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If you enjoy a more laid-back, in-sync-with-nature approach to your trips—where fancy hotels and upscale restaurants aren’t your top priority—then this backpacking adventure might just be the right fit for you. The Nootka Island Trail is a 23-mile trail hugging the west coastal contours, meandering through lush forests and sandy beaches alike. It’s a true, 6-day wilderness experience with no man-made structures to help you out—fording creeks, trampling over bogs, crossing steep cliffs, that’s all part of the experience! That also means that there’s far less people on the trail, giving the floor to the thriving wildlife: black bears, sea wolves, river otters, eagles, or humpback whales might say hello. Join your expert guides on this backpacking trip and unplug from the world, at least for those 6 days.

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  • Trail full of surprises

    Demanding trail through beaches and woodlands with plenty of opportunities to spot the wildlife

  • Journey through history

    The trail offers a richer hiking experience by passing through traditional lands of First Nations

  • Only the beach and stars

    Unwind in the sea and sleep beneath the starlit skies


Backpacking the Nootka Island Trail is a genuine immersion into British Columbia’s wilderness. Over the course of 6 days, expert guides will lead you along this 6-day journey, giving you a chance to peek into an off-the-grid life. You will tour spectacular beaches, lush forests, mighty waterfalls, and babbling creeks, and as night falls, you’ll retreat to your million-dollar-view camps under the starry skies.

  • Meet your guide at Duke Point Ferry Terminal or one of the Nanaimo accommodations (details in the FAQ) at 7:15 am (meeting the 5:15 ferry from Tswwassen to Duke Point). You will then drive to Gold River. Here you’ll board a float plane that will fly you to the trailhead, Louis Bay, on the northwestern tip of Nootka Island. After a short, warm-up hike, arrive at your camping location or, time and tide dependent, continue to Skuna Ck.

    Guided backpacking along the Nootka Island Trail

  • The second day of the tour has you departing from the Third Beach, a long and sandy beach, and going to Skuna Creek, which would be a 2.25-kilometer (1.4-mile) hike. Tide-permitting, there’s an option to go to Crawfish Falls, a 4-6 hour hike over 15.25 km (9.5 miles)
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 2.25 km / 1.4 miles + 15.25 km / 9.5 miles
    Hiking: 1 hour + 4-6 hours

    Beach on the Nootka Island

  • Over the sandy beach, go south round bay, and follow the shoreline to the First Nations village site at Bajo Point. You’ll pass boulders and rock shelves along the way. Round point to see the Nootka Sound and Hesquiat Peninsula in the distance. There’s a long stretch of pebble beach to Beano Creek. Cross Creek if possible.
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 10.25 km / 6.4 miles
    Hiking: 3-4 hoursOverlooking a beach of Nootka Island


  • Cross the Creek if on the north side. Continue round the bay below cliffs or along the trail through forest. There will be a short, 10-meter rope section. You’ll reach Calicum Ck and lots of pocket beaches. Walk further to the sea cave beach, and a bit further on there will be a second rope into the forest. End your day at Maquina Pt.
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 6.25 km / 3.9 miles
    Hiking: 3-4 hours

    Nootka Island beach

  • Walk across the lagoon and along pebble beach to Friendly Cove, where you’ll set up cam. Take it easy the rest of the day—swim in the warm lake, explore the area, and visit Sanford Williams workshop. Enjoy your last day in the wilderness.
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

    Rocky shore on the Nootka Island

  • Take a floatplane back to Gold River, where you can have lunch. After that, drive back to Nanaimo for an afternoon ferry. Say goodbye to your guide and your team, and if you’d like to stay longer in the area, just ask your guides for some recommendations!

    Nootka Island Trail beach

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Meet your guide

Coastal Bliss Adventure
Coastal Bliss Adventure
Founded in 2009 and based on Vancouver Island, BC, Coastal Bliss gathers people from all over the world on multi-day wilderness adventures in their highly dramatic “backyard”. They offer hiking, backpacking, kayaking and canoeing trips of any outdoor enthusiast’s dream, all while staying committed to environmental protection.
5.00 (5 reviews)
Jan G (source: Trip Advisor)

In 2014 I was guided by James and Georgia of Coastal Bliss on the West Coast Trail … an amazing trip … the food, the organisation, the company and the evening readings about shipwrecks on the very coast where we had hiked that day.
When I decided to visit Canada again this year, 2016, I again joined a Coastal Bliss guided hike, the Nootka Trail. Once again a brilliant experience … the hiking seems easy when all the arrangements have been smoothly made with no worries about cooking, water filtering, route or attempting to hang food bags away from the wildlife! The evening readings were again exciting and not to be missed ….
Truly coastal bliss!

Sarah B (source: Trip Advisor)

What a well organized Tour. The guides did the best job ever. Thank you Gary and Travis! I would 100% recommend Costal Bliss Adventures to friends and family and any other people who are ready for an unforgettable adventure 🙂

Oso De los Osos (source: Google Reviews)

Fantastic company! Can’t speak highly enough. A company with a heart and soul and love for what they do. Very detail oriented to ensure that everyone is safe and has a great time. Most definitely plan to return!

