Marine trail a real workout for hikers

The trail offers a challenge, no matter which direction you take, or how you choose to travel

Boardwalk on a moderate section of the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail on Vancouver Island’s west coast.

There are two ways to enjoy Vancouver Island’s rugged coast — take your time and take in the spectacular views along the way, or put one foot in front of the other and use a multi-day hike as a great workout.

I took the latter route during a three-day trip on the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail from Port Renfrew to the China Beach Provincial Park. It’s a 46-kilometer route (sometimes called the light version of the West Coast Trail) that’s open year-round for hiking, day trips and camping in the wild. My goal was to complete the hike in three days at most, trying to balance good, physical exertion with taking in the beauty of the coast.

There were plenty of other people along the trail — some out to do it faster than me and others ready to use up a few more days to take  the route at a more leisurely pace. The trail offers a challenge, no matter which direction you take, or how you choose to travel.

Moderate, easy and difficult sections of the  Juan De Fuca Marine Trail can be accessed at either end and in a couple of places in between. While that means the trail may not be as ‘wild’ as some might like, it gives people with time or physical restraints the chance to enjoy some or all of the route.

If you do plan to do the entire length of the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail, there are a few things to know:

• the tides. Bring a tide table with you or memorize them. There are places where high tide means you might not be able to continue and will have to wait to proceed.

• bring water. Or bring a camp stove or purification filters or tablets to treat creek water should you run out.

• be prepared for wildlife. On my trip, there was plenty of bear scat (luckily, no bears) and cougar tracks.

• be fit. Or at least know your limitations. This trail may be considered a light version of the West Coast Trail but it does offer up some challenges in the form of many, many creek valleys where the trail drops and rises.

For details, visit


Just Posted

A banana peel worthy of Burning Man

North Saanich artist builds a light-up, laughing sculpture for 70,000 festival-goers

READERS’ CHOICE: Saluting the stars of the Saanich Peninsula

Welcome to the Peninsula News Review’s 13th annual Readers’ Choice Awards, our… Continue reading

The 2018 Summer Sounds Series in Sidney sure to delight

It’s a free musical event that runs all summer long

BCAM slated to get one of last remaining Lancaster bombers

Approval seems certain despite emotional Torontonian appeals

Saanich Peninsula athletes earn their place at B.C. Games

The Saanich Peninsula will be well-represented next week as the 40th annual… Continue reading

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

200 firefighters and 18 helicopters were working to increase the containment of the fires

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

Brush fire breaks out west of Port Alberni

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 heading to Ucluelet and Tofino

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

Most Read