FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What does it cost to hike the West Coast Trail?
Costs are estimated in US and / or Canadian dollars. A Canadian dollar was once on par with the US, but in recent years a Canuck buck (called a loony) was worth about US$.90.
Every hiker must buy a Trail Use Permit C$140 in 2006. Pay in advance by credit card or at the required Trailhead Orientation session before you start hiking. Payment for the Permit at the trailhead can be made with cash, travellers cheques , VISA, MasterCard or Debit Card.
If you cancel 21 days or more before the hike start date, you are eligible for refund IF you paid in advance by phone. A cancellation fee applies, though.
The C$140 (in 2006) includes ferry rides across the:
1. Gordon River
2. Nitinat Narrows
(Years ago hikers paid for boat trips separately.)
A Reservation, if you make one, costs you C$25 & is non-refundable. A credit card is required.
There is no bank machine in Bamfield or Port Renfrew. Bring cash with you to the West Coast Trail.
Check the Pacific Rim National Park fees page for additional details.
The price has increased over the years but is still a bargain. Unfortunately, we find that many people spend US$1000 or more on NEW GEAR. To save money, try to avoid the tempting outdoor gear stores. Borrow as much of the necessary equipment as you can. You could even rent gear last-minute in BC.
Bring some cash with you on the hike as you may want to buy food & drink at Chez Monique's restaurant or at Nitinat Narrows.
If for some reason you decide to leave the Trail at Nitinat it costs extra to depart with the boat at 4 pm about C$25 / person. You may be able to convince them to take you off the Trail earlier in the day but it will probably cost about C$50 / person. To be on the safe side, bring C$80 cash or more with you while you hike. (It may be safer to bring your wallet with you than to leave it in the vehicle.)
Where can I buy / rent gear?
The most popular gear shop in Canada is MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) a non-profit organisation selling & renting quality gear for the lowest possible price. Thats the best place to start.
The closest MEC is in Victoria, BC.
An alternative in Victoria is Sports Rent.
You can get a backpack for a week for about C$32, Therm-a-rest C$19, Tent C$50, Sleeping bag C$29, etc.
If you are taking the West Coast Trail Express bus, it will be more convenient to rent gear from them.
West Coast Trail in the sunshine.