Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailThe Unforgiving Coast is an excellent book which has separate chapters for some of the most tragic shipwrecks in the Pacific Northwest from Oregon to British Columbia. Though only one West Coast Trail shipwreck is found in this book, the Valencia, it is well worth reading as the author brings the story together in a very readable way. One good and bad aspect of the Valencia disaster is the great amount of public attention it garnered in the months and even years after.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailOf the many shipwrecks along the West Coast Trail the Valencia stands out as shockingly horrific in almost every detail. First the ship wrecked about 100 feet from the West Coast of Vancouver Island. She was intentionally driven up on the reef after an initial impact on an unseen pinnacle. The quick thinking of the caption by crashing on the reef close to shore should have saved everyone, however over the next 36 hours most would die in the most heart wrenching and brutal ways.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailGreat Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast by Robert C. Belyk is a wonderful book highlighting many of the most interesting shipwrecks along the Pacific Coast. The book is divided into 10 chapters, each about one remarkable shipwreck. The Valencia appears in the sixth chapter titled: "Valencia: Appointment with Death". Belyk has great, descriptive titles for each chapter, such as "Yankee Blade: Wreck of a Gold Ship".

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast Trail"Breakers Ahead!" written by R. Bruce Scott, who began living in Bamfield in 1930 and spent the next few decades pushing for the development of a park on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  After he retired in 1960, he began researching and writing this book, which he hoped would illustrate the interesting history of the coast and encourage its development into a park.  In 1970 his book was published and the West Coast National Park was created.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailShipwrecks Off Juan de Fuca by James A. Gibbs, published in 1968 is an amazing book about shipwrecks on both sides off Juan de Fuca Strait. What makes it such a great book is Gibbs lifetime of research on shipwrecks, his remarkable familiarity of the area and his tremendous ability to weave together the fascinating history of the area.  He doesn’t just outline shipwrecks with a list of facts, but rather goes into details that bring the harrowing tales to life.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailVancouver 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.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailSOS North Pacific by Gordon R. Newell, published in 1955 is a well written account of many of the most interesting shipwrecks that happened in the North Pacific from Grays Harbor in the United States up to Alaska. The only shipwreck along the West Coast Trail he writes about in wonderful detail is the Valencia, which he describes in thrilling detail. You can almost feel icy water as he depicts the victims of this tragic shipwreck slipping under the crashing waves.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailThe Wreck of the Steamer Valencia, written in 1906 is the result of the intense investigation by US government as directed by President Theodore Roosevelt. The result of the thorough investigation was made into a book widely distributed at the time. It lays out in methodical and tantalizing detail all the events that occurred leading up to, during and after the disaster. Many survivors and witnesses gave their accounts of what happened.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailMore Shipwrecks of British Columbia by Fred Rogers follows his first book Shipwrecks of British Columbia. Taken together, these books cover a staggering number of shipwrecks all around Vancouver Island. What sets these two books apart from all other West Coast Trail shipwreck books is that Rogers is a wreck diver and has inspected up close, hundreds of shipwrecks, including many along the West Coast Trail.

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The West Coast Trail Guide

When shipping in and out of Juan de Fuca Strait rapidly increased in the mid 1800's and an alarming and costly number of ships were lost, the need for a inland trail was realized. It would take decades, and many more brutal and costly shipwrecks in the waters leading to
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The West Coast Trail is incredible. Everything about it is amazing. From the wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to endless jaw dropping views. And it's tough.  Very tough.  It is a trail that shouldn't exist. Hiking trails always form out of the easiest route worn ...
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The West Coast Trail hiking season is confined to just five months due to the dangerously stormy weather during the winter months. In the winter the days are short, tides are high and heavy rain and strong winds are frequent. Hiking the trail in the summer is tough ...
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There are three entry/exit points for the West Coast Trail, however the midway entry/exit point at Nitinaht Narrows is for hikers only hiking part of the trail. The two main entry points are at Pachena Bay in the north(Bamfield) and Gordon River in the south(Port ...
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There are lots of options to getting to the West Coast Trail. The trail is linear so you have to arrange to get to the trailhead as well as from your exit trailhead. Most West Coast Trail hikers drive to one trailhead then bus to the other and hike back to their car. ...
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The West Coast Trail is a very tough hike. About one out of one hundred hikers don't make it, they need to be rescued. That's why there are so many fees. By the time you are done preparing and registering, you laugh at how hiking got so expensive. Isn't hiking usually ...
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West Coast Trail Shipwrecks

