Bamfield sees many recreational visitors each year including diving, hiking, eco-tourists (the abundant wildlife makes Bamfield spectacular for wildlife viewing activities), sports fishing, surfing, kayaking, canoeing, and, of course, those who just seek plain old relaxation.
Walks and Hikes
For those who enjoy walking, there are several hiking and walking trails in and around the parks and community. The Bamfield Boardwalk provides a short pleasant stroll for those while day hikes to Brady’s Beach, Pachena Beach, and throughout the Community Forest are a popular source of excercise. However for those who are a little more adventurous and hold the wilderness skills needed, trips to Pachena Lighthouse, Keeha Beach, Cape Beale Lighthouse or the famous West Coast Trail are very enjoyable when the weather cooperates.
Parks and Beaches
West Coast Trail is certainly a trail worth doing, whether you decide to tackle the whole trail, or just venture for an afternoon activity. For information on permits required and seasonal restrictions visit Parks Canada online.
West Side Park is located behind the Canadian Coast Guard Station. Over the years it has been cleared and seeded several times and used for various sports activities.
West Bamfield is an undeveloped property off of the Brady’s Beach Trail and is reserved for Park Use.
Centennial Park, dedicated in 1967, is located on the east side of Bamfield at Port Desire and also serves as a camping facility. An Information Centre is staffed throughout the summer season, while two gazebos with BBQ grills, a drinking fountain and playground equipment, washrooms, pay showers and a pay phone are available for visitors year round. There is also a pump-out station for RV’s and boats, as well as water hoses. For more information please call 250 728-3006.
Brady’s Beach is located on the west side of the Bamfield Inlet and can be reached by a one mile walking trail. Some parts are hilly so some may need time to explore. The beach is mostly sand and has good swimming areas. In a walk along the beach for a couple miles you can explore the blowhole! Please watch the tide!
There are no washroom facilities or fresh water at Brady’s Beach. The uplands of the beach is private property, so please respect residents privacy. Remember to pack out all garbage and belongings from the beach.
Pachena Beach is accessible by vehicle on the east side of Bamfield. Vehicles can be parked in the Parks Canada West Coast Trail parking area with the beach a short walk away. This entrance is locally called “Camp Ross”, remembering the missionaries that once resided there. Here you will find the trailhead office for the West Coast Trail, an info booth seasonally staffed with friendly people happy to answer any questions you may have. There are privies, fresh water and a payphone available.
The beach is curved, sandy and about one mile long. Swimming, surfing, exploring the tide pools, flying kites, Frisbee, volleyball and beach combing are all popular pastimes on the sandy beach. During the whale migration season it is not uncommon to see whales in the bay. There is no camping on the Parks Canada end of the beach, however if you head down to the opposite end of the beach there is the Huu ay aht Campground located along the Pachena River.
Cape Beale Headlands is now administered by Parks Canada. Access to these trails can be found on South Bamfield Road in east Bamfield. A day hike will bring you there and back and takes you through the forest and along beaches to Cape Beale Lighthouse. Time your arrival for low tide to head to the lighthouse.
Keeha Beach crossing the Cape Beale headland, takes you to another sandy/rocky beach, more isolated than Brady’s or Pachena Beaches. In the ’60’s cabins were built on the uplands and lived in for a few years – however it was a long pack from the grocery store! Parks Canada now has restrictions for camping on Keeha Beach.
Kiix?in, National Historic Site of Canada is located on the Cape Beale Headlands. Once home to the Huu ay aht First Nations, remains of traditional houses can still be seen. Tours will be conducted through this historic area in the near future. Please visit Huu ay aht First Nations website for more information on Kiix?in, Execution Rock, First and Second Beaches or call 250 728-3414. Permits are required to visit these locations.
Community Forest, formally the Lifesaving Trail, can be accessed from Binnacle road in east Bamfield. It runs parallel to the Bamfield Road bringing you to Pachena bridge. Originally it was part of a section of the West Coast Trail which ran from the Marine Station (Cable Station) to Pachena, but was severed when roads were constructed.
Mills Peninsula, on the west side of Bamfield, is crisscrossed with good walking trails. Along the waterfront from the government dock (where the MV Frances Barkley docks) to the historic Red Cross Outpost Hospital property is the famous Bamfield Boardwalk which continues as a land-based trail for another five hundred feet. Charlie Wickham who settled in Bamfield in 1912 was road foreman in the forties and was responsible for building a large part of it. Prior to the boardwalk the access was trails through private properties. It is maintained by the department of highways.
Centennial Park and Campground is located on the east side of Bamfield at Port Desire. An Information Centre is staffed throughout the summer season, while two gazebos with BBQ grills, a drinking fountain and playground equipment, washrooms, pay showers and a pay phone are available for visitors year round. There is also a pump-out station for RV’s and boats, as well as water hoses. For more information please call 250 728-3006.
Poett Nook Marina and Campground, located 15 minutes from the West Coast Trail, features 150 campsites and 150 moorage spots. For more information please call 250 758-4440.
Pachena Bay Campground, owned and operated by the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, is located at the head of the world-famous West Coast Trail. A natural sand beach, approximately 1220 meters in length, sits directly in front of the campground. There are 66 tent sites, nine full-service RV sites and nine un-serviced RV sites. For more information please call 250 728-1287.
Island Fish Camp caters to campers after Pacific Salmon. The camp offers on-site tackle and bait, ice for storing fish and an assortment of lures. For more information please call 250 728-3546.