In the first minute, look for some huge old-growth cedar trees on the north (right) side of the trail. The challenging adventure hike of the North Coast Trail, day-hikes to San Josef Bay, and weekend hikes through the rainforest on the Cape Scott … For some, isolation is more the norm than the extraordinary, and their job keeps them far away from most people, most of the time. If you continue straight, you’ll reach Nissen Bight in 1.9km. They are both marked with wooden signs. Did you find it busier this year with the West Coast Trail closed for the season? Ignore a side trail heading into the dunes and onward to Experiment Bight. On my most recent trip, we had an uncomfortable encounter with a bear on the sea stack beach on the way to Cape Scott. North Coast / Cape Scott Trail Trip report - 7 day hike on the N.W. I suspect they are very overgrown and boggy. Read my post about the best things to do on North Vancouver Island. Be prepared to hang your food in a tree out of reach of animals and use Leave No Trace practices for going to the bathroom. The Cape Scott hike is a scenic tour through a number of coastal ecosystems. The bear was feeding on the beach, blocking our route back to the trail, and walking towards us. The only place dogs are allowed is at San Josef Bay, and they must be on a leash at all times. Directions to the trail head : from highway 19 head north to Courtenay, turn right at Piercy Rd. It was the perfect trip to end the summer season on a high note and the memories will last long into the coming months. by | Dec 22, 2020 | Uncategorized | 0 comments | Dec 22, 2020 | Uncategorized | 0 comments It’s one of the steepest bits of trail on the entire hike. Cape Scott Provincial Park is at the very northern tip of Vancouver Island. Weather was a mixed bag of sun and rain. Cape Scott Provincial Park is located about 563 kilometres from Victoria. We got lucky with no rain, mud, or mosquitoes. Food cache and outhouses(with toilet paper) are available at most campsites. We use cookies to ensure … Almost immediately the lush rainforest around Fisherman River fades away and you emerge into a coastal bog. Instead, look around for small dry branches. The beaches of Cape Scott Park are incredibly beautiful and well worth the hike in. We camped out in the back of my truck for the night though there are two small camp grounds near by (one free … Hi, I’m Taryn! Follow signs into the forest to pools in the creek. It’s a good place to stay if you got a late start on the trail. It has been closed for several decades now. The slower you walk, the less likely you will be to slip and fall. The drive from Nanaimo to Cape Scott takes about 6 hours. Never run. Crossing the open fields near Hansen Lagoon. There were a LOT of tents at Nel’s but it’s such a big beach so there was still lots of space. The remaining 60+km is on gravel logging roads. Follow it through a grassy area and into heavy trees to find an old tractor wedged between two trees. Of course, hikers and mountain bikers are welcome to use these trails as well and, most of the time, you are unlikely to encounter any other users. Watch for wildlife in the lagoon. It’s hard to read the inscription on the gravestones, but they are all from early Danish settlers. This is the most popular campground on the Cape Scott Trail, and arguably the most beautiful. A day hike or overnight camping at San Josef Bay (3-4km from the parking lot) is an easy hike and over a well-groomed gravel trail. | Food Storage: Food locker near the outhouse. Step out of the trees on the sand. Turn right to go to the Fisherman River campground and outhouse. The plan is to hike to Nissan Bight and then down to San Josef the next day. There’s a ranger on staff here in the summer, stationed in a cabin at the east end of the beach. Zoom in and click around to see everything. The Kwakwaka’wakw know this beach as Tsewunchas, meaning “winter place”. You will hike 16.8km from the trailhead to get here. The park is a popular destination for backpackers during the less rainy summer season. Follow the trail over the dunes from the west end of Guise Bay to the sandy beach of Experiment Bight. There is parking space at the trailhead. As the bog ends and you reenter the forest, you’ll reach another junction. 