The trail is open from May 1 to September 30, and you need a permit to hike the West Coast Trail. The reservation system opens in early January, and the spaces fill almost immediately. If you want to have a serious chance of securing a spot, set up an account in advance of the first day reservations open and try to book the morning the system opens. Check with the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve site for details and planning.
3. Cathedral Grove
This short hike through a forest of giants is well worth a stop if you are near Qualicum Beach or on your way to Tofino and Ucluelet. A few loops in the area lead through ancient stands of Douglas-fir, some of which are more than 800 years old, as well as western redcedars, which can reach heights of 60 meters. You’ll also see bigleaf maples, which turn yellow in the fall. The largest tree in Cathedral Grove, simply known as The Big Tree, is a 76-meter Douglas-fir, measuring nine meters round, and is thought to be more than 800 years old. The trails are flat and easy and can be found on both sides of the Highway 4. Parking is right on the edge of the highway, which is not generally busy, but can be on weekends and holidays.