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British Columbia, Canada: Nootka Trail

Trace the rugged and remote coastline of Nootka Island on this memorable 22-mile point-to-point that connects rocky beaches and incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.

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The rugged and rain-lashed shores of Canada’s Pacific Coast harbor some of the continent’s most remote seaside wilderness. On these 22 southbound miles, you’ll see black bears and bald eagles as old-growth stands of red cedar open onto seaweed and rock-studded beaches. If not for buoys and metal tags tacked onto tree trunks, the trail would be indistinguishable from the many wildlife paths that crisscross this coastal paradise.
INFO: $40/person to cross Mowachaht tribal land.
• A tide table is indispensable for coastal hikes, where unforeseen high water may trap you short of a campsite or imperil your group with breaking waves.

• Don’t rely on the tide chart from the nearest harbor—the time and height of tides may vary dramatically along a coastline. Before your hike, inquire locally about variation.

• Most of the world’s tides are semidiurnal, with two highs and two lows, about the same height, on a given day. But not everywhere. Along Nootka Island in British Columbia, for example, the two daily lows may vary by five feet or more. You may need the lower low tide to pass a stormy headland.

• The highest water (spring tides) occur around the new and full moon; the lowest (neap ties) are near the half moon.

• The time of high and low water advances about 50 minutes every day. If high tide is at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, it will be about 1:50 p.m. on Wednesday and 4:20 p.m. on Saturday.

• If in doubt, hike past a wave-threatened headland during an outgoing tide.
-Text by John Harlin III and Dougald MacDonald
-Mapped by John Harlin III

To Trailhead

Trailhead access by float plane from Gold River ($435 for 3 people on a Cessna 185;

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