Located at the very end of a wild & rugged Vancouver Island peninsula, Tofino, BC is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. This unique location is blessed with a very special ecosystem with massive rainforest trees, moss growing literally everywhere, beautiful beaches and much more. With such a beautiful location, you’ll be happy to know there are an abundance of easy Tofino hikes for you to enjoy!
Within this list of the best easy Tofino hiking trails, there’s a wide variety of terrain, scenery and distances. Given many visitors to Tofino will spend plenty of time in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve as well as Ucluelet, we have included the best easy hikes from these areas as well.
We hope our list of the best easy hikes in Tofino helps you enjoy your time hiking around this special area!
Easy Tofino Hikes
- 10 Best Easy Tofino Hiking Trails
- 1. Rainforest Trail “Figure 8”
- 2. Cathedral Grove Hike
- 3. Wild Pacific Trail to Rocky Bluff
- 4. Wild Pacific Trail to Brown’s Beach
- 5. Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop
- 6. Willowbrea Trail to Florencia Beach and Half Moon Bay
- 7. Half Moon Bay Trail
- 8. Florencia Bay Trail
- 9. Shorepine Bog Trail
- 10. Ancient Cedars Trail
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10 Best Easy Tofino Hiking Trails
1. Rainforest Trail “Figure 8”
If there is a single “must-do” easy Tofino hike, it’s the Rainforest trail. The signature hike of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, the Rainforest hike is a magical hike along elevated boardwalks through an incredibly lush forest.
As you’d guess by the name, the Rainforest trail is actually two separate hiking loop trails, which look like a figure 8 on a Tofino hiking map. Highway 4 runs right through the middle of the two rainforest trail hiking loops, with one loop on either side of the road.
“Trail B” is the rainforest hike which most people will do first, as it begins on the south side of Highway 4 where the Rainforest hike parking lot is. Just over 2 km long, Trail B is twice as long as Trail A.
Trail B has a fascinating history. It was stripped of its vegetation on the 1950’s to install an antenna. Today, over 70 years later, you’ll see the sheer will and power of nature in force as the area is once again filled with massive trees.
This easy Pacific Rim hike begins along a perfectly groomed gravel trail, but soon transitions to an elevated boardwalk. Stop and learn about the flora and fauna of the rainforest with a series of highly informative interpretive signs.
As you walk along the elevated boardwalk of Trail B as it snakes its way through the rainforest, take a moment to compare the size of the trees around you. There are some truly gigantic trees, which must be untouched survivors from the antenna clearcutting.
Also notice how the wooden boardwalk has been ingeniously built to minimize the disturbance to the rainforest. It’s amazing to see how the boardwalks have been built to go up-and-over or around the gigantic nurse logs which provide crucial nourishment to the ecosystem. One of the bridges you cross on this easy Tofino hike is actually a massive fallen tree, which has been sheered to make it flat enough to walk on!
The shorter 1km rainforest “Trail A” is located on the north side of Highway 4. As you’d expect, this hiking loop is also on an elevated boardwalk through a forest of giant Western red cedar, western hemlock and Amabilis fir trees. Despite being largely the same tract of rainforest, it is definitely worth it to do the complete figure 8 circuit of the Rainforest hike.
If you enjoy finding the iconic Parks Canada red Adirondack chairs, you’ll be happy to find a pair next to Sandhill Creek. If you visit Tofino in October or November, you may be lucky enough to spot salmon spawning in the creek below.
As the Rainforest hike resides in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, a park pass is required. A vending machine is in the parking lot for your convenience.
This easy Tofino hike is also along the path of the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee) multi-use trail from Ucluelet to Tofino.
If you are looking for something fun to do on a rainy day in Tofino, the Rainforest trail provides a remarkable amount of protection from the rain. Although you’ll still get wet, you’ll enjoy a much more pleasant experience in the rain while walking the Rainforest trail.
If you are visiting Tofino with kids, the Rainforest is a must do kid-friendly hike.
