A to Z West Coast TrailJuan de Fuca Strait is the 154km long and 16km to 32km wide stretch of ocean that separates Vancouver Island from the northwest corner of Washington State. The international boundary between Canada and the United State runs down the centre of the strait. It was named in 1787 by the English explorer Charles Barkley for Greek navigator Juan de Fuca, who sailed in a Spanish expedition in 1592 and was possibly the first western explorer to encounter the strait.

West Coast Trail Shipwrecks

 Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailAlaskan at 4k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailSoquel at 5k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailSarah at 7k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailBecherdass-Ambiadass at 8k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailMichigan at 12k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailUzbekistan at 13.8k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailVarsity at 17.6k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailValencia at 18.3k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailJanet Cowan at 19k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailRobert Lewers at 20k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailWoodside at 20.2k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailUncle John at 26.2k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailVesta at 29k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailRaita at 33k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailSkagit at 34.2k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailSanta Rita at 37k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailDare at 39k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailLizzie Marshall at 47k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailPuritan at 48.5k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailWempe Brothers at 49.4k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailDuchess of Argyle at 58k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailJohn Marshall at 62.3k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailWilliam Tell at 64.2 Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailRevere at 69k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailCyrus at 75k

West Coast Trail Campsites

Pachena Bay Campground West Coast Trail CampsitesMichigan Creek at 12k West Coast Trail CampsitesDarling River at 14k West Coast Trail CampsitesOrange Juice Creek at 15k West Coast Trail CampsitesTsocowis Creek at 16.5k West Coast Trail CampsitesKlanawa River at 23k West Coast Trail CampsitesTsusiat Falls at 25k West Coast Trail CampsitesCribs Creek at 42k West Coast Trail CampsitesCarmanah Creek at 46k West Coast Trail CampsitesBonilla Creek at 48k West Coast Trail CampsitesWalbran Creek at 53k West Coast Trail CampsitesCullite Cove at 58k West Coast Trail CampsitesCamper Bay at 62k Thrasher Cove - West Coast Trail CampsitesThrasher Cove at 70k Pacheedaht CampgroundCape

By the late 1800’s Juan de Fuca Strait was the main commercial trading route for ships for western Canada and much of northwestern United States. Nearly every major trading nation in the world sent ships in and out of Juan de Fuca Strait. Two lighthouses were constructed to guard the entrance, the Cape Flattery Lighthouse in 1857 on the US side and Carmanah Point Lighthouse in 1891 on Vancouver Island. The Umatilla Lightship was added south of Cape Flattery in 1897 and the Swiftsure Lightship northwest of Cape Flattery in 1909. The Pachena Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1908 just 24 kilometers up the coast from Carmanah Point Lighthouse. Even with this concentration of lighthouses and lightships the brutal weather, changing currents and fog were still too overpowering to many ships and shipwrecks along the Graveyard of the Pacific continued for decades. The picture below is near the 32km marker of the West Coast Trail, just 12 kilometres west of the Carmanah Point Lighthouse which is at 44km. The view is looking across the mouth of Juan de Fuca Strait and the point of land in the distance is the United States and Cape Flattery is just beyond the tip.

Juan de Fuca Strait from the West Coast Trail

Juan de Fuca Strait Lighthouses Map v3

Vancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962

Vancouver Island's West CoastVancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962 by George Nicholson is a fantastic history that gives you a window to a staggering array of events that occurred during those two eventful centuries. The amount of research that went into this book must have been colossal. Dozens and dozens of beautiful illustrations bring the people and places to life. Published in 1965 after decades of living in the area, Nicholson is able to write about events he was part of. Other events that happened before his time, he is able to describe in detail only possible by living in the area and knowing every feature of the land. His sources are from the written journals of the many explorers in the area. You know you are in for a wild ride from the first sentence of the book. “The history of British Columbia begins at Nootka”. Along with the wonderful history of the west coast along and beyond the West Coast Trail, two of the West Coast Trail shipwrecks are written in vivid detail about. The tragic story of the Valencia disaster and the Janet Cowan shipwreck are told in two separate chapters. Also, the Uzbekistan shipwreck that occurred at the outflow of Darling River is briefly mentioned. One of the photos in the book is of the Uzbekistan shortly after breaking up on the reef and is an amazing view of the wreck you tend to never see. All the other well-known West Coast Trail shipwrecks are mentioned in one chapter titled, “Forty Wrecks, One for Every Mile”.  Tsusiat Falls has a chapter devoted to it as well as the Carmanah Lighthouse and the Cape Flattery Lighthouse. Vancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962 can be found online on Amazon and many other online book stores. Vancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962 continued here...

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Cape Flattery Lighthouse is located on the United States side of the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait. Began operation in 1857, the lighthouse tower is 20 metres tall and standing on a cliff the tower’s light stands 50 metres above the water. Cape Flattery ...
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Owen Point, at about the 67km mark on the West Coast Trail is home to a stunningly colourful and well hidden area of sandstone caves carved out by the ocean. Centuries of crashing waves have gouged out huge, circular openings in the cliffs jutting out into the ...
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Day 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 ...
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Cullite Cove is a wonderful campsite on the West Coast Trail at the 58 kilometre mark. One of the nicest campsites that has everything, a lovely wooded area with clearings for tents and campfires, stunning views all around. A terrific, pebble beach, beautifully ...
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Walbran Creek at 53k is home to possibly the best, and most unappreciated campsites on the West Coast Trail. The Walbran Creek campsite encapsulates so much that makes the West Coast Trail truly wonderful. The expansive beach which seems purpose built for ...
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Camper Bay campsite at the 62km mark of the West Coast Trail is very nice, similar to Cullite Cove there are cliffs on either side and a large creek flowing through. The downside is crowding due to the difficulty of the trail making it an almost essential campsite ...
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One of the most popular and beautiful campsites along the West Coast Trail is Tsusiat Falls. Tsusiat Falls is one of the main highlights on the trail with its dramatically wide and beautifully picturesque appearance. You will find Tsusiat Falls at the base of an ...
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