3rd day and our hike back we beat our record at 5.5 hours. Thanks for supporting my website. Speedy hikers pushing ourselves otherwise you could take longer at a slower perhaps more enjoyable speed. Hikers may extend their North Coast Trail hike with side trips in the Cape Scott Trail core area. *** It's decision day. Unlike other popular coastal hikes like the West Coast Trail, hiking to Cape Scott is cheap and easy. Walk along the old corduroy road until you emerge onto the white sand of Guise Bay. Distance: 2.9km | Elevation Loss: m | Time: 1 hour. Your filter may also get clogged, so make sure you know how to clean it. Nissen Bight is 15km from the trailhead. I hiked the trail in 2008, the first year it was open. The Cape Scott/San Josef Bay trailhead is at the end of San Josef Main, about 18.5KM from Holberg (65KM from Highway 19). Looking down at the lighthouse keeper’s house from the Lighthouse. In can be very muddy through here, with lots of puddles. No problem finding firewood. The Cape Scott Trail itself was very dry (a far contrast from the mud that Cape Scott is famous for) and the beaches all so sandy and beautiful. The Kwakwaka’wakw call it Yichaledaz (where the canoes run ashore in heavy swell). A few steps down the trail, a yurt hidden behind some trees serves as a ranger station. Cross the creek where it flows out onto the sand and follow the shoreline for a minute or so. At the far end of the beach (before the big rocks) clamber over driftwood towards buoys marking the trail. If you are hiking the North Coast Trail, you need to take a water taxi to the start of the trail at Shushartie Bay. Hiking times are estimated for the average hiker in good physical condition in optimal weather conditions. Cape Scott Weather: Cape Scott is usually cool and wet, even in the middle of summer. The trails you walk on the way to the cape today are remnants of their old roads and in some places you can see the remains of their settlements. This short trail is mostly flat. Further Resources: Check the Cape Scott Provincial Park website before you go for trail updates and advisories. Campsites: Unlimited space on the beach above the high tide line | Toilet: Outhouse on a spur trail to the left of the main trail | Water: Collect from the creek at the southeast end of the beach. If you don't have the time, or the endurance, or just want some training, perhaps you should consider the Cape Scott Trail. Since it can take quite a long time to get to Cape Scott from southern Vancouver Island, many people choose to stay overnight in the area before their trip. This is a hike-in park, and there is only one parking lot available. We awoke, fed, and packed for a day hike to the Cape Scott Light House. If you continue straight, you’ll reach a viewpoint at the southern end of Eric Lake. It’s a great place to base yourself for a day hike to the cape. That’s how I returned from the North Coast Trail. Print out the Cape Scott tide table and carry it with you. For most hikers, the basic Cape Scott Provincial Park map is all you’ll need. Turn right and head west across Guise Bay. The minimum recommended one way hiking time is 5 days; although, it is more commonly completed in 6 to 8 days. Poop in outhouses since wolves are just big dogs and want to eat and/or roll in your poop. The total hiking distance is approximately 59.5km. On the south (left) side of the trail, you will see the remains of a collapsed building. The trail from the parking lot to Nels Bight and beyond to Cape Scott is fairly easy and fairly flat, though muddy year-round in spots. The nearest places to stay in a hotel are Port Hardy. (The North Coast trail deserves its own guide, so I won’t go into details on it in this post.). Make a right at the first road it will be Forbidden Plateau … One commenter allegedly heard a Cape Scott camp host say Cape Scott Provincial Park might be closed to the public due to increased use. Cape Scott is one of the best places to hike in BC. You will be sharing the road with industrial traffic including fully loaded logging trucks, so use caution. It’s gorgeous! coast of Vancouver Island. It is mostly flat, but is often very muddy. They each have an outhouse and food locker. The best water is at the lighthouse and the two keepers are super friendly. Continue along the trail, following boardwalk for a few more minutes. From the trail head, it’s only an hour or so to Eric Lake ( a popular day-trip) where you will find an old wharf, near the campsite. Always drive with your headlights on. I hadn’t been to Cape Scott in a few years, and we did visit over the Canada Day holiday, so it did seem a bit busier than I remember. Hike Description . The main campsites and points of interest along the trail to Cape Scott are in red, additional side hikes are in orange. The Eric Lake campground has boardwalk paths to several tent platforms. There are two picnic tables where you can take a break. Reply. If you look carefully, you can still see the drainage ditches on either side. Bring a spare tire and know how to change it as flats are common. A short trail on the left leads out to a small beach. Campsites: Unlimited space on the beach above the high tide line | Toilet: Three outhouses – one where the trail meets the beach, one just past the ranger station, and one on the other side of the creek | Water: Collect from the creek on the west side of the beach. My home is in Vancouver but my heart is in the mountains. They often use hiking trails as travel routes. It was the first motorized machine used at the Cape Scott settlement. The beautiful white