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Wild Pacific Trail Lighthouse Loop in Ucluelet

Rugged scenery on the Lighthouse Loop Trail
Rugged scenery on the Lighthouse Loop Trail
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If you’re planning a trip to Tofino, be sure to allow part of a day to visit Ucluelet so you can hike the Wild Pacific Trail Lighthouse Loop section – a stunning 2.6-kilometre section that features spectacular ocean views. The Lighthouse Loop is a great choice if you’re short on time as you can knock it off in as little as 45 – 60 minutes. It’s fun for families – with most of the trail stroller-friendly, especially the paved section from the Coast Guard parking lot to the Amphitrite Lighthouse. (Most of it is wheelchair friendly too.) And if you’ve never spent much time on the coast, you’ll love watching the massive rollers crash into land.

John and I hiked the Wild Pacific Lighthouse Loop Trail in September on a beautiful sunny day. But believe it or not, sunshine doesn’t always offer the best experience. If you time your visit between October and March, you may catch one of the notoriously awful west coast storms – and with that, monster big waves. They are intimidating but so worth seeing.

Be sure to treat the area with the respect it deserves. Stay well back from the water’s edge – as rogue waves have a nasty habit of catching people off guard. Obey all posted signs and use some common sense.

It would be hard to get lost on the Lighthouse Loop Trail
It would be hard to get lost on the Lighthouse Loop Trail

Hiking details of the Wild Pacific Trail Lighthouse Loop

To get to the start of the trail, drive through Ucluelet on Peninsula Road. Turn right on Coast Guard Drive near the end of the peninsula. Park in the obvious Visitor Parking Lot. 

We hiked the trail in a clockwise direction, but it really doesn’t matter what direction you hike it. The trail starts off in the forest on a wide path. In short order you’re on the coast and it stays that way for most of the hike. What I loved about the Lighthouse Loop were the sheer number of viewpoints – and the option to get down to the beach and see the landscape from eye-level. It is also ideal in storm season as you can safely watch the massive waves roll in from numerous vantage points scattered along the trail.

Be sure to check out a couple of beaches on the hike. Perhaps do a bit of poking around, looking at tide pools. Enjoy a picnic lunch but be sure to pack out what you pack in.

Easy walking through the forest on the Wild Pacific Trail Lighthouse Loop
Easy walking through the forest on the Wild Pacific Trail Lighthouse Loop
Views from the Lighthouse Loop Trails
In short order we were enjoying views like this
The Amphitrite Point Lighthouse was built in 1915
This Amphitrite Point Lighthouse was built in 1915
Through the trees on an easy walking trail
Through the trees on an easy walking trail
Watching the waves roll in
Watching the waves roll in
Quite the rugged coastline
Quite the rugged coastline
One of the beaches you can access as you walk the Lighthouse Loop Trail
One of the beaches you can access as you walk the Lighthouse Loop Trail
Signage showing a sense of humour along with a warning
Signage showing a sense of humour along with a warning
You'll find lots of viewpoints along the Wild Pacific Trail
You’ll find lots of viewpoints along the Wild Pacific Trail
Its worthwhile to do the steep set of stairs to this beautiful beach
Its worthwhile to hike down the steep set of stairs to this beautiful beach
Good signage on the trail
Good signage on the trail

The Amphitrite Point Lighthouse

The squat Amphitrite Point Lighthouse, named after Amphitrite, a sea goddess and wife of Poseidon in Greek mythology, is a working one. The first version was built in 1906 – just after the tragic shipwreck of the Pass of Melfort on Christmas Day 1905. Every one of the 36 people on board perished when they ran into a ferocious storm in the Ucluelet area. Two weeks before the shipwreck, a whistling buoy that marked the reef had disappeared because of heavy seas.

This shipwreck was the reason for building a lighthouse to warn of the reefs. The initial lighthouse lasted for eight years – until a tidal wave took it out in 1914. Construction of the new lighthouse started in 1915. Sea captains were requesting an up-to-date lighthouse along with a wireless station and a fog alarm.

The present 1915 lighthouse is 20 feet tall and flashes a white light every 12 seconds. It may not be the most beautiful of lighthouses, but it works and keeps boats safe.

The western shore of Vancouver Island is called The Graveyard of the Pacific
The western shore of Vancouver Island is called The Graveyard of the Pacific
The lighthouse built in 1915 is still standing
The lighthouse built in 1915 is still standing

Walk the Bog Woodland Loop

There is the option to walk the Bog Woodland Loop at the start/end of the Lighthouse Loop Trail. It will only take you 10 minutes at most to walk it – a little more if you read all the interpretive signs. It may not offer all the glorious views of the Lighthouse Loop, but it is surprisingly interesting to walk.

Don't miss the short interpretive walk on the Bog Loop
Don’t miss the short interpretive walk on the Bog Woodland Loop
Take the Bog Challenge and count how many plant
Take the Bog Challenge and count how many plant species you find
The bog Loop might be short but it is educational and interesting
The bog section might be short but it is educational and interesting

Nature videos to inspire

The Wild Pacific Trail Society founded in 1999 has had trail development as its biggest focus for years. But they want to do more by connecting people with nature and as such have trail-based educational programs, lots of interpretive signage (which we found very helpful) and a series of highly informative videos with titles like What’s That Smell? Follow That Slime, For Peat’s Sake and Remarkable Ravens. These are great learning tools for kids who can’t be there in person.

Location map of Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail Lighthouse Loop

                         

Know before you do this hike

This can be a busy hike in which case you’re not likely to run into wildlife – but its always possible. Be aware that black bears, cougars and even wolves can on occasion be seen along the trail.

Always dress appropriately. Even though the trail is short, carry water and an energy bar or two.

On rainy days, you will need full rain gear – tops and bottoms and a hat that will stay on in the wind, if you want to remain dry.

More reading on things to do on the west coast of BC

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

An easy hike on the Wild Pacific Trail Lighthouse Loop in Ucluelet, British Columbia

 

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