A view of the West Coast Trail near Nitinat Lake. (David Enstrom - Wikipedia Commons)

A view of the West Coast Trail near Nitinat Lake. (David Enstrom - Wikipedia Commons)

West Coast Trail to re-open to visitors in June 2021

Trail has been closed to due COVID-19

Vancouver Island’s world-famous West Coast Trail will be re-opening to the public in June 2021.

The 75-km trail that meanders along the southwest coast of Vancouver Island between Port Renfrew and Bamfield has been closed since early 2020 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Parks Canada said that trail would not be re-opened without unanimous agreement from the three First Nations along it: the Bamfield-area Huu-ay-aht, the Ditidaht, who are based around Nitinat Lake, and the Port Renfrew-area Pacheedaht.

On March 26, Parks Canada and all three First Nations announced the re-opening of the trail for the 2021 visitor season, with measures in place to protect the health of remote communities, Indigenous guardians, visitors and Parks Canada employees.

Advance reservations will be required for all hikers; no spaces will be offered on standby. Reservations will be open on April 30. Hikers can book their adventure by visiting reservation.pc.gc.ca or by calling 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783). At this time, the West Coast Trail is only available to Canadians.

Parks Canada and local First Nations are asking visitors to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission by paying attention to local signs and community protocols, completing a self-assessment before travelling to the area and following the guidelines of public health experts, including travel restrictions.

Hikers are also asked to learn in advance whether First Nations villages are welcoming visitors prior to arrival.

Huu-ay-aht’s village of Anacla is currently closed to outside visitors. Ditidaht First Nations is ready to welcome visitors to the Nitinat area, while Pacheedaht First Nation is offering a range of services near the Gordon River Trailhead.

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