Day 5 on the West Coast TrailDay 5 on the West Coast Trail is a stunning, very difficult and tremendously enjoyable day of hiking. Walbran Creek is gorgeous campsite to wake up to. Your tent will open up to a sweeping view of Juan de Fuca Strait, with the ocean just a dozen metres away. Waking up at Walbran is particularly nice as it exhibits so many great features of the West Coast Trail.

Ever present ocean views, big and wide body of water flowing from the forest, cliffs with sea caves to explore, nice relaxing beach, fun cable car crossing and challenging, yet exhilarating hiking terrain in both directions. The West Coast Trail is so amazing, because it is so difficult. Long ladders, narrow bridges and steep terrain ensure that you don't get bored while hiking.

You have to focus on every step or you may sink into mud up to your knees, or slip on a tree root that topples you into the mud. You must be aware of every ladder rung, as some are missing and they are always slippery. It never escapes your mind that one misstep could send you crashing down hard. The kilometre markers on the West Coast Trail indicate that the hiking distance, Walbran Creek to Cullite Cove is 5 kilometres. Normal hiking speed on a nice, flat beach is about 5 kilometres per hour. You will be lucky to cover the distance today at a speed faster than 1 kilometre per hour. The trail is constantly up and down, zig-zagging left and right. All the time through a thick tangled rainforest with sections of trail destroyed by giant, fallen trees from the previous winter. This section of the West Coast Trail has you crossing the extraordinarily elaborate network of ladders and narrow bridge that gets you past Logan Creek. Though the creek is an average creek size, the gorge that surrounds it is enormous.

The suspension bridge that spans it is over 100 metres long(330 feet)! The astounding length of the bridge is only part of what makes it fantastic. The other is that it is very narrow. The entire length is a collection of 4x10 inch wood boards running end to end with wooden ribs underneath. Two sturdy iron cables run the length and serve as your handholds. Certainly the reason for this design is because of the long length, cost cutting or both. But the result is sensational. It is narrow, bouncy and sways. It is an exhilarating feeling crossing a long bridge with the surface under your boots is just 10 inches wide! When you finally get across to the other end you find a ladder, then another ladder, a wooden walkway to another, very long ladder, then another wooden walkway, some stairs to another wooden walkway, then one last, very long ladder. Looking back to the bridge and a hiker midway looks very small. Looking across to the other side, you can't even see the ladder through the curtain of forest. Some hikers groan about the abundance of ladders on the West Coast Trail, but most see them as a work of art and the Logan crossing is the masterpiece!

Cullite Creek Cable Car Crossing on the West Coast TrailTwo kilometres of very arduous trail gets you to to yet another extraordinary cable car crossing. Very long, it spans the gorge with Cullite Cove flowing underneath. Almost all West Coast Trail hikers don't bother with the 15 minute hike down the network of ladders that takes you to Cullite Cove. There are two good reasons for this. First the West Coast Trail in both directions is some of the toughest kilometres you will encounter on the entire length. Taking a detour down a bunch of ladders to sightsee when you are exhausted is an easy thing to talk yourself out of. The other reason is the location of campsites. Owing to its location along the West Coast Trail, everyone camps at Camper Bay, just 4 kilometres away. When hiking from the south, hikers always underestimate the difficulty of the trail and overestimate their endurance. Camping after just 4 kilometres of hiking on your second day on the trail barely registers as an option for most. Such a shame. But great for you if you visit or camp at Cullite Cove because it is one of the nicest campsites on the West Coast Trail. If there was ever a section of the trail to take your time and enjoy, it is this stretch.

West Coast Trail Day 5 Walbran to Cullite

Walbran Creek Campsite at 53k

Walbran Creek Campsite Rating - West Coast TrailWalbran Creek at 53k is home to possibly the best, and most unappreciated campsites on the West Coast Trail. It encapsulates so much that makes the West Coast Trail truly wonderful. The expansive beach which seems purpose built for enjoyability is flanked by scenic cliffs and creek on one side, the pacific ocean on the other, and backed by the emerald coloured Walbran Creek that flows through the jungle valley spanned by a cable car crossing! Of the list of pro's and con's for Walbran Creek, the list is hopelessly lopsided to the pro's. The Walbran Creek campsite is reached in the middle of the most challenging, invigorating, stunning, bewildering and breathtaking section of the West Coast Trail. The ladders you encounter heading either direction from the campsite are astounding in size. One after another you ascend and descend the most improbably long and slippery, wooden ladders that always feel solid and safe, despite their obvious age and weathering.

