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Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay

Pacific Rim National Park

Vancouver Island Pacific Rim, British Columbia

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Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay

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  • Outhouse at the trailhead.- Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
  • The old Willowbrae Road was once a popular route for travelling between Tofino and Uclulet.- Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
  • Are we there yet?- Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
  • Lush rainforest along the trail.- Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
  • 173 stairs down to the beach. - Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
  • The trail emerges on the beach at the south end of Florencia Bay.- Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
  • Looking north up Florencia Bay.- Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
  • To the south the shoreline is rocky and provides for some great tidepools.- Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
  • A heron and a seagull share a rocky outcropping at the southern end of Florencia Bay.- Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
  • Eroding shoreline at Florencia Bay.- Willowbrae Trail to Florencia Bay
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Large beach. Less busy than other beaches to the north.
Cons: 
Limited parking. Lots of stairs.
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Region:
Vancouver Island Pacific Rim, BC
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Net Elevation Gain: 
27.00 m (88.58 ft)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.80 km (1.74 mi)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
27.00 m (88.58 ft)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

In 1942, after 30 years of construction, the Tofino-Uclulet highway was finally finished in order to build a network of radar stations and military establishments meant to protect the west coast from a potential Japanese invasion. Prior to that, the typical route from Uclulet to Tofino or vice-versa was a treacherous two-day journey over land and sea. The Willowbrae Trail was once part of this journey, beginning from just outside Uclulet and leading to the south end of Florencia Bay.

Today the old road has been converted into a hiking trail and is the southernmost beach access trail in Pacific Rim National Park's Long Beach Unit. Visitors use the short hiking trail to access Florencia Bay as well as Halfmoon Bay just to the west. The trail is wide, flat and easy, passing through beautiful mostly second-growth coastal rainforest for about 1.3 kilometers until it reaches a fork, with Halfmoon Bay to the left and the Florencia Bay straight ahead. Both trails descend long wooden staircases to reach the beaches, which seems to deter many visitors from visiting these southern beaches; other options like Long Beach or Wickininnish are closer to Tofino and have no stairs involved. As a result, the beaches here are much less busy and a good option for those who don’t mind putting in a bit of effort to get away from the crowds.

Florencia Bay is a beautiful, wide-open, mostly sandy beach backed by sandstone bluffs. For the tide pool lovers, the rocky shoreline to the left at the bottom of the stairs will provide endless entertainment. If you’re looking for a place to set up shop and relax, the sandy beach to the right will have plenty of space to spread out. For those who enjoy long walks on the beach (pretty much everyone, according to their online dating profiles), the 5-kilometer stretch of sand to the right will provide plenty of opportunity for a lengthy stroll. It’s important to note that high tide often comes right up to the bottom of the stairs, so it’s best to set off as the tide is getting lower rather than when it is rising just to be sure you can make it back to the stairs before the beach is underwater.

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

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