- Distance 1.6km
- Elevation Gain 46 stairs
- Camping No
As one of the most scenic hikes in the Tofino area, the South Beach Trail follows along the Pacific Ocean shoreline and offers stunning views of unique, rugged rock formations and foamy waves crashing on the beach. This 1.6-kilometre trail descends through a thick forest and arrives at a sandy beach that features striking rock formations, which help create some memorable (and massive) scenes of wild ocean spray from the sheer force of the oncoming waves.
The South Beach Trail starts from behind the Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre. From the Centre's parking lot, walk along the boardwalk and past the map board towards the driveway, then go right and continue up the hill. The trail starts with a viewpoint next to the Interpretive Centre. Continue along this paved trail as it passes several other scenic viewpoints of Lismer Beach. The path will soon turn into a gravel trail and reach a totem pole, offering several more viewpoints.
Follow the trail as it curves around a few more corners, and you'll soon reach a wooden boardwalk with a steep climb. (To help prevent slipping, the boardwalk is covered with roof shingles.) At the top, you'll reach a junction with the Nuu Chah Nulth trail. Continue straight as the South Beach Trail moves through some trees before reaching a steep set of wooden stairs. Here, walk down the steps and onto the beach, which offers spectacular views of the ocean and some giant rock formations. Be careful of rogue waves as the water has been known to reach up to these immense rocks and spray large amounts of water, leaving unsuspecting visitors with soaked socks and shoes.
To make your way back, simply retrace your steps back up the stairs and follow the trail back to the parking lot by the Interpretive Centre. Or, for a longer hike, take the Nuu Chah Nulth trail to Florence Beach.
How to get to South Beach Trail
Located on the Wickaninnish Beach Road, the South Beach trail begins from the parking lot next to the Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre.
From Tofino, drive south along Highway #4, entering the Pacific Rim National Park, and watch for signs to the Wickaninnish Beach Road. Turn right onto the Wickaninnish Beach Road and drive straight until you reach a sign with the option of turn left or right. Turn left and park in the parking lot.
From Ucluelet, drive north along Highway #4, past the highway junction and into the Pacific Rim National Park. Watch for sign to Wickaninnish Beach Road, turning left onto the road and continuing until the end where a set of signs direct traffic left or right. Turn left and park in the parking lot.