Beaches, Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest has some incredible beaches! Most beaches in the coastal region are remote, and hardly visited, but they are as awesome as any beach in the world.
Where I live on Vancouver Island, we have beaches of world-class status, yet quite often, you are the only souls there.
These beaches are pristine. Please leave these remote areas just as you found them so that others can enjoy them as much as you have. Leave only footprints and take only photos.
Cape Palmerston and San Josef Bay at the northwestern edge of the Island, are two of my favorite beaches, and then there is Grant Bay with its awesome sandy beach. These beaches have been carved out of the landscape by thousands of years of winter storms. I have always enjoyed hiking in these areas and will continue to do so.
Some of the beaches on Haida Gwaii are supreme, people will travel from around the world to see them.
There is North Beach at Tow Hill where there is some awesome surfing possibility. Here you can hike up past the blowhole and head up Tow Hill trail where you can get views of the north beach from the first platform, and from the top of the hill, you can see Agate beach and Yakan point. Balance rock beach is another of the awesome beaches in Haida Gwaii, here you will see balance rock, left from the last ice age, balanced on a very small point, it has defied the winter storms for 10 000 years.
There are so many beaches on our coast, that it would take a lifetime to visit them all, our Pacific Northwest region is a remote, isolated paradise, we need to protect it at all costs.
So many people depend on it staying pristine for employment through the tourist trades. We must not let it suffer the damage that will come from oil and gas exploration and transport. Our government of today seems to not care a wit about this, but when you talk to the people who live and work here, you find that they do care, care enough to fight for its beauty, now and into the future.
The San Juan Park covers a large portion of southwest Vancouver Island. The area became a provincial park in 1989. Juan de Fuca Provincial Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island is a wonderful park, it offers some incredible hiking along the 47 km trail that runs between Botanical Beach and China Beach. You can hike into some of the beaches that have day trails to them where you can view the roaring surf and just possible, see whales just offshore. Juan de Fuca Provincial Park gives an opportunity to view these large marine mammals. The best time to see Grey whales is during their migration along our coast in March and April. Seals and sea lions can also often be seen playing offshore.
There are four main areas to the park: the China Beach Campground, the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, the China Beach day-use area and Botanical Beach. All these beaches are just incredible.
Black bears and cougars can also be present at any time. Black bears can become used to feeding on garbage, so to avoid teaching bears about trash, please pack out what you pack in. Cougars normally avoid people and are rarely seen, but please leave pets at home if possible and watch over young children. Do not feed the bears, remember, a fed bear quite often becomes a dead bear when they learn that humans mean food. A bear becomes a problem when they get accustomed to human food and garbage and problem bears are quite often put down to avoid problems.
The trail between Botany Bay and Botanical beach is an incredible walk through a forest of windswept and twisted trees, its a beautiful place, a place of wonder. This trail is typical of most west coast beach locations, the trees are formed into contorted shapes by the winds. Every time l walk through this trail, l am amazed at its beauty, it is a fascinating hike. A hike that all should do at least once in a lifetime.
When driving, you will end up in East Bamfield where there some great places to stay or eat and you can take in the Marine Science Center, it is home to many biologists from 5 different universities. Giving Bamfield the distinction of being a community with more Ph.D.’s per capita than any other town in BC.
In 1902, when a post office was opened in Bamfield, a mistake was made in the spelling of its name and instead of Banfield, it was called Bamfield. The name stuck and that’s what it is called now.
There is much to do here, the village economy is based on tourism with a little fishing and logging, it is a great place to go sea kayaking, hiking or just beach combing. It is the last village before the start of the west coast trail. The Bamfield Marine Sciences opened in 1972, it is a research center, but also has tours in the summer. Parking is difficult though, so be prepared to walk a ways to reach the center on busy days. It is a great place to visit.
We took the water taxi across to on West Bamfield and after walking the boardwalk to the outer end, we stopped at the general store, great store, ice cream, and coffee, the locals gather here to chat while sitting on the benches provided. I had a great conservation with one of the locals, a Lars B Mogensen, and he told me an awesome story about how the boardwalk was built. The stories go like this.
The best part of the story is that because it was built by the highways department, this boardwalk is maintained by them, so every couple of years a couple of workers come to walk the boardwalk with one on top and the other under, they mark planks that need replacing and then a crew comes after to do the repairs. So this is one of the nicest boardwalks you will ever see on our coast and it should remain like that for years to come.
While you are over in West Bamfield, you can walk across to Brady’s Beach on a well marked out trail. This an incredible area to hike along. There are many sea stacks and shore formations that are quite impressive. We spent a few hours here exploring and were fascinated with the scenery and wildlife. It’s an easy hike to reach the beach. You will not regret visiting here. It is a very impressive place to see.
Brady’s Beach is named after Percy Brady, a Coast Guard coxswain in the 1920s. He and his wife, Maud, were long-time residents who lived near the beach. There are a number of old homesteads here and at the entrance to the beach is a most awesome compost toilet that really is a thing of beauty. So come on over to the beautiful village of Bamfield and take a hike to Brady’s Beach and spend a few hours or perhaps a few days and relax in the wonder of the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Middens and other remains of settlements serve as evidence that local First Nations have been present in the area for thousands of years. The first European settlers first began arriving in 1897 and began to settle, attempting to build farms in what is now the provincial park. They had a difficult time trying to work the land and left after a few years. They left behind cleared patches and fields that are now semi-wild as well as many place names, including Hansen Lagoon, and Nissen Bight.
As part of Cape Scott Provincial Park, San Josef Bay is easily accessible on well-maintained trails and boardwalks. From the nearest parking lot and trail-head, there is a three km, fairly easy hike that takes you to the bay.
The road in from port hardy is long but fairly well maintained, but please drive with caution as these roads are active logging roads.