Nowhere else on earth has the meeting of land and sea created the magnificent beauty of Canada’s Pacific Coast. The magnificent Pacific Rim National Park is the only national park entirely on Vancouver Island, providing protection for substantial rain forests and an amazing marine environment on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The full force of the mighty Pacific Ocean mercilessly pounds the constantly changing shores of this rugged coastline.
The territory now known as the Pacific Rim National Park has a significant history, having been inhabited by the Nuu-chah-nulth people for thousands of years. Features of the park include long sandy beaches, an island archipelago, old-growth coastal temperate rainforest, and significant Nuu-chah-nulth archaeological sites. A rich natural heritage evolved as Vancouver Island became isolated from the mainland, retaining a great diversity of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish species.
The unique Pacific Rim National Park encompasses a total area of 49,962 hectares of land and ocean in three separate geographic units:
There are two main towns in the Pacific Rim region:
Tofino is a pretty fishing village at the tip of Esowista Peninsula near the entrance to Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Tofino is a rapidly growing tourist centre for Long Beach and other Pacific Rim destinations. Once a timber and fishing town, Tofino has become a favoured destination for travellers from around the world.
An ancient settlement on the northern edge of Barkley Sound, Ucluelet is now a logging, fishing and tourist village at the south end of Pacific Rim National Park. Ucluelet is a base for commercial and sport fishing, as well as wildlife and whale watching excursions. Like its neighbour Tofino, Ucluelet has made a very successful transition from a resource-based economy to a tourism-based economy.
The following communities and areas are located in or near the magical stretch of coastline (80 miles / 140 km) that is the Pacific Rim (West Coast) region of Vancouver Island.
- Alberni Inlet
- Alberni Valley
- Barkley Sound
- Bedwell River Valley
- Clayoquot Sound
- Pacific Rim Highway 4
- Port Alberni
- Quait Bay
- Sproat Lake
Location: The Pacific Rim region is located on the wild southwest coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Access to the Pacific Rim is on paved Highway 4, which heads west from Parksville, travelling through Port Alberni and passed Sproat Lake.
The estimated travel time to the Tofino-Ucluelet junction at the end of Highway 4 from Victoria is 5 hours, Nanaimo 3 hours, Parksville 2-1/2 hours, and from Port Alberni 1-1/2 hours.
View map of the area
The weather in the Pacific Rim area has a profound effect on any planned activities, as precipitation along the west coast of Vancouver Island is amongst the heaviest in the world. Match the season with your desired activity, and come prepared for rain, awe-inspiring winter storms and glorious sunshine! Visit the Park Information Centre for information on all Visitor Services.
Outdoor Recreation: Opportunities for recreation in Pacific Rim National Park are numerous. Information on Camping, Canoeing & Kayaking, Cycling, Diving, Fishing, Hiking, Surfing, and Whale Watching is available on the Pacific Rim National Park page, along with information on the rain forest, marine environment, rugged shoreline, the weather, the history and natural heritage of the Pacific Rim, and wildlife in the park (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish species).
Golf: The Hollies Executive Golf Course in Port Alberni is surrounded by the Beaufort Range and breathtaking views of Mount Arrowsmith. The 9-hole par 30 public course offers a fully stocked pro-shop, club rentals, snack shop and licensed lounge. Located 2 km past the Visitor Centre on Highway 4 entering Port Alberni. Open daily from dawn till dusk, with no tee times required. The Long Beach Golf Course, on the Pacific Rim Highway between Ucluelet and Tofino, is surrounded by the ancient rainforest of the Pacific Rim National Park, one of the most scenic golf courses in BC. The 9-hole championship course is also known to be one of the most challenging courses on Vancouver Island. Golf Vacations on Vancouver Island.
Ancient Cedars SpaAncient Cedars Spa
Extremely beautiful in its setting between the wild Pacific Ocean and old-growth forest, Ancient Cedars Spa, an award-winning destination spa, enhances the magical guest experience at this resort haven, known as a retreat for nature’s “dramas” and epicurean excellence. Ancient Cedars Spa looks out onto the open Pacific Ocean at the enchanting Wickaninnish Inn on Chesterman Beach in Tofino.