Even the cable car crossing is exhilarating. It is a very long one and this one in particular invites you to stop midway and take in the stunning view in either direction. Upstream the view is an emerald coloured creek(though it looks more like a river in size), flanked by a beautifully tangled rainforest jungle. The view in the other direction is of the Pacific Ocean framed by trees on either side. Though this image is pretty, it doesn't reveal the true beauty of the campsite that spills out along the beach, just out of view. For most, this cable car glimpse is the closest they get to the Walbran Creek campsite. Such a shame as they are passing a little piece of West Coast Trail paradise. If you do venture down the short side trail to the campsite, almost entirely on the beach you will be instantly surprised by the beach of weather rounded rocks and maze of driftwood logs. Though a beautiful, sandy beach may be your ideal, a pebble beach is a close second. Clean and tidy, you don't get a sleeping bag full of sand.

Walbran Creek Campsite on the West Coast Trail

Logan Creek Crossing at 56k

The Logan Creek crossing is a wonderful feature of the West Coast Trail and certainly one of the top highlights of the trail. The 100 metre span along a narrow 10 inch wide wooden platform makes it all the more dramatic. Even the bravest hikers tend to grasp the side cables the entire length. The ladders on either side are equally marvelous. As you look back after climbing the last ladder, you stare in amazement. The memorable moments on the West Coast Trail number in the hundreds, but this moment surely rests near the top of that list.

Logan Creek Crossing on Day 5 of the West Coast Trail

Cullite Cove Campsite at 58k

Cullite Cove Campsite Rating - West Coast TrailCullite Cove is a wonderful campsite on the West Coast Trail at the 58 kilometre mark. One of the nicest campsites you will find on the West Coast Trail. It has everything, a lovely wooded area with clearings for tents and campfires. Stunning views all around. A terrific, rocky beach, beautifully hemmed in by towering cliffs on either side. Cullite Creek pours into the cove, making for a stunning, albeit freezing swim into the surf. Cullite Cove is a close to perfect as a campsite can get.  Cullite Creek is beautiful, crystal clear green, big and slow moving into Cullite Cove, a picture perfect beach hemmed in by majestic cliffs on both sides.  Just off the beach, several campsites are laid out, hidden in the trees.  Your first thought on seeing this site is to want to stay for a week.  The campsite here is often very quiet as everybody seems to camp at Camper Bay just 4 kilometres away and doesn't even drop down the short detour off the main trail to Cullite Cove

Cullite Cove Campsite on the West Coast Trail

Duchess of Argyle Shipwreck at 58k

The Duchess of Argyle Shipwreck - West Coast Trail Graveyard of the PacificThe Duchess of Argyle met her end at the mouth of Cullite Cove at the 58 kilometre mark of the West Coast Trail. She was a huge, four masted barque with an iron hull and watertight bulkheads. She was sailing in ballast from San Francisco on October 13th, 1887, bound for Vancouver. She would pick up lumber and sail for Melbourne, Australia. Sailing up the coast from San Francisco, the good weather turned bad on October 16th. For almost two weeks a powerful gale hammered the Duchess of Argyle. When the storm finally let up, Cape Flattery was sighted about 20 miles away. The ship, unable to find wind, floated with the current, inching towards Juan de Fuca Strait. Soon a small tug boat arrived to assist the enormous becalmed ship through the strait. They lowered sails and got the hawser aboard to connect the ships. The captain of the tug quickly realized that his vessel was too small to manage such a huge ship rolling in the seas. Cape Flattery was still about 14 miles distant and concealed by fog much of the time. The Duchess of Argyle wallowed in the current until midnight when a strong eastward gale gripped the ship once more. They sailed for Cape Flattery until the wind died again and on November 1st the fog lifted revealing Cape Flattery just 3 miles away. Suddenly the fog returned again, thicker than ever. They crawled forward slowly hoping for the fog to lift again. The fog didn't let up and at 315pm on November 3rd, breakers were heard...

  Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 1 Pachena to Darling Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 2 Darling to Tsusiat Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 3 Tsusiat to CarmanahHiking Route West Coast TrailDay 4 Carmanah to Walbrann

Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 5 Walbran to Cullite Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 6 Cullite to Camper Hiking Route West Coast TrailDay 7 Camper to Thrasher

 Michigan Creek at 12k Darling River at 14k Orange Juice Creek at 15k Tsocowis Creek at 16.5k Klanawa River at 23k

Tsusiat Falls at 25k Cribs Creek at 42k Carmanah Creek at 46k Bonilla Creek at 48k

Walbran Creek at 53k Cullite Cove at 58k Camper Bay at 62k Thrasher Cove at 70k

Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailPrologue Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail1: The West Coast Trail Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail2: When to Hike & Fees Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail3: Trailheads Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail4: Getting There

Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail5: Considerations Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail6: Campsites Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail7: Shipwrecks Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail8: Routes