Quick Stats for the Rainforest Trail Figure 8
Distance: 3.2 km return (including the full distance of Trail A and Trail B)
Elevation Gain: 53 m
Rainforest Hike Trailhead Location
Rainforest Trail Hiking Map
2. Cathedral Grove Hike
Ok, this kid-friendly, easy hike is not actually in Tofino or Ucluelet, but it’s a must-do hike on the way to Tofino. Located in MacMillan Provincial Park on Highway 4 halfway between Parksville and Port Alberni, the Cathedral Grove hike is an incredible experience. There are two easy hikes in the Cathedral Grove area for visitors to enjoy.
The Old Growth Trail is on the northern side of Cathedral Grove. You will notice a change in the air the moment you step on the wide wooden boardwalk on the Old Growth Trail. As you take your first few steps into this enchanting forest of ancient Western red cedar trees, the air immediately cools and feels incredibly fresh and clean.
The size of the Western red cedar trees is truly mind boggling – even small kids will notice there is something special going on in this forest. There is moss growing literally everywhere – along the forest floor and on top of everything else, including tree branches, fallen trees, rocks etc. The effect of all this emerald moss in an ancient forest of cedar trees is simply magical.
The hiking trail on the Old Growth hike is split between wooden boardwalks and highly groomed dirt trails. There’s just something about hiking on wooden boardwalks that kids just love.
There are short spur trails along the north side of Cathedral Grove which allow you to visit the shores of Cameron Lake and the Cameron River.
The second hiking trail in Cathedral Grove is the Living Forest Trail. In contrast to the Old Growth Trail (which has ancient Western red cedar trees), the Living Forest Trail has ancient, and equally massive, Douglas Fir trees.
The Living Forest Trail features some of the oldest trees in Canada, with some Douglas Fir trees exceeding 800 years old! The tallest Douglas Fir in Cathedral Grove has its own large viewing area to make room for all the people wanting a picture with it. To put the size of this giant Douglas Fir in perspective, this ancient tree is over 250 feet tall which is over 65 feet taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
The Douglas Fir trees are not the only giants in Cathedral Grove – the Big Leaf Maple trees are the biggest maple trees in Canada too. If you are lucky enough to visit Cathedral Grove in fall (as we were), the golden maple leaves glowing in the sun are so beautiful beneath the surrounding giant Douglas Firs.
Your kids won’t be able to resist picking up the giant maple leaves!
The Cathedral Grove is a must-do easy hike on the way to Tofino and Ucluelet!
Quick Stats for the Cathedral Grove Hike
Distance: 1.6 km (includes both the Old Growth trail and the Living Forest Trail)
Elevation Gain: 48 m
Cathedral Grove Trailhead Location
Cathedral Grove Hiking Map
3. Wild Pacific Trail to Rocky Bluff
If you are looking for a very scenic easy hike near Ucluelet, we recommend you check out the Wild Pacific Trail. There are actually three sections to the Wild Pacific Trail around Ucluelet, which are all included in our list of the best easy hikes near Tofino.
The Wild Pacific Trail to Rocky Bluff begins approximately 300 m into the Ancient Cedars trail (see #10 below). You’ll know you are at the trailhead when you see a bench and a trail sign at a trail junction.
As you walk the Wild Pacific Trail to Rocky Bluff, you’ll be surrounded by a beautiful, lush forest, with moss growing literally everywhere. But the real reason you will want to hike to Rocky Bluff is the incredible views of the Vancouver Island coastline.
All along the 800 m trail, there are occasional clearings in the trees, offering spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. The Vancouver Island coastline is very rocky here, so the vistas are often dramatic with large waves crashing on the rocks.
Most of the viewpoints on the Wild Pacific Trail have a bench so you can sit and soak in the wild Pacific Ocean scenery that Tofino and Ucluelet are known for. With so many viewpoints along the way, you’d think the views would get repetitive, but every view is unique and so amazing. If you hike the Wild Pacific Trail to Rocky Bluff in the morning, there’s a good chance you’ll be treated to a very atmospheric morning mist over the water.
The bench at the end of the Rocky Bluff trail has 180-degree views with rocky bluffs to the left and right, and the open ocean straight ahead. It’s an incredible view at the end of a short & easy Tofino hike.
