Hiking on Vancouver Island

Every season on Vancouver Island gives you chances to pack your backpack and start an adventure. Discover them all while hiking through real nature with fantastic scenery. Vancouver Island offers hundreds of hiking trails with various elevations and lengths in alpine areas, mountains, the coastline, glaciers, and many other natural attractions.
The hiking opportunities on Vancouver Island range from hours to multi-day hikes. Hiking trails come in various difficulty levels, from easy, moderate, to hard. Whether a beginner or professional, you can customize a hiking trip according to your expectations. If you are planning a hiking trip with your family, several options make your hiking adventure on Vancouver Island memorable. The trails may be dog-friendly, kid-friendly, wheelchair and stroller-friendly, also including facilities and camping areas.
Some parks like Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Strathcona Provincial Park, East Sooke Regional Park, and Goldstream Provincial Park are great locations to explore on foot. Among the best hikes on Vancouver Island are Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, West Coast Trail, Cathedral Grove, East Sooke Coast Trail, and Wild Pacific Trail.
Most hiking trails in coastal areas lead to beaches, but generally, hiking on Vancouver Island can suit anyone's taste by featuring beaches, rivers, lakes, forests, caves, the ocean, parks, waterfalls, hot springs, and bridges. A hiking path on Vancouver Island may also be suitable for running, cycling, bird watching and wildlife viewing.

Different Types of Hiking on Vancouver Island

  • Day hiking
  • Summit hiking
  • Long-distance hiking

Different Types of Trail Routes on Vancouver Island

  • Out and back
  • Loop
  • Point to point
Hiking on the Grass Lake Trail

Hiking on the Grass Lake Trail

Wear decent hiking boots for a moderate hiking trail near Sooke. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is an enjoyable trail that leads you to Grass Lake and featuring Monument Mountain makes it possible to have amazing views from the top. Doing the Grass Lake Trail overnight and camping by the lake turns it into a memorable trip. Enjoy the trail in warmer seasons and get a dip into the lake.

Hiking on Mount Manuel Quimper

Hiking on Mount Manuel Quimper

It is time to put your heart into hiking and step into a moderate multi-use trail with some great views along the way and on top. Mount Manuel Quimper has a beautiful summit worth the climb, which gives you excellent vistas of Sooke Harbour and a chance to visit one of the last fire lookouts left on the island.

Hiking on Mount Empress from Sooke Potholes via Mary Vine and Todd Creek Trails

Hiking on Mount Empress from Sooke Potholes via Mary Vine and Todd Creek Trails

Here is a highly recommended and well-marked trail for challenges enthusiasts. Hiking on Mount Empress from Sooke Potholes via Mary Vine and Todd Creek Trails offers you insane 360° views of the Sooke Basin, Victoria, and San Juan Islands.

Hiking on the East Sooke Coast Trail

Hiking on the East Sooke Coast Trail

Hiking on the entire East Sooke Coastal Trail is an experience not to be missed! This beautiful trail is a mix of the fantastic coast and beautiful greenery. Hiking boots are required! The route takes you along bluffs and cliffs by the Pacific Ocean that worth it for the views. This well-marked trail can take full-day hiking in East Sooke Regional Park.

Hiking on the East Sooke Coast and Interior Trail Loop

Hiking on the East Sooke Coast and Interior Trail Loop

The East Sooke Coast and Interior Trail Loop is a well-marked trail with beautiful scenery. It is a combination of an easy access road and a more challenging coastal pass, which offers you incredible viewpoints. This excellent trail is along the Pacific Ocean and allows you to see marine life such as whales from a distance.

Hiking on Bowen Park Loop

Hiking on Bowen Park Loop

Hiking on Bowen Park Loop is a lovely urban walk along a river with stunningly beautiful nature that promotes a rich forest, a waterfall, and a scenic pond. This easy hiking trail is so well maintained with lots of facilities. Spend hours hiking on this loop as part of the Trans Canada Trail and have a memorable day in the park, great for different kinds of activities.

Hiking on Westwood Lake Trail

Hiking on Westwood Lake Trail

Westwood Lake Trail is not super challenging, but it is a lovely well maintained and well-marked hiking trail around Westwood Lake with beautiful viewpoints and greenery. The forest and lake are full-on herons, eagles and deer with lots of opportunities to have a great time, so bringing your family with you is a decision you will not regret!

