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Halfmoon Bay

Pacific Rim National Park

Vancouver Island Pacific Rim, British Columbia

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Halfmoon Bay

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  • Pit toilets at the trailhead.- Halfmoon Bay
  • The trail is wide, flat and easy for the first 1.3 kilometers.- Halfmoon Bay
  • Are we there yet?- Halfmoon Bay
  • A boardwalk section on the Halfmoon Bay Trail.- Halfmoon Bay
  • Boardwalks are common on the hiking trails in Pacific Rim National Park.- Halfmoon Bay
  • The boardwalk down to Halfmoon Bay features some creative woodwork.- Halfmoon Bay
  • There are 123 stairs on the way down to Halfmoon Bay.- Halfmoon Bay
  • Halfmoon Bay, Pacific Rim National Park.- Halfmoon Bay
  • Halfmoon Bay, Pacific Rim National Park.- Halfmoon Bay
  • Tide pools with anemones, sea stars, mussels, barnacles and various other kinds of marine life.- Halfmoon Bay
  • Halfmoon Bay, Pacific Rim National Park.- Halfmoon Bay
  • A family goes for a stroll down an otherwise empty beach at Halfmoon Bay.- Halfmoon Bay
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful sandy beach. Smaller crowds. Protected bay that is great for swimming.
Cons: 
123 stairs. Small parking lot.
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Region:
Vancouver Island Pacific Rim, BC
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Net Elevation Gain: 
55.00 m (180.45 ft)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.40 km (2.11 mi)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
38.00 m (124.67 ft)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Tofino is a world-famous tourist destination that attracts hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of visitors each year. Uclulet is more difficult to pronounce, but it is just down the road. While tourism is alive and growing there, the attractions toward the southern end of Pacific Rim National Park are generally a bit less busy. Halfmoon Bay is a gem of a beach near Uclulet that is a great choice for people who enjoy their solitude. In addition to being further from Tofino, the 1.7-kilometre hike down to the beach includes 123 stairs, which also seems to deter a good portion of those who might otherwise find their way down there.

As it turns out, the joke’s on them, because the hike is beautiful and the picturesque beach at the bottom of the staircase definitely makes it worth the effort. From the trailhead, the first section of the trail follows the old Willowbrae Road that was once part of the land-sea route between Tofino and Uclulet prior to the completion of the road in 1942 (it's now been converted into a hiking trail only) for about 1.3 kilometers. Eventually the trail splits with the Willowbrae /Florencia Bay trail straight ahead and the Halfmoon Bay Trail branching off to the left. Take this left turn onto the boardwalk, and soon you’ll find yourself looking down the large staircase toward Halfmoon Bay.

This beach is somewhat unique in the area because it is relatively small (just a few hundred meters wide) and is contained on both sides by the landscape. On the east end of the beach a bank of sheer cliffs emerging from the water is the boundary of the bay, while at the western corner the sand transitions to rugged and rocky terrain with endless tide pools teeming with sea life and a row of trees leading out to a point. The bay faces northwest and is protected by a rocky point and some small islands just beyond the western edge of the bay, so you won’t find any surfers down here in the flat water. The swimming is great, but according to signage there is the possibility of hidden rip-currents here, so swim with caution. The parking lot is quite small and there is no sign at the turnoff from the highway, so it's unlikely to be crowded here. During the quieter months it's often deserted.

Note that there will be free entry to all Canadian National Parks for the entirety of 2017 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

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