The Rocky Bluff leg of the Ucluelet Wild Pacific Trail is highly groomed, crushed gravel and would be suitable for parents wishing to hike with a stroller. The trail has a series of minor undulations, with no real challenging sections.
Quick Stats for the Wild Pacific Trail to Rocky Bluff
Distance: 2.1 km return (including the short section along the Ancient Cedars Trail)
Elevation Gain: 60 m
Wild Pacific Trail to Rocky Bluff Trailhead Location (the same as the Ancient Cedars Trailhead)
Wild Pacific Trail to Rocky Bluff Hiking Map
4. Wild Pacific Trail to Brown’s Beach
As with the Rocky Bluff trail, this leg of the Ucluelet Wild Pacific Trail also begins along the Ancient Cedars trail. The trailhead for this leg of the Wild Pacific Trail is just 100-200 m beyond the trailhead for the Rocky Bluff trail. The trail junction is well marked – you can’t miss it.
Just to make things a little confusing, there are two versions of the Wild Pacific Trail to Brown’s Beach – the “Artist Loop” (which is the most scenic route that hugs the Vancouver Island coastline) or the “Stroller-friendly” loop, which is slightly further inland.
The Artist Loop is by far the most scenic route, but it does have a few stairs, etc. which would be difficult for parents with a stroller, or a mobility challenged walker. If you are physically able, we recommend you hike the Artist Loop.
Hikers will enjoy outstanding views of the rugged Ucluelet coastline virtually the entire way from the Ancient Cedars trail to Brown’s Beach, thanks to low shrubs on the ocean side of the trail. There are a seemingly endless number of lookouts with benches to stop, rest and enjoy the Pacific Ocean views.
We were lucky enough to spot a pair of bald eagles sitting on a large rock just beyond shore. Keep your eyes peeled, as you never know what discoveries you’ll make on this excellent easy hike near Ucluelet. It never hurts to have a pair of small binoculars in your daybag just in case.
Another nature discovery we made on this leg of the Wild Pacific trail, was a fresh pile of bear scat, which was easily identifiable as a large plop of smushed berries sitting in the middle of the trail. This is prime bear country, so please bring bear spray and make lots of noise while hiking.
Quick Stats for the Wild Pacific Trail to Brown’s Beach
Distance: 2.6 km return (not including the short section along the Ancient Cedars Trail)
Elevation Gain: 37 m
Wild Pacific Trail to Brown’s Beach Trailhead Location (the same as the Ancient Cedars Trailhead)
Wild Pacific Trail to Brown’s Beach Hiking Map
5. Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop
Completing the trio of Wild Pacific Trail hikes near Ucluelet is the Lighthouse Loop (my personal favorite of the three).
Even the parking lot at the Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop is interesting as it is one of the high ground meeting points for people to rush to in case of a tsunami alert. There are lots of interesting signs near the meeting point discussing why there is a higher risk of tsunamis in Vancouver Island.
From “The Whale” parking lot, we walked the Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop in a counterclockwise direction. This easy Ucluelet hiking trail is well-groomed with a crushed gravel surface through a young forest.
Approximately 200 m after beginning the Lighthouse Loop, you’ll reach a beautiful, old Shorepine tree which has small and gnarled branches. There’s an interpretive sign in front explaining why so many trees in this area of the Ucluelet forest look like bonsai trees.
This also marks the beginning of a very short (separate) interpretive loop trail through a woodland bog. A much shorter version of the Shorepine Bog trail (see below), this quick walk through a woodland bog is very interesting.
One of the main reasons we found the woodland bog trail exciting was the presence of tiny Round-leaved Sundew plants. These amazing carnivorous plants lure bugs to their sticky tentacles and then trap and eat them.
There’s an estimated 10,000 black bears on Vancouver Island, and one of them was eating berries just off the Lighthouse Loop trail as we were leaving the woodland bog trail. We didn’t see the bear ourselves, but a couple warned us of its presence as we approached. We had our bear spray out and ready to go, but the bear must have retreated into the forest with all the noise our kids were making.
