South Beach Trail
The South Beach Trail is a 1.1mi out-and-back hiking route near Tofino that takes hikers through the thick coastal forest to arrive at several scenic viewpoints overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The trail leads down to the white sands of South Beach, a secluded oceanside retreat where you can watch large waves crash on the massive rock formations. Certain viewpoints are great for whale-watching and spotting surfers as they ride the waves along Wickaninnish Beach.
To get to the parking area for the South Beach Trail from Tofino, drive southeast on BC-4 for 17.0mi and make a right onto Wick Road. In 1.9mi, turn left on Wickaninnish Road to reach the trailhead.
|When to do|
Out and back
South Beach Trail
South Beach Trail Description
Hiking along the South Beach Trail is a quick but memorable experience near Tofino that will take you to several excellent vantage points where you can admire the rugged and beautiful coastal landscape of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The trail features a series of stairs that descend to the beach, limiting accessibility for hikers with less mobility. Additionally, large waves frequently crash upon the rocks in the area surrounding South Beach, so you should exercise caution when in these areas to avoid getting completely drenched.
This route is considered one of the most scenic hikes in the Tofino area, and for a good reason as there are numerous viewpoints from which hikers can gaze out across the sandy beaches, rocky coastline, and vast, blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Along the trail, you will pass by the interpretive centre with its viewing deck that overlooks Wickaninnish Beach before heading through the forest to pass by the secluded sands of Lismer Beach. Descending along the trail through the woods, hikers will then head to South Beach and its large rock formations that stand resolute in their mission to break every wave that comes crashing in. There is so much to see in this short hike, and it should not be skipped if you find yourself in the Tofino area.
Setting out from the parking lot, follow the trail towards the interpretive centre and gaze out from the viewing deck to spot some surfers riding the waves into Wickaninnish Beach. From here, continue along the paved trail as it leads through the forest to another lookout over the secluded alcove at Lismer Beach. A short distance further and the trail will turn to gravel and approach a totem pole with some more scenic views across the coastal landscape.
Following the winding trail, you will soon reach a wooden boardwalk with a steep incline. This stretch can be a bit slippery, so the boardwalk has been fitted with roofing shingles to help with your footing. Once you reach the top of the hill, you will come to a junction with the Nuu Chah Nulth Trail on your left. Ignore this and continue straight towards South Beach.
Here, the trail will pass through some more trees before descending a series of wooden stairs to access the beach. Once you reach the bottom, you will be greeted by lovely views of the white sandy beach and the large rock formations that give the coastline its rugged but beautiful appearance. Take some time to explore this scenic area and take in the sublime sightline looking out over the Pacific Ocean, but be careful not to get soaked by incoming waves crashing against the rocks. Once you have wrapped up your time at South Beach, head back up the stairs and into the forest to return to the parking area.
Arrive early, as there is limited parking at the trailhead.
Keep an eye out at the water’s edge, as rogue waves have been known to break and thoroughly soak unsuspecting hikers.
Head to the viewing deck next to the interpretive centre for the chance to spot whales and surfers out on the water.
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