Hiking on Cable Bay Nature Trail

Hiking on Cable Bay Nature Trail

Don't hike alone! It is an excellent hike for the whole family and pets. Cable Bay Nature Trail is scenic, easy, clean, and wide enough as a family trail. Not only your family but your pet can accompany you. Get the most out of incredible viewpoints. Hike through the forest near the coast and find a nice rock to take a break, grab a snack, and watch the marine wildlife.

Hiking on the Mount Benson Loop

Hiking on the Mount Benson Loop

Wear your hiking boots! It is going to be a challenging hike that may take about 4 to 5 hours. The lovely amount of elevation with fantastic views is what you can get hiking on the Mount Benson Loop near Nanaimo. As it is located in a reach environment, take lots of breaks to enjoy the area and get enough energy. If you are not ready for wet terrains, try it on a dry and cool day. You would be satisfied as an experienced hiker.

Hiking on the Nanaimo River Trail

Hiking on the Nanaimo River Trail

About 10 kilometres away from downtown Nanaimo, find yourself on an easy and well-marked hiking trail along the Nanaimo River with a smile on your face! It is a great short walk that impresses you differently at each section. Take your dog with you and get it some exercises too, as it is dog off-leash-friendly. You can find such energy there in the area with the Douglas fir plantation.

The Hike to Trent Falls

The Hike to Trent Falls

A relatively short and easy trail in the Comox Valley area is the hike to Trent Falls. Stay on track because its wild nature has much to offer. Hiking along the Trent River with its perfect swimming and fishing opportunities and watching the waterfall with a deep pool under and the wildlife around it brings you joy, especially if you are with the family.

Hiking on the Rosewall Creek Trail

Hiking on the Rosewall Creek Trail

Hiking on the Rosewall Creek Trail is a rewarding experience that you reach a beautiful waterfall at the end after an easy hike that may consist of challenges. Enjoy the beauties of the park while passing the lovely well-marked trail with facilities, along the creek and through lush bits of the rainforest.

The Hike to Century Sam Lake

The Hike to Century Sam Lake

The Hike to Century Sam Lake is highly recommended for experienced hikers. You will have everything to make a good adventure! Hiking in a wilderness area with stunning mountain views and a unique landscape would make a perfect day. Beautiful lake, cool caves, stunning nature and wildlife viewing, and forest walk make your experience very rewarding!

Lake Helen Mackenzie and Battleship Lake Loop Hike

Lake Helen Mackenzie and Battleship Lake Loop Hike

Experienced and beginner hikers will be surprised hiking Lake Helen Mackenzie and Battleship Lake Loop with its stunning atmosphere in an alpine area and fantastic scenery. This trail includes well-kept facilities and a campground that make it suitable for all family members. Have a nice day-hike not to miss the attractions to see.

Hiking on the Courtenay Riverway Heritage Walk

Hiking on the Courtenay Riverway Heritage Walk

The Courtenay Riverway Heritage Walk makes it possible for you to hike in a paved path where nature is around you. It is easy to find wildlife for photography while hiking. Take your dog with you and choose between hiking, walking, running, and biking. As the trail is suitable for all ages and is close to Courtenay, it is one of the popular hiking trails in the area that gets crowded on sunny days.

Hiking on the Mount Menzies Access Road

Hiking on the Mount Menzies Access Road

Hiking on the Mount Menzies Access Road through a logging road and having a forest walk is a challenge you can take near the Campbell River. The trail and the view from the lookout are incredible in colours. Get away from the humans by going on a beautiful trail which is nice and quiet!

Hiking on the Riley Lake to Lookout Loop to Lost Frog

Hiking on the Riley Lake to Lookout Loop to Lost Frog

In an area with several hiking options having the experience of hiking a relatively long trail would be great as it is rich in natural beauties. Besides hikers, Riley Lake to Lookout Loop to Lost Frog is proper for mountain bikers and nature trip lovers. Just find yourself northwest of Campbell River and get the most out of your backpacking trip.

Hiking on the Beaver Pond Elk Falls Circular Route

Hiking on the Beaver Pond Elk Falls Circular Route

With access to the Campbell River and the Quinsam River at the Elk Falls Provincial Park, hiking on the Beaver Ponds Elk Falls Circular Route makes you a fantastic day. The great scenery within the protected area and lots of activities with waterfalls, a park, rivers, a lake, and a campground have exceeded all expectations for nature lovers and hikers.

