchas, meaning “winter place”. The rewards, however, are remarkable. Much of the trail consists of wooden boardwalk. At about 2.7km from the trailhead, descend some stairs and cross a creek. What a journey to get there. However, it can be a good place to stay if you need to break up the long hike to Nel’s Bight or Nissen Bight into two days. This is the most popular campground on the Cape Scott Trail, and arguably the most beautiful. I knew Cape Scott was a relatively flat hike, which I was glad for. Go slow around blind corners. I stayed here on one of my trips to Cape Scott, and it was definitely more chill than Nel’s Bight. Turn right to continue around the lake to the campground. This looks absolutely beautiful, I have given it a 3 because I did not get there but want to give my views on the road. A parking lot at the Cape Scott and San Josef Bay trailhead near the southeast corner of the park is on Western Forest Products land and is provided by the company for the convenience of park users. The Cape Scott Marine Trail adds to the adventurous nature of the landscape by adding a designated water route that snakes the coastline, then turns back inland at Quatsino Sound. The pickets were not troublesome and we drove by easily but it is a little unnerving. Just be careful about the road, take it slow, its an hour and a half to 2 hours on gravel logging roads from Port Hardy. If you go past, We did the North Coast Trail reverse of most- start at Cape Scott Trail head and only went as far as Cape Sutil, leaving the last 16km overland mud stog off. Just before the trail reaches the beach, a side trail heads right to Fisherman’s Bay. Cape Scott is one of the best places to hike in BC. The trail also changes into a long straight section of old settler corduroy road. After the bridge, continue on boardwalk for a few more minutes to the Eric Lake campground. Thanks for supporting my website. Easy hiking now. Cape Scott Lighthouse Trail Heading north from the trailhead, it is 17 km to Nels Bight, where nearly 2 km of flat white sand and pounding surf awaits you. Cape Scott is such a special place, especially when the sun comes out. What a view! Looking across the dunes towards Experiment Bight. Cape Scott is home to a large black bear population. Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. This is the most popular hike in Cape Scott Provincial Park. more, Recommended experiences in and around Vancouver Island. On the other side of the bridge is a junction. See the rules and tips section below for detailed rules about dogs and campfires. The North Coast Trail map outlines the logistics, features, hurdles and attractions along the entire length. No smoking, vaping, or cannabis. After the info board, the trail crosses a wooden bridge over Hansen Creek. Cape Scott Park & The North Coast Trail Parking Lot Ranger Yurt Ranger Station Boat Launch Campsite Cable Car Lighthouse San Josef Trail Cape Scott Trail North Coast Trail Park Boundary e CCaCapee Sutuil Caapeppee SScS otttt n R e i v e r WilWllialm LLakLakke BriBrnk Lakakke EriEr c Lake i t i r TRATRTRATRAILIILLLHELHHEHEADD a c Q u e e n C h a r CAPPE SCOOTT PARRK … The trail arrives at First Beach. If you are hiking the North Coast Trail, you need to take a water taxi to the start of the trail at Shushartie Bay. To continue towards the Cape Scott Lighthouse from Nel’s Bight, head to the west end of the beach. If you are interested in learning more about the area, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Cape Scott and the North Coast Trail by Maria Bremner. Cape Scott is a Mecca for hiking enthusiasts, and hikers should be prepared and knowledgeable for coastal hiking. We saw one bear but few insects, birds, and squirrels. Cape Scott Park offers some of the best hikes on Vancouver Island, BC. Campfires are permitted in Cape Scott Provincial Park as long as there isn’t a regional fire ban in place. The trail ends at Nissen Bight, and from there, hikers follow the Cape Scott trail out to the trailhead. The Eric Lake campground has boardwalk paths to several tent platforms. Bring lots of water and wear a hat, it was hot out! It’s hard to read the inscription on the gravestones, but they are all from early Danish settlers. Hi, I’m Taryn! It’s a broad sandy beach that gets amazing sunsets. The Kwakwaka’wakw call this tidal lagoon Wachlalis, which means “river on the beach in the bay”. Water Taxi custom charters to anywhere on the north coast. Print out the Cape Scott tide table and carry it with you. the the picket camp at the entrance to the road. June, July, and August are the driest months, but you can still expect lots of rain and fog. It looks barren as did your previous post. Emerge on the beach at San Josef Bay. Further Resources: Check the Cape Scott Provincial Park website before you go for trail updates and advisories. The terrain around Cape Scott is coastal bog, which means that freshwater can be hard to find, especially late in the summer and in periods of dry weather. The WWII-era plank road on