FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do I get a Trail Use Permit?
Getting a Permit to hike the West Coast Trail in July or August can be difficult. This is the biggest hassle in planning the hike.
A maximum of 52 Permits are sold / day (26 at each end). This regulation is enforced. Youll have your Permit checked several times while hiking.
There are two ways to get your hands on one of the 52 precious daily hiking Permits:
- Walk-on (10 people / day) ... reduced from 12
- Reservation (42 people / day)
Dont forget to Register Off the West Coast Trail at the Information Centre at each Trailhead. (Youll be tempted to dash off to the nearest bar or shower without stopping.) Permits should be returned via the drop box or slid under the door if the Centre is closed. If possible, speak with the staff, or fill out a report form, to alert others of anything unexpected you found on the Trail.
How do I make a Reservation to hike?
Reservations are available during the high season, starting June 15 - Sept 15.
From May 1 - June 14, & Sept 16 - Sept 30 you normally cannot make a Reservation. (It should be no problem to get on at those times.)
For the 2006 season, for example,
- starting May 1 - June 14 ... shoulder season, no Reservation
- starting June 15 - Sept 15 ... high season, make Reservation
- starting Sept 16 - Sept 30... shoulder season, no Reservation
Confirm this by phone if it affects you as this policy is fairly new. It may be that reservations are possible during shoulder season if you are starting on a weekend.
To make a reservation to hike the WCT, telephone Super Natural British Columbia's Reservation Service:
- Toll Free Canada / USA: 1-800-435-5622
- Greater Vancouver: 604-435-5622
- International: (Canada) 250-387-1642
- a major credit card (Visa or Mastercard)
- the hike start date (and 2 alternate start dates)
- number of hikers in your group
- mailing address (for info packaged to be mailed)
- whether you will start from Bamfield or Port Renfrew
One person phoning can reserve Permits for up to 10 hikers (the maximum allowed in a group) starting on the same day. Plan to telephone on April 1, May 1, June 1 or July 1 depending on the day you wish to start:
- for hikes starting in June, phone April 1 or later
- for hikes starting in July, phone May 1 or later
- for hikes starting in August, phone June 1 or later
- for hikes starting in September, phone July 1 or later
Reservations are accepted:
The best strategy:
- Phone at exactly 7 am Pacific Coast Daylight Savings Time
- If the line is busy, hit REDIAL
- Stay on the line until you get through. (It took us over 2 hours on redial when we booked on June 1st for a hike in August.)
It costs C$25 / hiker to reserve a Permit. This is non-refundable.
Once you reserve, you will be mailed a hike preparation guide to help with your planning.
Download The Official West Coast Trail Hiker Preparation Guide for more information.
Weve heard rumours that telephone calls made from outside BC are given priority (to boost tourism), though registration people at the Trailhead deny this.
Educational tours & school groups could try for a special group (maximum 18 persons) permit. Telephone to inquire.