Christine Talaga Morgan (source: Google Reviews)

I had a great experience at Coastal Bliss- Georgia went out of her way to accommodate my needs. Loved this outfit- if everyone could be this friendly and generous the world would be a better place!

Kayla Potvin (source: Google Reviews)

Could not have had a better experience. Went above and beyond! Will be back next time we are in the area

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 6-day hiking tour along the Nootka Island Trail
      • Pick-up and drop-off to the meeting point
      • All park fees and camping fees
      • Group equipment (bear spray, water purification, hatchet, bum pad)
      • All meals (except on travel days)
      • Tent (shared)
      • Gear rental options

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to the meeting point (Nanaimo)
      • National Park entry fees
      • Accommodation before and after the tour
      • Some meals — details in the itinerary
      • Backpack — available for rent
      • Sleeping bags or mats — available for rent
      • Guide gratuities — optional ($10-20 per day per guide is recommended)
  • The Nootka Island Trail is a 37-kilometer (23-mile) trail which will be dispersed over the course of 6 days. Some days are longer than others, but you still need to have great fitness as you’ll be carrying a 33-43 pound backpack (15-20 kg) all the way through. Apart from that, the trail and terrain can get tricky at times.

    Interested in some other hiking tours in Canada? Check out this hiking adventure along the majestic West Coast Trail, one to three days of hiking in Revelstoke, or an all-women hiking holiday in Canada.

  • Travel as light as possible with necessities and have as many things as possible be dual use. Typical final pack weights (with food and tent) are between 33 and 43 pounds (15-20 kg). When you’re packing, you’re doing so without food, group gear, and tent, so make sure your target pre-trip backpack weight without all of it as well as water is 22–27 pounds (10-12.25 kg), lower is better. Once you meet your guide, you’ll add the rest to your backpack.

    Here’s a list of clothing we suggest you bring:

      • Full rain gear
      • Hiking boots — high-top and waterproof, as you will walk through water, make sure they’re not older than about 8 years (due to the effective life of glue)
      • Water shoes — no flip flops, get sandals that wrap your ankles
      • Toque / wool or fleece hat
      • Hiking pants and shorts
      • Hiking shirts
      • Jacket / fleece — Thinsulate or Thermaloft are great, lighter and warmer than fleece, though fleece will do
      • Socks — wool socks are best
      • Underwear
      • Swimwear
      • Gaiters

    Here’s a list of the equipment and personal items you need to bring:

      • Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (at least a 60L bag) — can be rented
      • Backpack rain cover
      • Sleeping bag (0°, but feel free to go lower if you’re cold-natured. It should be lightweight and synthetic, avoid down sleeping bags unless you know how to keep down dry in a wet environment)
      • Sleeping pad (closed cell foam is adequate, Thermarest and similar add comfort)
      • Hydration system (2L minimum dromedary bag is best, though a water bottle works well enough)
      • Hiking poles — optional
      • Canadian cash
      • Sunhat and sunglasses
      • Garbage / ziplock bags for waterproofing purposes
      • Towel
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, toothbrush, etc.)
      • First aid (bandages, blister bandages, tensor bandage, duct tape (2-3 mm layer), medications and prescription meds—bring an extra set to give to the guide as backup)
      • Headlamp or flashlight (bring extra batteries)
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this backpacking adventure along the Nootka Island Trail, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 8:1. The maximum group size is 8.
      • It takes at least 4 clients for the tour to run.
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

    Backpacking along the Nootka Island Trail can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Nanaimo, the starting point of your tour, most people fly into Vancouver International Airport (YVR) or Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Connect to Vancouver Island using ferry, bus, or air. From there, you can reach Nanaimo by ferry or plane. If you’re traveling from afar, make sure to arrive a day early since you’ll be meeting your guide early in the morning of Day 1.

    You’ll meet your guide on Day 1 in Departure Bay, Duke Point Ferry Terminal. Here’s a list of other possible meeting locations and accommodations a day prior to and after the tour.

      • Days Inn Harbour View Nanaimo
        Address: 809 Island Hwy South, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, V9R 5K1
        Phone (250) 754-8171
      • Best Western Dorchester Hotel
        Address: 70 Church, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, V9R 5H4
        Phone: (250) 754-6835
      • Painted Turtle Guesthouse
        Address: 121 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, British Columbia CANADA, V9R 3A2
        Toll Free: 1-866-309-4432
        Phone: (250) 753-4432
  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Nootka, British Columbia, please refer to BC’s COVID-19 travel guidance.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • A 30% non-refundable deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 2 months (60 days) prior to departure. Please keep in mind that the tour will not operate with less than four clients. Departures will be guaranteed 60 days prior to departure at the latest.

      • If a trip has less than four bookings at the 60 day mark, it will be cancelled and Client is entitled to a full refund.
      • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to sixty (60) days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund, less the deposit.
      • If Client cancels the Booking within sixty (60) days of a guaranteed departure, Client is not entitled to any refund to ensure that the costs of running the trip are covered.
      • If final payment is not received by 60 days prior to the departure date of your registered trip, Guide reserves the right to treat the reservation as canceled. Both deposit (less a $50 administrative fee), and full balance of payment will be refunded if we can replace your spot with another participant after all other spots have been filled.
Have more questions? Read our FAQ, or Talk with us
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