Hiking on the Quinsam River Hatchery Trail

Hiking on the Quinsam River Hatchery Trail

Have a nice easy hike in the forest with lots of river access points while you have chances for watching wildlife in Quinsam River Hatchery Trail. It is known as one of the most spectacular hiking trails in the area of Campbell River city. Fishing, nature trips, walking, and bird watching are other options for hiking along the river.

Hiking on the Elk Falls via Millenium Trail

Hiking on the Elk Falls via Millenium Trail

The Elk Falls via Millenium Trail is a family-friendly loop. This excellent hike with spectacular views includes waterfalls, Suspension Bridge, sitting areas and the Campbell River. Hiking this trail certainly tests your nerves. It is well maintained with several facilities. Get in touch with beautiful scenery along the river, and enjoy the stunning park with all family members while you are just a few kilometres away from downtown.

Hiking on Elk Falls Viewing Platform Trail

Hiking on Elk Falls Viewing Platform Trail

With a five-kilometre distance from the city, hiking on the Elk Falls Viewing Platform is an opportunity. It is among several hiking trails you can follow and explore in Elk Falls Provincial Park. This easy trail forest walk is age-friendly and features a waterfall and Suspension Bridge with a great view from the point.

Hiking on the Campbell River Canyon View Trail

Hiking on the Campbell River Canyon View Trail

Just outside Campbell River, step into an exciting hiking trail in the middle of a provincial park. It is where the stunning view of Douglas-fir forests comes with a wide variety of wildlife to watch. Find your way alongside the river in a loop which in some parts would be a challenge. It would be great if you plan to be there in the afternoon with a view of the sun when you cross the river.

Hiking Common Questions and Answers

Hiking is a long-distance walk, which you can do on trails in the countryside or a specific area in nature. This outdoor activity is a challenge that may take hours or days.
There are three types of hiking you can experience on Vancouver Island; day hiking, summit hiking, and long-distance hiking.
There are hundreds of trails on Vancouver Island, and most of them are suitable for hiking.
There are some trails less than one kilometre for those who prefer short and easy hiking trails on Vancouver Island. Radar Hill, Walk In The Forest Trail, Ancient Cedars Loop, Big Beach Trail, and Shorepine Bog Trail are among them.
Vancouver Island Trail, or Vancouver Island Spine Trail, with almost 800 kilometres in length, is the longest trail on Vancouver Island.
Marble Mountain and West Coast Trail are two of the best hiking trails on Vancouver Island with a hard difficulty level. Galloping Goose Regional Trail and Upper Thetis Lake, Bellamy, and Seaborn Trail Loop are popular moderate-level hiking trails. Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop and Westwood Lake Trail are two of the best trails on Vancouver Island that are easy to hike.
Golden Hinde via Western Mine Road is a difficult hiking trail on Vancouver Island. It is 50.5 kilometres (31.3 miles) in length and has an elevation gain of 3,848 m (12624.6 ft).
If you are a beginner hiker, a hike suitable for you is a well-marked trail that is not so challenging. The terrain you choose shouldn't need lots of navigation skills and a lot of hiking equipment. As for now, you don't have all the necessary hiking skills, that would be best to find experienced hikers.
Yes. Vancouver Island Trail stretches from the north to the south of the island. The starting point and the ending point are Anderson Hill and Cape Scott Provincial Park.
Vancouver Island has about 3400 km (2112.5 miles) of coastline.
It depends on your ability, climate changes, and the terrain you choose and its wildlife. If you are interested in solo hiking, try marked trails suitable for your skill level. It is a must to learn hiking safety tips. Always inform others about your plan. Using navigation tools like GPS would be helpful. Get enough information about the elevation and the area you choose to hike.
Rainy or cold weather layers, T-shirt (long-sleeve shirt for sun and bugs), quick-drying pants and shorts, boots or hiking shoes, socks, extra clothes, gloves, warm hat
Backpack, proper clothing and extra clothes, food and snacks, water, sunscreen and sunglass, first-aid kit, navigation tools, knife or multi-tool, lamp and extra batteries

Share Your Experience about Hiking on Vancouver Island