- Distance 7km
- Elevation Gain 730 meters
- Camping No
Located on Meares Island and clearly visible from Tofino, the towering mountain known as Lone Cone rises from the ocean in the Clayoquot Sound. The views from the top on a clear day are nothing short of spectacular as you look south towards Tofino and can see the Pacific Ocean and a large section of the surrounding area. However, the hike is very strenuous as the trail climbs more than 700-meters in just over 1.5km and is best done by those who are fairly fit.
To get to the start of the trail to Lone Cone, you will need to hire a service such as the Tofino Water Taxi who will take you to Meares Island. The trip takes about 15-minutes to the small dock at Kakawis on the west of the island and costs around $40 per person return. Most of the island has good cell service, so pickup at the dock to return to Tofino is generally done by making a phone call to the water taxi service.
From the dock, walk up the gravel road and follow it for roughly the first 1km. There is a sign that points left to go to Lone Cone. Go left and walk past the trail markers on the trees as the route begins to narrow into a trail. At first, you go through a short section of recently planted trees before things become a bit more rugged as you step over logs, slippery roots, and the occasional muddy section. The trail is still relatively flat though this section.
When you reach a sign that says "Guided Tours Only", go left and past the sign as the trail begins to climb. From here on, it's all uphill but it starts out relatively gradual. Follow the trail through the beautiful west coast forest, stopping occasionally to catch your breath and listening to how quiet the area is. Climb down and over a log and use the rope on the other side to pull yourself back up to the trail. Shortly after, the trail passes under a huge fallen tree as you continue making your way up hill.
The trail passes a section that is not very steep for a brief moment but then things get really steep. The hike becomes very difficult as you rapidly gain elevation while having to step up and over logs and large tree-rooted steps. There are very few switchbacks as the trail feels though it goes straight up the mountain. Take a moment to look book at glimpses of the ocean between the trees, which gives you an idea how far up you have gone.
Eventually, the steep trail becomes a little less steep, signaling that you are getting close to the top. The trail goes to the right and up one final section to the first viewpoint on top of a rocky outcrop. Continue along the trail to the second viewpoint, which is the largest, offering the best view of the Clayoquot Sound region. There are a few other views further along the top worth seeing as well.
After enjoying your time at the top, hike back down the steep trail, being careful to watch your step and not lose control on the slippery, loose dirt. Hiking back down can be more difficult as the steep mountain side terrain is relentless on the knees and legs. Eventually, the trail reaches the first sign, where you go right and pass through the flat, narrow trail.
When you're back at the gravel road, this is a good time to call the Tofino Water Taxi to pick you up as cell reception is good at this point and walking the last 1km to the dock gives them time to meet you there. Walk back along the gravel road and back to the dock where you were dropped off earlier in the day.
As the water taxi pulls away from Meares Island and heads back to Tofino, look back to marvel at the size of Lone Cone and the accomplishment of having hiked to the top.
How to get to Lone Cone
Lone Cone is located on Meares Island and requires one of several water taxi services to take you to the start of the trail. The cost of this service is about $40 per person and includes return travel. It is best to have a cell phone with you to call for pickup when you return to the dock.
The water taxi operator will point you in the direction to go once you reach the dock. You will walk up the gravel road and follow it for about 1km before making a left and following the trail to Lone Cone.