- West Coast Trail Journal
- West Coast Trail – Planning
- West Coast Trail – Packing List
- West Coast Trail Day 1: Pachena Bay to Darling River
- West Coast Trail Day 2: Darling River to Tsusiat Falls
- West Coast Trail Day 3: Tsusiat Falls to Carmanah Creek
- West Coast Trail Day 4: Carmanah Creek to Camper Bay
- West Coast Trail Day 5: Camper Bay to Thrasher Cove
- West Coast Trail Day 6: Thrasher Cove to Gordon River
While planning for the John Muir Trail, I came to realize that it was consistently rated as one of the top hikes in the world. Another hike that appeared a lot of on different lists, sometimes even as #1, was the West Coast Trail. I’ve also have been wanting to ride the Amtrak Coast Starlight train from Los Angeles to Seattle for quite some time. I always enjoyed train rides, and seeing the slow transition between different cities and regions. A couple of years ago I also saw some amazing pictures of Shi Shi Beach (here and here) in the State of Washington and have been wanting ever since to see it in person.
This trip provided a great opportunity to combine everything into one amazing journey.
The plan is to take Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle, rent a car there, drive to Olympic National Park in the coast of Washington, and do the “Ozette Lake to Shi Shi Beach” hike. Drive to Port Angeles, take the ferry to Victoria, BC, Canada. Enjoy the city for a couple of days before starting the West Coast Trail. I would give myself six days to complete the hike, and then fly back from Victoria to LA. It should take a little bit under three weeks to do all this.
The Lake Ozette to Shi Shi Beach is a little bit of a problem because once I finish, I’ll need to find a way to get back to my car at the trailhead. It doesn’t appear to be any public transportation in the area. Maybe I’ll have to hitch a ride, or another option is to hike back to Lake Ozette which should take 1 1/2 days.
There are two ways to reserve a permit: either online on Parks Canada website, or by calling their office between 9am to 5pm. Reservations can be made up 3 months before the start date, starting on the first day of that month. Since I want to start the hike on Thursday August 12, 2010, the earliest I can reserve is June 1, 2010.
Since you can’t call their office until 9am, I stayed up late the night before to see if online reservations would open at midnight. Sure enough, I was able to reserve online and ended up paying CAD 127.50 for the permit plus a CAD 26.67 reservation fee. I’m not sure if I could have saved the reservation fee by waiting until 9am and getting the permit by phone. From what I’ve heard, there’s very high demand for the limited permits (60 total each day, starting from either trailhead) and given that people can reserve online starting at midnight, I didn’t want to run the risk.
I will be starting from Pachena Bay, the northern trailhead.
Ozette Lake to Shi Shi Beach Permit
I called the Olympic Nation Park to get my Wilderness Camping Permit. The first night I’ll be camping at the site north of Ozette River, and the following night at Shi Shi Beach. I want to thank Josh, the ranger I talked to on the phone, who was very courteous and helpful.
What To Bring
My West Coast Trail Packing List is very similar to the John Muir Trail Packing List I used last year. Once again I’ll be wearing the New Balance 875 I took to the JMT.
Part of the West Coast Trail Journal and Pacific Northwest Trip Journal
You have it PERFECT.
No need to have a rent-a-car once you get to Victoria.
You can BUS to the trailhead. There’s public transport back.
Thanks for the tip!
I’m enjoying your blog. February, I took Amtrak from Chicago to Seattle, then rode a bicycle from Olympia, WA, around the Peninsula, and down to San Francisco. About 1500 miles riding, finished April 20th. During that time I backpacked the Olympics, and the Washington Wilderness Coast, from Shi Shi beach to Rialto Beach. One of the most radical solo stretches I’ve ever done, and frequently quite dangerous, especially that time of year. Wish I’d brought someone for that bit.
As mentioned above, there is a public bus that goes from Port Angeles to Neah Bay, seven miles from Shi Shi, for .50c. In fact, a really awesome old local dude gave me a ride for the last seven miles, and insisted on buying me lunch cause he thinks outdoors people are “living it.” The buses in WA are great.
If you haven’t been there, I highly, highly recommend stopping in at Sol Duc. You won’t regret it. My favorite place in the Olympics.
Any questions, hit me up on the blog, or my facebook. Glad to see people getting out there. Thank for the info.
I haven’t finished filling in my trip journal, but some photos are here:
PS: Watch out for ticks, I got Lyme’s but knew the symptoms and got on antibiotics fast, thank God.
Enjoy your trip!!
Michael, thanks a lot for the useful info!
So I understand that you have to make reservations through Parks Canada. Are there any other fees or reservations that must be made in order to hike the West Coast Trail? I have only been doing research for 3 days but I’ve read your blog, which I enjoyed thoroughly, so any help is greatly appreciated!
Hi Vik. Sorry for the late reply. In addition to the permit, I also booked the shuttle bus from Victoria in advance. Once on the trail, the permit also includes the 2 short ferry rides.