Port Renfrew

Port Renfrew

A small town on the west coast of the Island and a 2 hour drive from Victoria, this is the western terminus for the Juan De Fuca Trail and also the last stop to re-fuel and supply before Port Alberni if heading through Carmanah, Bamfield etc.

Where to Stay?

There are a number of campgrounds around the area depending on how far from Port Renfrew you want to drive.

Pacheedaht Campground

Lizard Lake campground

Fairy Lake Rec Site

Driving Conditions!

Driving from Victoria is a beautiful drive once out past Sooke and takes roughly +/- 2Hours and is paved all the way. Though save yourself so extra time as there are a number of beautiful stops along the way.

Things to do

Avatar Grove – Just outside of Port Renfrew is a protected area of old growth forest and features Canadas ‘Gnarliest Tree’ a 3 meter wide burl.

Big Lonely Doug – A huge sitka spruce left standing along the Edmain Road below Edinburgh mountain

Juan De Fuca Trail hike – All or Sections of this outstanding coastal hike.

Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park

Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park

There are 2x entrances to this gorgeous ancient protected forest, however the best if you wanted to vehicle camp is the west side entrance roughly a 3-4 hour drive from Port Renfrew

Where to Stay?

You have a number of options.

There are 2x Vehicle camping spots available at the entrance, first come first served basis, they have a firing and picnic table.

You can camp in the car park area, there are compost toilets nearby

You can use our ground tent to camp on one of the camping pads

Or (my personal favourite) you can hike into the park and wilderness camp, during the summer months you are allowed to camp on the exposed gravel bars that you will find around the park.

Or there is 2x campsites along Nitnat Lake

Example of the exposed gravel bars

Driving Conditions!

You can access the park from either Port Renfrew of via Cowichan Lake – Once you have passed either of these though it is gravel roads from here on in and they get worse as you get closer to the park – there are a number of fallen trees across the road when heading to the main entrance and therefore larger vehicles will struggle to get through – ours fit under ok.

*When driving to the Main entrance – look out for the view point overlooking Nitnat Lake – its worth the stop.

More in depth driving instructions – drop us an email even if you aren’t booking with us we are more than happy to help.

Things to do

There are lots of great hikes in and around the park some of the notable points of interest are;

The 3 sisters – 3 large trees all grown together – unfortunately one fo the sisters fell during the storms of early 2019

Stolhmans Grove

Carmanah Giant

Paths are not maintained throughout the park though so be prepared for some bush whacking



A small community located on the Barkely Sound and provides access to portions of the Pacific Rim National Park and also home to the Music by the sea Jazz Festival. It is accessible either from Port Renfrew, Cowichan Lake or Port Alberni

Where to Stay?

There are only a handful of campgrounds nearby.

Pachena Campground – By far the most popular offers hot showers, flushing toilets and ocean front campsites.

Or there is another campground a bit north of Bamfield. Poett Nook Marina and Campground.

If you didn’t want to camp and wanted to treat yourself there is the options of staying at Pacific Gateway Wilderness Lodge with offers waterfront cabins, or rooms in the Main lodge.

Driving Conditions!

You can access through 3 ways depending on what you are linking it too. More in depth driving instructions – drop us an email even if you aren’t booking with us we are more than happy to help.

Via Port Renfrew, past the turning for Nitnat Lake and Cowichan and head towards Port Alberni before turning off and following the signs down to Bamfield, it is gravel from Port Renfrew onwards.

Via Cowichan Lake take the Hwy 1 from Victoria and turn left onto the Hwy 18 after Duncan, follow the road through Cowichan Lake and follow the directions to Youbou from here it becomes gravel roads and this brings you to the same turning as from Port Renfrew.

Via Port Alberni take the Hwy 1 from Victoria and past Nanaimo as it becomes the Hwy 19, taking the Hwy 4 turning towards Port Alberni and following the directions to Bamfield keeping the Alberni inlet on your left. Its gravel from Port Alberni onwards.

Things to do

Pacific Rim National Park

If you are staying at the Pachena Campground then you can easily access the Pachena Trail Head which links to the West Coast Trail

There is also the Cape Beale Trail and Keeha Beach trail – relatively short day hikes from Bamfield.

Route conditions

For updated hike conditions

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

I recently went on a short excursion to test out some of the routes we will be offering this season and to check road conditions to the various camps – we don’t recommend any unpaved roads to clients that we haven’t personally driven and you will see why this is so important.   Myself (sam),

Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3…….Part 2

Part 2: Next it was time to head off again and drive towards Port Alberni, we took the Bamfield road and then continued on towards port Alberni instead of taking the turn to Bamfield. I decided at this point to go on a wild goose chase, and the details of which could probably fill a

Testing Testing 1,2,3…..Part 3

Now heading back towards Nitnat Lake, the original plan was to go to tofino, but a reported heavy storm coming in succepered that plan and I had noticed a potential road leading down to the west coast trail so I thought I would do some more exploring back in that area. On the return journey,