Forests that skim the clouds, rivers rich with salmon and a slew of scenic hiking trails make this a dream destination for outdoor adventurers.
The coastal town of Port Renfrew is surrounded by scenic water and woodlands. Come here to get lost amid gigantic trees or take to the ocean in a kayak or on a surfboard. Whether earth or water is your element, you’ll be astonished by the massive scale of the natural wonders all around.
Wander along rugged cliffs, through untamed forests and up peaks offering panoramic ocean vistas. Get a sense of the lush natural bounty that drew the Pacheedaht First Nations people to settle here, followed by Europeans in the late 18th century.
Big trees, big skies and wide-open waters are the key features of Port Renfrew. Surfers should head to Jordan River to catch giant waves. Hiking the local parks is another way to feel tiny, as some of the world’s tallest trees tower overhead. Look for the record-breaking Red Creek fir and San Juan Sitka spruce. Another big tree with a big personality is Big Lonely Doug, an enormous fir which stands all by itself.
See more big trees in Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, to the north of Port Renfrew. Some of the trees that grow in the park are over 1,000 years old. The Pacific Rim National Park Preserve is famed for its outstanding hiking trails. Set up by Fairy Lake or Lizard Lake and fill your days with canoeing, swimming, fishing and sunbathing.
No matter where you venture, you won’t be far from wildlife. Plan a hike that takes you through countryside alive with elk, deer, eagles and wolves. Or go on a boat tour, where chances are high that either sea lions, seals, humpback whales or even orcas will show their face.
See smaller-scale marine life at Botanical Beach. Spot starfish, sea anemones and mussels hiding among the beach’s rock formations.
The easiest way to get to Port Renfrew is by flying into Victoria and then driving. Expect to spend about 2 hours on the road, driving through some of the most gorgeous countryside imaginable.