The Sunshine Coast Trail is a hiking trail on the Malaspina Peninsula of the Upper Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. The 180-kilometre (109-mile) trail runs from Saltery Bay in the south to Sarah Point in world-famous Desolation Sound on the northern end of the Sunshine Coast.
The Sunshine Coast Trail traverses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal shorelines, along creeks and lakes, through old-growth forests, and out ontoo panoramic mountaintops. It provides hikers with the opportunity to experience Powell River’s breathtaking backcountry, with its rich fauna and flora, and to enjoy great ocean views, freshwater swimming and good fishing for dinner.
In 1992 a small group of people founded the Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society (PRPAWS) and started building trails that linked the remaining stands of old growth forests of the region. Attracting visitors from around the world, this epic trail now boasts ten huts, making it the only free hut-to-hut hiking experience in Canada.
Sections of the trail can be hiked in one or two days, but set aside 7 to 10 days to hike the full trail from Sarah Point to Saltery Bay. The southern end of the trail is the more difficult, with the highest point on the trail, Mount Troutbridge (4,260 feet / 1,299 metres), located only a few kilometres from the end of the trail at Saltery Bay.
The Sunshine Coast Trail rivals the 77-km West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, offering panoramic views and wilderness campsites, while also providing access to developed campgrounds, both oceanside and lakeside, and two Bed & Breakfasts for those who wish to spoil themselves after trekking through the forest.
A unique feature of the Sunshine Coast Trail is the many user-maintained huts provided for hikers, making the trail one of the only trails in Canada where it is possible to hike without carrying a tent. Consructed in fabulous locations, the huts are for shared public use, so you may be sharing with other hikers. Please respect these huts, as a lot of care and effort has been spent in planning and building them, and we hope they will be around for many years, for many, many hikers to enjoy. Kilometre markers commence at the northern end of the trail.
- Manzanita Hut at kilometre 16 sleeps 8 in a partially-open shelter, with outhouses, picnic tables, a fire pit, and sleeping loft.
- Rieveley’s Pond Hut at kilometre 33 sleeps 8 in an open shelter, with outhouses, picnic table, a fire pit, and sleeping loft.
- Confederation Lake Hut at kilometre 74 sleeps 6 in a small hand-crafted cedar log cabin, with outhouse, picnic table, and fire pit – maintained by BC Parks.
- Fiddlehead Landing Hut at kilometre 81 sleeps 6 in an open shelter with sleeping loft, outhouse, picnic tables, fire pit, and swimming dock.
- Tin Hat Hut at kilometre 90 sleeps 8 in a fully insulated cabin, with outhouse, picnic tables, fire pit, and sleeping loft.
- Elk Lake Hut at kilometre 110 sleeps 8 in a partially-open shelter, with outhouse, picnic tables, fire pit, sleeping loft, and swimming dock.
- Walt Hill Hut at kilometre 122 sleeps 8 in a fully-enclosed cabin, with an outhouse and picnic tables.
- Troubridge Hut at kilometre 158 sleeps 8 in a fully-winterized cabin with outhouse, picnic tables, fire pit, and swimming dock.
- Rainy Day Lake Hut at kilometre 169 sleeps 8 in an open shelter with outhouse, picnic tables, fire pit, sleeping loft, and swimming docks.
- Fairview Bay Hut at kilometre 173 sleeps 8 in an open shelter with outhouse, picnic tables, fire pit, sleeping loft, and a beach.
For those who prefer to carry their own tents and camp in recreation sites, there are a few campsites along the trail. Starting in the north, Appleton Creek Recreation Site is a hike-in campsite on the shores of Appleton Creek, in a stand of large old-growth Douglas Fir. Facilities at Appleton Creek include tables and toilets.
Tucked into the shoreline of Powell Lake is the Haywire Bay Regional Campground in Haywire Bay Regional Park, which offers waterfront campsites for both tents and RVs. This popular seasonal day-use park and campground is operated by the Powell River Regional District with an on-site park caretaker. The Sunshine Coast Trail runs right through Haywire Bay Regional Park.
The next recreation site is a campground on Lewis Lake, a nice fishing lake in the higher elevations, between the bigger Dodd Lake and Haslam Lake. Facilities at Lewis Lake Recreation Site include tables and toilets.
A lakeside campground is provided on the south side of Lois Lake, with Lois Point Recreation site being one of the campgrounds on the Powell Forest Canoe Route, used by paddlers who want to get away from the vehicle site at the Lois Lake launch area. Facilities at Lois Point include tables and toilets.
Nearby Regions & Towns
- Sunshine Coast
- Lund (near north end of the trail)
- Powell River
- Saltery Bay (south end of the trail)
- Saltery Bay Ferry Terminal
- Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park