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Five Days Hiking in the Clayoquot Sound

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Five Days Hiking in Clayoquot Sound Itinerary Map

 

Day One of Five Days Hiking in Clayoquot Sound - Kennedy Lake

Kennedy Lake, the largest lake on Vancouver Island is enormous and surrounded by a fantastic tangle of rainforest.  One positive legacy of the forestry that existed here is the spider web of logging roads and bridges that allow for access to the otherwise inaccessible parts of this wonderful lake.  There are several access points to the lake, but 13k from the highway, at the enormous and disintegrating Kennedy Lake bridge is the most beautiful.  A great way to escape the crowds in Tofino and Ucluelet over 45 minutes away.

At this dead end in the logging road (as the bridge is barricaded by boulders as it's unsafe to drive on), there is a fantastic array of outdoor recreation possibilities.  First off the Kennedy Lake bridge is the gateway to the amazing Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park.  You can launch your boats here, park and/or camp to begin your paddling journey into this 12k paddling route into the wilderness of Clayoquot Sound.

Another canoeing/kayaking option is Kennedy Lake.  Leaving from the same boat launch area at the Kennedy Lake bridge you can paddle in the opposite direction to Clayoquot Arm.  That is paddling into the massive Kennedy Lake.  Within five minutes you are in a serene wilderness setting with frequent small, sandy pocket beaches very suitable for a tent and campfire.  Though the shore looks impenetrably thick with greenery most of the time, in fact there are gaps everywhere and natural clearings all along the shore that you can hike through for hours.  Plenty of driftwood from this massive lake litter the shoreline everywhere you go as well making an interesting hike.

Another great reason why this area is amazing is the wonderful, sandy beach that stretches for quite a distance.  The sandy beach next to the Kennedy Lake bridge is called Redneck Beach.  That name derived from the often large gatherings that take place at this convenient, yet far from civilization beach.  You can actually drive along the beach to where you want to camp despite the sand.  There is room for over a dozen vehicles before this large campsite starts to look busy, it's that big.

This is an unmaintained, backcountry camping area and therefore free to use, but also has to facilities other than a couple pit toilets.  Excellent fresh drinking water exists in Kennedy Lake.

We Deliver to Rubble Creek

 

Day Two of Five Days Hiking in Clayoquot Sound - Rainbow Beach

Further along this beach through a large tree forest brings you to Rainbow Beach.  There is a large and well designed boardwalk that winds through the old growth forest here that makes Cathedral Grove look trifling by comparison.  The proper access to Rainbow Beach is not really from walking along the beach from Redneck Rainbow Beach at Kennedy LakeBeach, but from its own trailhead.  About 500 metres back from the Kennedy Lake bridge you will have passed a clearing on your left with an outhouse.  If you park here and look in the opposite direction to the outhouse you will see a small trail and beautiful boardwalk.  This boardwalk follows an impressive circle route through the forest and links up with Rainbow Beach.

Rainbow Beach is a sharp contrast to Redneck Beach in that it is a series of smaller beaches separated by lots of trees and rock outcroppings.  Instead of pushing people together as does Redneck Beach, Rainbow Beach has several separate camping areas stretching out over several hundred metres.  Very beautiful beaches and the positive and negative aspect of not having vehicle access.  You have to hike the 600 metres.  About the only drawback to this beautiful beach is the lack of firewood.  Redneck Beach has driftwood everywhere but the more sheltered Rainbow Beach does not.  So if you want a fire keep that in mind and try to bring some with you.

This is another unmaintained backcountry camping area with not facilities other than the pit toilet near the small parking area.  Drinking water can be obtained from Kennedy Lake.

Aerial Views of Whistler & Garibaldi Park

 

Five Days Hiking in Clayoquot Sound Day 3 - Virgin Falls

At 53 metres, Virgin Falls is quite an impressive sight.  You walk through the short, two minute forest trail to reach it and it fills your view.  It is located in a beautiful oasis it has created.  A large, ice cold and crystal clear pool with pebble rocks and waterfall battered logs that flows out in a large, meandering stream through the trees.  The whole area is surrounded by huge trees and you feel a strange sense of comfort, like you are in protected place.  And when you roll out your sleeping bag in the spectacular setting, you will never want to leave.

The small, but very inviting camping area is amazing.  Huge trees to your back, phenomenal waterfall to your front.  Room for two tents near the cozy and clean fire pit.  Endless firewood litters the edge of the waterfalls pool beautifully.  Though the loud waterfall makes conversation a bit tough.  The wonderful area where the fire is is somewhat sheltered by a couple large trees deflecting some sound and making the camping area all the better.

The Virgin Falls Road is pretty bad, though very beautiful.  It is hardly maintained, though still used logging road that hugs the coast much of its 31k length from the Kennedy River bridge turnoff.  The potholes are numerous, though expected.  What isn't expected is the narrow, overgrown sections.

If you value your vehicles paint, you will find yourself gritting your teeth quite a bit.  But then if you have a 4x4, you should likely be used to that and be fine barrelling through these narrow sections.  If you are planning on driving up without a 4x4 you should be able to make it, though there are a couple of steep sections that you may have to make a couple runs at to get up.

Best Whistler Hiking Trails by Month

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Blackcomb Aerial Views