Rocky Bluffs Trail Access Near the Highway
When judged in terms of scenery, trail quality, accessibility, and points of interest there are no better trails in western Canada than the ones that you find in Ucluelet, British Columbia. This small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island is, from a tourist perspective, perhaps overshadowed by Tofino.
However, Tofino is more about the beaches and surfing: for hiking and trail enthusiasts, Ucluelet is much better. Furthermore, Ucluelet is not in the Pacific Rim National Park. While Tofino isn't either, some of the better trails on the Tofino-side of the turnoff are in the national park and there is a user fee to hike or walk the trails there. Ucluelet's free trails are a big plus for the cheapskates out there that want to hike without paying user fees. Privately, I've wondered how long the free trails will last before some form of payment enters the picture (ie. parking fees).
For now, Ucluelet offers plenty of free coastal trails, including a long trail that's broken into segments called the Wild Pacific Trail. One segment that's worthy of particular praise is the Rocky Bluffs.
When I went out to this area in July of 2020, the Rocky Bluffs area was the endpoint of the Wild Pacific Trail. However, I learned of a plan to extend this trail north to the Pacific Rim National Park area.
In the following video, I show where I started a mild hike to the Rocky Bluffs. This point is about 7–8 minutes south of the Visitor's Centre at the turnoff from Highway 4. You can recognize the trailhead on your right.
You can also see the quality of the trail in the following video. The path is not as wide as shown at all points throughout the trail but you can clearly see that somewhere or other there's a budget to keep this trail network maintained. I never worried about tripping hazards nor did I work about encroaching vegetation as I hiked.
Video Footage of the Rocky Bluffs Area Trailhead
The Scenic Rocky Bluffs Area Near Ucluelet
The trail out to the Rocky Bluffs from the nearest entry point is up and down. However, this was not a difficult trail by any stretch. If you walked to the Rocky Bluffs and returned, it would take about 40 minutes. I would call this 75% walking and 25% hiking. I differentiate between the two in terms of difficulty and athletic requirement (ie. hiking is hard while walking, despite being a form of exercise, is a leisure activity)
The following video shows what you are in for in terms of scenery. You'll have to be careful of the conditions and footing if you go on any diversions off of the trail. The video was not taken at the endpoint of the trail, however, it does give a great taste of what you can expect if you decide to visit this area.
Rocky Bluffs Trail in Ucluelet BC
Much More to Do in the Same Trail Network
In a region where there are a ton of nature hikes, the Wild Pacific Trail is a jewel. The hike/walk to the Rocky Bluffs shouldn't take up your whole day by any stretch.
You can stay in this same trail network for a long adventure if you want. Or you can drive to different entry points. For sure, you will want to do the Lighthouse Loop of the Wild Pacific Trail. That loop is my outright favorite trail of the hundreds I've done in western Canada.
As always, when you are out in this region you should be expecting rain. I lived in Tofino for the tourist season in 2007 and didn't last a week before getting some rain gear.
Furthermore, this is an area where you have an above-average chance of spotting a bear during your hike relative to most other points in western Canada. Two of the four bear sightings I've had while hiking have been in the Port Alberni/Pacific Rim area. Cougars and wolves are also possible, however, I've not encountered those carnivores on hiking trips anywhere at this point.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Shane Lambert