Beaches and Glaciers on Vancouver IslandAn overnight kayak trip, marine wildlife, camping by the beach, hiking in the Forbidden Plateau - adventure vacation of contrasts on this beautiful island.
Tour V7, 7 daysVancouver Island, off Canada's western coast, offers incredible choices of day hikes and adventures. Among the rewards awaiting hikers are ancient rain forests, wildflower meadows, blue alpine lakes, glaciers & cascading waterfalls. During this guided outdoor adventure trails range from easy walks on the beach to demanding full-day alpine treks. Another highlight is a kayak excursion to Vargas Island with a night of wilderness camping on the beach. You have the benefit of hiking with an expert who knows the terrain in all kinds of weather & trail conditions and has information on the local history, flora and fauna. Camping under giant cedars, the sound of the waves, a crackling camp fire - Life is good.
What's Included:Ferries as mentioned, spacious tents (2 pers./ tent), welcome gift, all meals from dinner day 1 to lunch day 7, cooking- and eating utensils, camping gear (except sleeping bag), hard-foam mattress, 2 days with ocean kayaks and guide, camping and parks fees, services of a guide who accompanies the group on all hikes.
Not included:Personal equipment, light day pack, sleeping bag.
Extrashotel near the Vancouver airport $115.00/night
2-3 hours whale watching tour $115.00
2-3 hours bear watching tour $115.00
6-7 hours hot springs tour $150.00
Demands:Adventure vacation with camping, moderate hikes and walks with light day pack.
Meeting time: 8:00 am at our Vancouver airport hotel, or at 2:00 pm in downtown Victoria.
Tour DetailsDay 1: VANCOUVER ISLAND / SOOKE, BC
This morning you meet your guide at a hotel near the Vancouver airport, or early afternoon in downtown Victoria. You board the mini bus for the drive to the ferry terminal and the 90 minute crossing to Vancouver Island. In Victoria a stroll by the lively and picturesque Inner Harbour, lunch on own. Now it is off to your first campground under giant cedar trees. Here you have a choice of easy to demanding hikes or pick nicks by the beach. Suggested is a loop following the trail high above the weather blasted rocky cliffs, small bays and deep fjords and every few minutes another startlingly desolate ocean vantage point. You have good chances to see whales. Sea lions and eagles. Then the trail winds up into the forested hills and back to the starting point. Dinner by the campfire and hopefully another spectacular sunset. Hiking time 2 – 3 hours.
Day 2: SOOKE
The guide suggest a side trip to another nature preserve. For thousands of years the crashing waters of the Sooke River have carved deep pools and caves out of the rock. Nothing, not even the river runs anything close to straight. So many amazing vantage points and so many unbelievable swimming spots. Here is also the trail head for a somewhat demanding hike (13 km with 420 m gain, 8 mi, 1378 ft) to two remote mountain lakes.
Hiking time 3 – 4 hours.
Day 3: PARKSVILLE
A stop and descend to Botanical Beach, the most unique and richest tidal area for plant and animal life along Canada’s west coast. The shore is guarded by fantastic geological formations of shale and quartz. Lunch break during the drive to the eastern side of Vancouver Island is by a beautiful lake. The campground (showers) features majestic old growth forest of Douglas firs and a wide sandy beach near the city of Parksville. Hiking time 2 to 4 hours.
Day 4: PARKSVILLE / STRATHCONA PARK
Some of the best wilderness hiking on Vancouver Island is among the glaciated peaks of the Central Island. Strathcona Park was created in 1911 for those who seek adventure in remote alpine surroundings. You can reach the “Forbidden Plateau” via several routes. A 15 km (9.3 mi) loop trail near Mt. Washington starts already at the 1100 m (3665 ft) level and offers panoramic views over southern British Columbia. Hiking time 5 hours.
Day 5: TOFINO / VARGAS ISLAND
For your next adventure you explore the quiet inlet waters and ancient coastal rain forest of Clayoquot Sound in 2-person ocean kayaks. No previous kayaking experience is necessary. Route planning is chosen with both the novice and advanced paddlers in mind and with 1 kayak guide for every 6 participants. Starting in Tofino early afternoon you make your way to the shores of Meares Island for a break to go on a short hike under the giant cedars while the guide introduces you to the natural and cultural history of the island. Then you paddle across an inlet and past a Native village and by late afternoon arrive at your overnight camp on Vargas Island. A zodiac delivers your equipment and camping gear and takes the kayak guide back to Tofino. Your tour guide stays with your group to set up the overnight camp on one of the beautiful wild beaches. (Instead of paddling you can take the zodiac to get to the island).
Day 6: TOFINO / UCLUELET
The kayak guide returns this morning to paddle with you a different route past Stubbs Island back to Tofino. Planned for the afternoon is a side trip to Pacific Rim National Park where you hike mysterious trails with boardwalks and stairs in a fairy tale forest of ferns, lichens, mosses and thousand year old trees. There is more: boutiques and small stores in the charming villages of Ucluelet and Tofino offer crafts and souvenirs made by local artists. You also can join optional whale and bear watching excursions and even surfing lessons. Campground in Ucluelet (showers). Hiking time 1.5 to 4 hours.
On the return trip you pass through Cathedral Grove with some over 800 year old cedars and Douglas fir trees, one of them is 9 meters (29.5') in diameter. You walk on a network of short rainforest wilderness trails which weave amongst moss and fern blanketed fallen trees. Now via the coastal highway to VICTORIA and VANCOUVER. Arrival at the Vancouver airport hotel late afternoon.