sand of Guise Bay is 20.7km from the trailhead. The trail is level and well maintained. The Christensen grave just off the main trail near the Nel’s/Nissen junction, Distance: 3.7km | Elevation Loss: 60m | Time: 1.5 hours. We put our kitchen set up back in the grass to be sure we’d be up above the tide. If you are hiking Vancouver Island, find your bliss on a guided hiking adventure in Canada's premiere wilderness areas. Cape Scott Provincial Park is located about 563 kilometres from Victoria. Go slow around blind corners. They had a seasonal village at Experiment Bight and a permanent winter village at Cape Sutil. When we hiked the North Coast Trail, we stayed at the Glen Lyon Inn in Port Hardy first. When parking remember not to block other cars and logging trucks have the right-of-way so drive with your lights on, and make way for them. Hiker, adventure traveller, Leave No Trace trainer and connoisseur of alpine meadows. Day1 - our group of 6 met early, organized our stuff and drove up to the park from mid island. Click here for more photos. Leaving the trailhead, the trail is a smooth crushed gravel highway. This post includes: Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. The lighthouse keepers collect rainwater that tastes and looks much better than what you’ll find in the streams. Please confirm your country to get the right product availibility and even purchase online. See the trail description above for more details: Unlike the West Coast Trail and most other coastal trails in BC, tides are not a problem on the main trail to Cape Scott. There are three levels of beautiful hiking trails at this British Columbia park. I used this book on my most recent trip to Cape Scott to find lots of off-the-beaten-path stuff. Nells Bight to Cape Scott My favourite sections: Nells Bight, Experiment Bight, Cape Scott Best time of year to go: Summer Trail marking: Very good Trail maintenance: Fair What I liked: Beautiful beaches, big waves, very few people. Cable cars help you across rivers and boardwalks keep you out of some (but not most) of the mud. 36 photos North Coast Trail day 4. The main reason to pay attention to the tides at Cape Scott is to pick a good campsite well above the high tide mark. Nel’s Bight beach is 2.4km long and 210m wide at low tide. About 1 minute before the junction, an unmarked trail heads slightly uphill into the forest on the east (right) side of the trail. They all have a nearby water source except Shushartie Bay. water source are fine a little brown but after running through sawyer filter tasted great! Be sure to wear good hiking footwear and take care of the blisters at the first sign of them. Look carefully to spot evidence of Danish settlers logging. Total Distance:24 km About 1.6km from the junction, the trail emerges from the forest into an open area at with an info board. It can run dry in late summer. Andrew W. at Cape Scott: “Six hikers planned to hike in Cape Scott Provincial Park on the August long weekend. Back to Cape Scott, we did this hike over four days some years back, packing in all of our food and camping gear. In most areas of Cape Scott Provincial Park, dogs are prohibited. What gets most hikers are the sore and blistered feet from the pack weight and uneven ground. The Cape Scott Provincial Park trails on the Northwestern end of Vancouver Island offer challenging hiking with rewarding beaches and views. I just came back from my fourth backpacking trip in the park, so I’ve put together a full guide to the Cape Scott area for you. Look for a faint trail heading north (right) into the forest. Monday Morning (Aug 11). The beach at Guise Bay. Cape Scott Provincial Park is located at the very northern tip of Vancouver Island. Each year, thousands of backpackers and nature lovers head to the northern limits of Vancouver Island, bound for the jewel of the region: Cape Scott Provincial Park and the recently completed North Coast Trail. The famous shoe tree near Nahwitti Lake on the drive to Cape Scott. To avoid attracting wolves, keep a clean camp, and always store your food properly. Coastal hiking and backpacking is a lot different than hiking in the forest or mountains. If you need to pay fees in person, there is a station where you can deposit money in an envelope. Watch for hanging buoys and follow them back into the forest. United States (English) United States (English) Select Location; Confirm. We brought a water filter and aqua tabs which seemed to do the trick, colour always looks a bit dark. If you are planning on hiking the West Coast Trail, consider a warm up on another BC hike in Cape Scott Provincial Park as well. -Taryn, Cape Scott Provincial Park is located at the northern tip of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Follow the grassy trail in between the old fence posts. Lots of wool. Tag: Hikes Cape Scott Park Cove Adventure Tours. Yeah there was mud and swamps, bears and wolves, but they