After experiencing the North Coast Trail and East Beach Trail, I felt a yearning to return to the wild coast of British Columbia. Backpacking the remote Tatchu Trail on Vancouver Island fit the bill.

This essentially unmarked coastal route traverses the Tatchu Peninsula in the territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, covering 32 km (20 mi) on the west coast of the island. Access is by air or water; we opted to floatplane in and out from Gold River with Air Nootka.

From Port Eliza, we trekked northwest to Rugged Point in five days, encountering no other hikers or even kayakers. Things got off to a wet start upon disembarking the floatplane, when my backpack fell in the ocean as we transferred gear and ourselves from dock to shore using an inflatable dinghy. Then it rained as I hastily separated my soggy and dry clothes.

We beach camped on Yellow Bluff Bay, between Yellow Bluff and Tatchu Point, at Porritt Creek, and at Sandpiper Creek. Machetes proved indispensable for a bit of bushwhacking on the first two days.

We navigated overgrown logging roads, many creek crossings, slippery surge channels, dramatic rock shelves, and plenty of beaches with the aid of John Baldwin’s Tatchu Peninsula map. (Tim Leadem’s book Hiking the West Coast of Vancouver Island is another useful resource.)

Tatchu Trail, Day 5

Enjoy these photographic highlights from the Tatchu Peninsula. Now to plan the next adventure.

New books

Best Hikes and Nature Walks With Kids In and Around Southwestern British Columbia
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