After approximately 1.3 km of hiking the Lighthouse Loop trail, you’ll reach a trail junction for the He-Tin-Kis beach. The steps down to the beach are not very long, but they are quite steep and potentially slippery after a rain.
The He-Tin-Kis beach is a small, pebbly beach with lots of rugged rocks near the shore. This is an excellent beach for nature lovers as there are lots of active tide pools scattered throughout. We saw lots of hermit crabs, many fish and even a beautiful anemone in the tide pools.
When you can pull yourself away from the natural wonders within the He-Tin-Kis tide pools, the Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop becomes incredibly scenic for the next 1.7 km. The Lighthouse Loop follows the coastline along the very southwest corner of the Ucluelet peninsula. There are plenty of park benches and lookouts to stop and soak in the incredible views of the Ucluelet coastline and the scenic islands just offshore.
As powerful as the Pacific Ocean scenery is, the forest competes nicely for your attention as well. There are many sections of forest with ancient, gnarled trees twisted and contorted into highly unusual shapes. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot one of the giant red mushrooms growing in the woods near the lighthouse – don’t touch as they are known to be dangerous!
For many, the star attraction of the Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop will be the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse. The first lighthouse on this spot was built in 1906, in response to the Pass of Melfort shipwreck in 1905. The original wooden lighthouse only lasted 9 years before it was destroyed by storm waves. The Amphitrite Point Lighthouse which stands today was built in 1915 – a much sturdier design, which still stands over 100 years later!
Quick Stats for the Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop
Distance: 3.1 km loop (including the short trail to He-Tin-Kis beach and the woodland bog trail)
Elevation Gain: 68 m
Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop Trailhead Location
Wild Pacific Trail to Rocky Bluff Hiking Map
6. Willowbrea Trail to Florencia Beach and Half Moon Bay
We were pretty excited to see that the Willowbrea Trail was just minutes away from our Ucluelet cabin rental. The Willowbrea Trail is one of the most popular easy hikes near Ucluelet as it takes you to two separate Ucluelet beaches which are unreachable by car.
The Willowbrea Trail has a very small parking lot and the residents along the road are quite militant with their No Parking signs along the road. Get there as early as you can if the weather in Ucluelet is going to be nice. There’s also an outhouse at the trailhead.
The Willowbrea Trail was once an integral part of the old land and sea route connecting Ucluelet and Tofino before the current road was built in 1942. If you or your kids are history buffs with good eyes, you can see old growth tree stumps on which loggers used to stand to fell the giant trees of the area. You can also see evidence of old homestead sites by looking for second growth forest crowded with shrubbery.
Being a former road, the Willowbrea trail is nice and wide, which always makes a family hike so much better as everyone can walk abreast. This easy Ucluelet hiking trail leads hikers through a forest with massive trees, with moss, ferns and mushrooms everywhere. The occasional giant tree still stands, towering above the rest, giving one a flavor for what this forest may have looked like prior to logging.
If you are hiking with kids, watch for the hollow giant trees, which kids love to go inside and poke their heads out. Playing inside the many hollow giant trees is such a fun thing for kids to do around Ucluelet, and there’s no shortage of opportunities!
The Willowbrea trail is reasonably flat for the first 1.4 km, until you reach the wooden boardwalk where the trail splits into two. To the left the hiking trail goes to Half Moon Bay, while continuing straight ahead will take you to Florencia Beach.
Note, that while we feel the trails to Half Moon Bay (#7) and Florencia Beach (#8) can be considered easy Tofino hikes, they do have a lot of stairs, which may be difficult for some. Our 6 and 8-year old kids did the stairs from both of these hikes back-to-back without difficulty.
7. Half Moon Bay Trail
If you are visiting both Ucluelet beaches on your Willowbrea hike, we recommend going to Half Moon Bay first, as it’s smaller and takes less time to explore.
The 0.5 km long wooden boardwalk to Half Moon Bay is a ton of fun for kids of all ages. At first, the elevated wooden boardwalk simply snakes its way up, down and around the massive trees of the surrounding forest, but soon you’ll reach the stairs to the beach.