don’t want anything to do with us. After over 15 coastal hiking trips to beaches in British Columbia and Washington, I’ve got tons of coastal hiking pointers for you. Great Hike went with Wife and 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter. The trail to Cape Scott is 23.6km long from the trailhead to the lighthouse. Distance: Up to 1.5km | Elevation Gain/Loss: none | Time: Up to 40 minutes. Over 100 years ago, Danish settler built a series of dykes across Hansen Lagoon to convert the tidal salt marsh to pastures. If you see a cougar, follow the same tips for wolves above. Turn left and continue through the old-growth cedar forest. | Food Storage: Food lockers at both beaches. Cape Scott is such a special place, especially when the sun comes out. Cape Scott is home to a large black bear population. Wolves are very territorial and will attack dogs since they see them as a threat. There are also lots of cute cabins on Airbnb. Crossing the new bridge over Fisherman River, Distance: 3.8km | Elevation Loss: 60m | Time: 1.5 hours. From Guise Bay, it’s a short and easy hike to Cape Scott or to explore the nearby dunes and Experiment Bight. It is emotionally demoralizing to slog through that … However, there are a few deep mud holes in between boardwalks that you will need to navigate around. It is a gloomy forest site about 50 metres from the trailhead with tent pads. A good one-day hike may be made to San Josef Bay (2.5 km one way), where most backpackers set up on the sandy beach fronted by sea stacks. If you see a wolf, scare it off by gathering your group together, making yourself look big by raising your arms or opening your coat, and yelling. Cape Scott Provincial Park is a provincial park located at the cape of the same name, which is the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, and located 563 km (350 mi) from Victoria.It was established in 1973 with about 37,200 acres (15,100 ha), and later expanded to approximately 22,294 hectares (55,090 acres). The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until September. It is smaller than Nel’s Bight and sees far fewer visitors. North Coast Trail (km from Shushartie) Shushartie Bay (0 km) Westbound hikers don’t typically stay at Shushartie Bay Camp. At coastal campsites, collect driftwood from the beach. After the info board, the trail crosses a wooden bridge over Hansen Creek. It’s a 23.6km hike from the trailhead to the lighthouse at Cape Scott, so most visitors do it as a backpacking trip, staying at one of the campsites along the way. Use my simple backpacking checklist to get your gear prepped for the hike. Follow the WWII era plank road through the forest. It includes all the places I mention in this post. Cape Scott Provincial Park is ideal for hiking, and has sites for hike-in wilderness camping along the main trail. Day Hikes; Cape Scott; Bedwell Lake; Landslide Lake; Flores Island; Nootka Island Trail; Food & Drink; Contact; Search for: Search. 3:50 from nissen. Look for a trail heading into the forest, marked with a hanging buoy. Here are the main places to find water along the trail and at the campgrounds. It’s a lot quieter than Nel’s Bight. Lowrie Bay and Experiment Bight see a handful of campers each year. There is a great view from the top of the dunes and you are likely to have the beach all to yourself. It is a 43 km extensions of the Cape Scott Trail, totalling nearly 60km. The trail dead-ends behind the dyke. Just after the 6km mark, the trail gets a lot rougher. Immediately after the junction, the trail becomes much rougher. It looks barren as did your previous post. The main attractions in the park are the trail to Cape Scott at the northwest tip of the park, and the North Coast Trail, a challenging 5-day backpacking trip. Turn left into Cape Scott Park and reach the gravel parking lot a few minutes later. If you must build a fire, do it in the metal fire pit instead of building your own. You can follow three different rough trails to see them. On the other side, it heads back into the forest through a particularly muddy patch. (Although it’s definitely not pavement so use caution as there are some bumps and steeper bits). 17 photos North Coast Trail day 2. Water sources are all creek based. Cape Scott Trail is a 48.0 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Waddington B, British Columbia, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. 3 thoughts on “Cape Scott Trail Hike” foodnstuff says: August 29, 2019 at 7:38 pm. If you want to fill your bottles, there’s a signed tap for hikers on the backside of the building on the far left as you approach the lighthouse complex. After Nahwitti Lake take the left fork onto NE 60 Road. Your feet will be screaming at some point. Do you enjoy getting sand in every nook and cranny? The Kwakwaka’wakw call this area Gwigwakawalis, which means “whales on the beach”. 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