West Coast Trail: Planning

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Operating season

Dates Notes


May 1 - Sept 30 Reservable using the Parks Canada Reservation System.
Closure Oct 1 - April 30 The West Coast Trail is closed due to prolonged periods of heavy rain, strong winds, high tides, large waves and short days.


  • Maximum group size is 10.
  • The only exceptions are school groups starting the trail between May 1 and June 14, and September 20 and 26. Up to 18 hikers may be in these school groups.


  • West Coast Trail Overnight Use Permit (per trip, per person): $166.75
  • Reservation Fee (per person): $25.75
  • National Park Entry Fee

Additional ferry fees (if applicable) are collected on behalf of the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations. 

  • Gordon River Ferry: $28.00
  • Nitinaht Ferry: $28.00
  • Water Taxi Fee (Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village) – Nitinaht Narrows, one way): $70.00

Caption text

Example Hiker Fees:

Pachena Bay to Gordon River (Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village) to Gordon River (Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village)to Pachena Bay
Reservation Fee $25.75 $25.75 $25.75
WCT Backcountry Use PERMIT $166.75 $166.75 $166.75
Ferry Fee – Gordon River $28.00 $28.00 -
Ferry Fee – Nitinaht Narrows $28.00 - -
Water Taxi Fee – (Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village) to Nitinaht Narrows (one way) - $70.00 $70.00
National Park Entry Fee;

or Pacific Rim Annual Pass; 
or National Discovery Pass

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National Park Entry Fees
National Park Entry Fees: Adult Senior Family or Group
  $11.00/day $9.50/day $22.00/day

  • All fees are per person, include all taxes, and are listed in Canadian funds.
  • Hikers making a reservation through the Parks Canada Reservation System pay all of the applicable fees at the time of their reservation, except for any (Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village)  Water Taxi fees and National Park Entry Passes. National Park Entry passes can be purchased in person at the WCT Orientation Centres prior to starting your hike.
  • Contact the national park reserve for an up-to-date fee schedule prior to your departure.
  • *Fees are subject to change. 

Access and exit points

  • Pachena Bay (north), Gordon River (south) and (Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village)  (mid-point).
  • Access or exit at any other point is not permitted unless an evacuation is required.
  • There are some basic tourism services at, or near, all access points. These include accommodations, campgrounds, phones, fuel, some groceries, and food services. There is an ATM at Huu-ay-aht First Nation’s Market and Café. There are no banking services in the villages of Bamfield, Port Renfrew,or (Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village).
  • We strongly recommend hikers start the trail a minimum of five hours before sunset to ensure a camping area is reached before nightfall.
  • Hiking from Gordon River to Camper Bay in one day is not advisable. Plan to camp at Thrasher Cove. Statistics show that most accidents occur later in the day in this area. At the end of your hike, register your party off the West Coast Trail. Return one copy of the park permit to a West Coast TrailInformation Centre. Permits can be placed in designated drop box if the centres are closed.
  • Anyone interested in travelling the Nitinaht Triangle or Cape Beale Headlands is required to contact the West Coast Trail Information Centre for information and permits.

Orientation session

All overnight users of the West Coast Trail must participate in an orientation session and pre-hike briefing.

The purpose of the orientation process is to: 

  • Provide information about safety issues to reduce the number of hiker injuries; 
  • Reduce environmental impacts by providing back country etiquette information; 
  • Provide information about current issues and trail conditions; 
  • Provide a brief history of the West Coast Trail and its place in Canada’s history; and 
  • issue park permits and collect fees.

Bring your reservation confirmation information to the pre-hike briefing.

Hikers with reservations will be issued a waterproof Pacific Rim National Park Reserve West Coast Trail Map when they register on the trail. 

Briefings at Gordon River/Pachena Bay
  • WCT briefings are offered at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily between May 1 and September 30 from both WCT Information Centres.
  • Reservations are not necessary for the WCT briefings. 
  • Hikers may register and participate in an orientation session as early as 2:00 pm the day before their hike starts.
Briefings at Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village)
  • Hikers accessing the trail at Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village) will go through the briefing process at the Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village) Visitor Centre in Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village)  .
  • Orientations are offered at 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • An overnight stay at Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village)  may be necessary prior to departing on the 8:15 a.m. water taxi. A water taxi fee of $70.00 will be collected at the (Balaats’adt (Nitinaht Village)  Visitor Centre.

Make a trip plan

NOTE: A park permit does not fulfill this role.

Before you leave for the trail, write a trip plan: leave it with a responsible person (e.g., friend or family member). Detail where you are going, with whom, when you plan to return, and what to do if you do not return as planned.

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