the way to the Cape Scott Lighthouse. A faint trail on the west (left) side of the trail leads to several graves hidden in the salal. Plan to collect water at low tide or pack in water from the trailhead. A nice warm up for what was to come. It’s one of the steepest bits of trail on the entire hike. Instead, look around for small dry branches. Would you recommend this place or activity to a friend looking for an, Is this a place or activity you would suggest for, Is this a romantic place or activity that you would suggest for, Is this a must-do if you are travelling with a, Are the prices for this place or activity, I visited San Josef bay and camped there overnight. / distance estimates seem to have been made either by straight line or by exuberant and extremely fit 25 year olds. My home is in Vancouver but my heart is in the mountains. The trail starts easy, flat and wide. Day hiking is free. The main campsites and points of interest along the trail to Cape Scott are in red, additional side hikes are in orange. If you are there at low tide you may be able to get to another beach and a fresh water source but I wasn't so lucky. I also made a custom Google map for you. It’s a delicious way to combine sightseeing with Victoria’s most delicious flavors, with both morning and afternoon departures available. Thanks for your support. There is a great view from the top of the dunes and you are likely to have the beach all to yourself. Nissen Bight is 15km from the trailhead. Read my post about the best things to do on North Vancouver Island. Eat and drink your way through historic Victoria on a gourmet walking tour that explores the city’s key sites. Hiker, adventure traveller, Leave No Trace trainer and connoisseur of alpine meadows. I am sure the Park is worth it when you get there - it was just not right for us on the day and with the weather conditions. Cape Scott is a hike-in park, located at the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island. There might not be any mountains to ascend or ladders to climb here; these are replaced by giant fallen trees, huge swathes of mud and slippery boardwalk. You can explore beautiful sea stacks at the west end of the beach or continue around the headland to the second beach. You can sometimes see it and hear it down the bank to your left, but you never get close to it. To find some of the historical items in the park, use this Cape Scott Park brochure. The trail to Cape Scott isn't especially technical but it's not easy. The trip takes approximately 60 minutes and drops you right into the wilderness. It’s made of crushed gravel and boardwalk that is smooth enough to push a wheelchair or a stroller. It includes all the places I mention in this post. A huge collection of buoys mark the trail at Nel’s Bight. You may not even notice the fork since it will seem like you stay on the same main road. The Kwakwaka’wakw call this beach Kechegwis, which means “wood drifted on beach”. Watch for old telegraph wires strung along the trail. When parking remember not to block other cars and logging trucks have the right-of-way so drive with your lights on, and make way for them. If you must build a fire, do it in the metal fire pit instead of building your own. Carry bear spray. Leaving the trailhead, the trail is a smooth crushed gravel highway. You’ll pass another cluster of tent platforms on your right, then the trail to the outhouse on your left. See the trail description above for more details: Unlike the West Coast Trail and most other coastal trails in BC, tides are not a problem on the main trail to Cape Scott. The Cape Scott Trail is located at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Half-Day Whale Watching Adventure from... Zodiac Whale Watching Adventure from Victoria. If you look up, you may also see old power poles high above you. One of those beautiful relatively untouched parts of the BC coast you should visit before too many people figure out how amazing this place is. Continue for another 16km to the small forestry town of Holberg. You start off on a very rough bumpy gravel road and will continue on for about 1.5 to 2 hours.. be mindful of the logging trucks and fast flying vehicles! The Cape Scott area is the unceded traditional territory of the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples. In can be very muddy through here, with lots of puddles. Continue along the trail, following boardwalk for a few more minutes. To get to the Cape Scott Trailhead, start by driving the Island Highway (Highway 19) north. Abandoned tractor hidden off to the side of the trail. Watch for hanging buoys and follow them back into the forest. You should treat all water by purifying, filtering, or boiling it. See it before it burns down, eh? I went camping a day after the Labour Day weekend and almost had a whole beach to myself. On the south (left) side of the trail, you will see the remains of a collapsed building. I’ve seen whales, sea lions, mink, seals, and eagles. To avoid attracting wolves, keep a clean