Forum Index » Pre-Trip Planning » W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail?


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Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
WCT... on 04/22/2013 17:13:30 MDT Print View

>> I've done the WCT and it is not really that much of a challenge... more of a cakewalk really <<

While I appreciate that everybody has different skills and physical abilities, I'm not sure how helpful a comment like this is to the average Joe that is doing their pre-trip research. People have run the entire WCT in less than half a day but they hardly represent the "average" backpacker on the trail.

I have several sets of GPS tracks from the WCT that show my progress in sections of the trail as being between .5 and 1 Km/hour. As a guy that covers most trails pretty quickly, I wouldn't call that "a cake walk". Combine that with the number of people that are evacuated from the WCT every year and I think I'd rather make comments that are useful to the majority of the backpackers that will be hitting the trail, not just the exceptional crowd that finds it easy.

Perhaps you were one of those lucky guys that managed to do the trail when it was dry... it's a different experience when dry, definitely a little bit less dangerous(but still difficult hiking because the root balls don't disappear).

Edited by skopeo on 04/22/2013 17:14:32 MDT.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
N. Coast Trail on 04/23/2013 12:36:04 MDT Print View

If you want to crowds and bureaucracy and have a similar experience head north to the tip of the Island and hike the North Coast Trail. More challenging, equally beautiful.

Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: N. Coast Trail on 04/23/2013 22:34:55 MDT Print View

"If you want to {avoid} crowds and bureaucracy and have a similar experience head north to the tip of the Island and hike the North Coast Trail. More challenging, equally beautiful."

Now, that sounds like a fine idea!

With the wife and 2 kids, there is over $600 in required fees and a lot of bureaucracy to hike the WCT. I have a really hard time swallowing that.

I think the North Coast Trail may just be the perfect ticket! More remote, less traveled, lower fees (if any) beautiful scenery. I think I'm buying it!

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
North Coast Trail... on 04/23/2013 23:16:55 MDT Print View

The North Coast Trail has some hidden costs as well. It's a 350 mile drive to the trail head (the north island drive is tedious) so it will likely be a "next day start" for your hiking. You will also have to arrange a shuttle and a boat ride to get to and from the trail head. The WCT is more expensive but far easier to arrange the logistics (especially if you go before the mid June reservation date).

The North Coast Trail is definitely more remote and devoid of crowds however if I was taking kids, I'd opt for the WCT.

I was planning on doing the NCT this year but it has moved to next year for me. If you have less travel time and want a similar experience, read up on the Cape Scott Trail. It connects to the west end of the NCT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
WCT on 04/24/2013 07:53:53 MDT Print View

"With the wife and 2 kids, there is over $600 in required fees and a lot of bureaucracy to hike the WCT. I have a really hard time swallowing that."
Yeah its pretty nuts. That's the reason I've never done it. The costs for just my wife and I are:
$160 - Shuttle ($80 ea for WCT Express Bus)
$304 - Trail Fees ($127.50 + $24.50 reservation fee per person)
$162 - BC Ferries (Car + 2 people x 2 ways)
TOTAL: $622 not including regular expenses like gas, food etc.

The NCT seems like a nice option. I've been up in Cape Scott and hiked a couple hours down the NCT but I haven't seen the bulk of it. Another option is the Juan de Fuca Trail, which is immediately south of the WCT. It's shorter (40km vs 75) and less remote (although sections seem darn remote), but the scenery is also spectacular and the logistics and costs are far more reasonable. There is a highway that parallels the shore, so shuttling is much quicker. With the WCT the shuttle takes a long circuitous route around the island. I've hiked the JDF twice and both times just hitch hiked it.

Then there's the ultimate trip....starting at Carmanah and combining a walk thru Canada's biggest trees with a WCT excursion. Remote, awesome and nearly free. Also illegal.

Edited by dandydan on 04/24/2013 07:58:21 MDT.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
How many days to hike the WCT on 04/26/2013 05:16:42 MDT Print View

Looks like I'll be in Victoria July 2014. I understand that the WCT is 47 miles long. Is it reasonable to try and hike it in two days or should I allow for three?

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Juan de Fuca and NCT on 04/26/2013 06:53:01 MDT Print View

+1 on Juan de Fuca if you are taking kids. Depends how old and skill levels I guess but I would only take experienced teens on the WCT. I've done the JDF trail as a day trail run. It's very lovely without any of the permitting hassles and much more suitable for a family trip.

Ferry costs and water taxi/ shuttle cost and logistics for the both the WCT and NCT are about equal. So I would not characterize these as hidden costs. There is no permitting fee or hassle for the NCT but the drive is longer, not sure if I would describe it as tedious to a first time visitor...but I would take the drive over the red tape and crowds anytime.

Cape Scott is lovely either way.

Edited by drown on 04/26/2013 06:58:10 MDT.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: How many days to hike the WCT on 04/26/2013 06:55:46 MDT Print View

"Looks like I'll be in Victoria July 2014. I understand that the WCT is 47 miles long. Is it reasonable to try and hike it in two days or should I allow for three?"

I would plan for 3, you may find your average hourly mileage reduced due to pebble, gravel, rock, and sand beaches as well as ladders and likely very wet, slippery structures.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
comparions and trip report on 04/29/2013 13:17:26 MDT Print View

running trip but nonetheless a useful comparison of terrain.

http://trailadventurer.blogspot.com/2008/05/north-coast-trail-run-may-10-2008.html