The final stretch of the Half Moon Bay trail is nearly all downhill to the beach. The trail snakes winds its way down the hill gently, but there are a significant number of stairs. I counted roughly 200 steps, but the kids kept bugging me and I lost count. There’s a couple of benches halfway for hikers who need a break (likely on the way back up).
Half Moon Bay is a beautiful, yet small Ucluelet beach. The beach is surrounded on the backside by a tall, well-forested hill. There’s tons of washed-up logs at the back of the beach providing some atmosphere. The Half Moon Bay beach itself is only 200-300 m long, so it won’t take much time to walk the full length and back.
8. Florencia Bay Trail
By contrast, the hiking trail to Florencia Bay doesn’t wind its way down the hill – it just goes straight down, via a long set of stairs. The stairs follows the path of a rushing stream, which provides a nice soundtrack, complimenting the sound of the Pacific Ocean waves crashing in the distance.
The hiking trail and the stream come out side-by-side at the Florencia Bay beach. This is the first of many little streams crossing the beach – most are easy to cross, but if you are hiking with kids you may want to help them over some of the wider streams or make sure they are wearing waterproof hiking shoes.
The southern end of the Florencia Bay beach is a beautiful, long beach which is excellent for a fun family walk. Given this side of the beach has no vehicle access, it has fewer visitors, which means more treasures (seashells, crab shells, etc.) can be found along the sand. (Being a national park, be sure to leave all the beach treasures you find).
Safety Tip: Be aware of the Tofino tide schedule before walking along Florencia Bay. The tall hill behind the beach is impassable if you get trapped by a rapidly advancing high tide.
Quick Stats for the Willowbrea Trail Circuit
Distance: 3.5km return (including the trails to the Half Moon Bay and to the Florencia Bay. This does not include any distance you may walk on these beautiful Ucluelet beaches)
Elevation Gain: 119m
Willowbrae Hike Trailhead Location
Willowbrae Trail Hiking Map
9. Shorepine Bog Trail
Located in-between Ucluelet and Tofino in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, the Shorepine Bog trail is a super-fun, kid-friendly walk. The entire length of the Shorepine Bog trail runs through a beautiful, very, marshy bog. The bog would otherwise be impossible to explore, but this easy Tofino hike leads hikers through the bog along a raised wooden boardwalk.
The star attraction of the Shorepine Bog trail are the tiny, carnivorous sundew plants. Although we had success finding the sundew plants on the Lighthouse Loop trail, we were unsuccessful in our search on the Shorepine Bog trail. (Likely because the Lighthouse Loop had a sign showing where they were – haha!)
Even without a sundew plant sighting, the Shorepine Bog trail was a beautiful easy Tofino hike and a ton of fun for kids. The marshy grounds are fun for the kids to visually explore to look for slugs, caterpillars, etc., while adults will love the stunted pine trees which grow in this nutrient poor bog. The pine trees look like Canadian bonsai trees!
Are you interested in learning more about carnivorous plants? See these fun facts about Venus flytraps!
10. Ancient Cedars Trail
The Ancient Cedars trail is a very short & easy hike near Ucluelet through a patch of gigantic cedar trees. If you are looking for a very easy hike to see some of the largest cedar trees on Vancouver Island, the Ancient Cedars trail is a great choice.
With a well-groomed, crushed gravel trail surface and very little elevation gain, the Ancient Cedars Trail is a good stroller-friendly hike near Ucluelet. This is also a great choice for hikers who may be mobility challenged.
If you’d like to extend your hike further, the Ancient Cedars trail meets up with the Wild Pacific Trail, with options to go north to the Rocky Bluffs or south to Brown Beach. If you choose to hike all three trails back-to-back, the total distance is nearly 9km. We highly recommend doing all three hikes together for some incredible Pacific Ocean scenery.
The Ucluelet Inlet is very close to the Ancient Cedars trailhead, so take a moment when you get out of your car to see if you can hear the seals barking (as we did).
If you plan on doing a lot of hiking in Tofino with your kids, take a moment to check out our Tips for Hiking with Kids and the Best Hiking Gear for Kids. The miles will go faster and you’ll all have more fun with these hiking songs for kids.
We hope you enjoy these easy Tofino hikes!
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