camp, and always store your food properly. Follow signs into the forest to pools in the creek. On the other side of the bridge, follow the boardwalk and a small set of stairs to a junction. We were. About 1km from the campground, look for a giant Sitka spruce tree beside the trail. Going left will lead you down to the shore of Eric Lake and a small gravel beach that is a great place to take a break. I do not think the road is designed for tourists but for logging trucks and so the road condition should not be a surprise. You can also pay in cash at the trailhead. On the way, hikers can camp at Eric Lake (3 km) or near a hiker’s shelter at 11 km. For most hikers, the basic Cape Scott Provincial Park map is all you’ll need. It’s a remote but beautiful place: old-growth rainforest, coastal bog, gorgeous white sand … Keep that in mind and you will have a fantastic time. However, the North Coast Trail and the trail to Lowrie Bay do have tidal obstacles. The lighthouse keepers collect rainwater that tastes and looks much better than what you’ll find in the streams. The beautiful white sand of Guise Bay is 20.7km from the trailhead. You will hike 16.8km from the trailhead to get here. Campsites: Unlimited space on the beach above the high tide line | Toilet: Outhouse at the west end of the beach where the Cape Scott trail enters | Water: Collect from the creek on the east side of the beach near the North Coast Trail entrance. The maps also show roads that access the Trail (including gated roads) and campsites. The Cape Scott trail begins at the main parking lot, west of Port Hardy via Holberg. Well maintained restrooms and food caches on site. The trail to Cape Scott is 23.6km long from the trailhead to the lighthouse. Random wilderness camping is allowed throughout the park. Follow the grassy trail in between the old fence posts. It was a misty morning but quite often that was 'burned off' by mid day. IMG_3973. Distance: Up to 1.5km | Elevation Gain/Loss: none | Time: Up to 40 minutes. Cape Scott Trail is a 29.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Waddington B, British Columbia, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. I do not know how long the dispute has been going on or if it continues. A few minutes past the junction, arrive at an info board at the former Spencer Farm. However, I’m not sure if it was busier because the West Coast Trail is closed or just because it’s gotten more popular over the years. How was camping space at Nels Bight and space in the food lockers? Hopefully, this section of trail will be repaired or a bypass trail will be built soon. If you want to check out some history, there are several graves near here. There may also be tide tables posted on the info boards at the trailhead and at Nel’s Bight. Campsites: Unlimited space on the beach above the high tide line | Toilet: Outhouse on a spur trail to the left of the main trail | Water: Collect from the creek at the southeast end of the beach. Follow this sandy beach southwest for close to a kilometre. These trails are rough and seldom-travelled, so they are best for experienced hikers only. Apparently, a bear broke in to eat the dog food stored inside. There are no reservations – everything is first-come, first served. Watch for the famous Shoe Tree – people have been leaving old shoes here since the 1970s! There are also lots of wolves at Cape Scott. A curious mink watches us from amongst the rocks. This campsite is set in dense forest 9.3km from the trailhead and isn’t too appealing. Turn left and continue through the old-growth cedar forest. I’ve got some Cape Scott specific tips below, but for general advice, head on over to my coastal hiking tips post. The parking lot was full and people were parking on the narrow road. Step out of the trees on the sand. I hadn’t been to Cape Scott in a few years, and we did visit over the Canada Day holiday, so it did seem a bit busier than I remember. Due to increased traffic on the Cape Sco, All I can say is WOW! Temperatures between June and September are usually 8-15°C (46-59°F). Just be sure to put your tent well above the high tide line. Build your campfire in an existing fire ring or make one below the high tide line. If you want to camp, here is a list of drive-in campgrounds on the way to the Cape Scott trailhead: If you have time, plan to spend a few more days on northern Vancouver Island to experience the awesome whale watching, kayaking, indigenous sites, and grizzly bear tours. Reply. Walk through the campground and cross a bridge. At just 2.5km from the trailhead, San Josef Bay is a popular spot for families and beginners. Follow the WWII era plank road through the forest. Others in the park certainly were not. My home is in Vancouver but my heart is in the mountains. Just before the highway enters Port Hardy, turn left onto Holberg Road. If you visit in the winter, you can stay in the cabin! Cougar sightings are very rare. 5191 says: September 10, 2019 at 4:48 pm. 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