At about 47 kilometres along the West Coast Trail you will pass the final resting place of the Lizzie Marshall. On February 7th, 1884, this 434 ton American ship headed out of San Francisco to an ...
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The Janet Cowan was a steel sailing vessel, four-masted, bark rigged, of 2498 tons built at Glasgow in 1889. She was wrecked at about the 19 kilometre mark on the West Coast Trail with several lives ...
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The Varsity was a fishing boat of 90 tons, returning to Puget Sound from California on February 5th, 1940. In bad weather and stormy seas, she abruptly struck the shore, just a kilometre past, what is ...
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The Skagit, a 3 masted barkentine of 506 tons was wrecked on the reef in front of Clo-oose on what is now the West Coast Trail. This 156 foot ship was built in Port Ludlow, Washington in 1883 and ...
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West Coast Trail Campsites

The Pacheedaht Campground is a beautiful, and often bustling campground, quite close to the Gordon River trailhead for the West Coast Trail. Pacheedaht Beach is exactly what you would hope for in a Vancouver Island, west coast beach. It is a two kilometres long, ...
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The Bonilla Creek campsite at 48km on the West Coast Trail is easy to miss, as it looks very unassuming from the beach. Most hikers pass by Bonilla Falls, which is nestled against a small cliff at the edge of a suddenly deep forest. And the forest hides a nice ...
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Cribs Creek at 42k of the West Coast Trail is a beautiful, clean, and surprisingly emerald coloured creek that flows through the messy, beach campsite. The pretty creek is about the only nice part about this campsite. The beach is not great, it smells of ageing seaweed, ...
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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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West Coast Trail A to Z

Darling Falls has to be the most overlooked and underrated feature of the West Coast Trail. It never even appeared in West Coast Trail guidebooks until recently and hardly any websites or blogs give it a mention. There are some good reasons for this. First, the ...
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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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There are quite a few books about West Coast Trail shipwrecks, though many of them are tough to find and written decades ago. Here is a list of the ones we have found with the best information on the often scarce history of many of the lesser known shipwrecks ...
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Explore BC Hiking Destinations!

The West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail is incredible. Everything about it is amazing. From the wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to endless jaw dropping views. And it's tough.  Very tough.  It is a trail that shouldn't exist. Hiking trails always form out of the easiest route worn ...
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Victoria Hiking Trails

Victoria has a seemingly endless number of amazing hiking trails.  Most take you to wild and beautiful Pacific Ocean views and others take you to tranquil lakes in beautiful BC Coastal Rainforest wilderness.  Regional Parks and Provincial Parks are everywhere you turn ...
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Clayoquot Hiking Trails

Clayoquot Sound has a staggering array of hiking trails within it.  Between Tofino and Ucluelet, Pacific Rim National Park has several wilderness and beach trails, each one radically different from the last.  The Islands in the area are often Provincial Parks on their ...
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Whistler Hiking Trails

Whistler is an amazing place to hike. Looking at a map of Whistler you see an extraordinary spider web of hiking trails. Easy trails, moderate trails and challenging hiking trails are all available. Another marvellous thing about Whistler is that Garibaldi Provincial Park ...
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Squamish Hiking Trails

Squamish sits in the midst of some amazing places to hike. Garibaldi Park sprawls from Squamish up and beyond Whistler. Tantalus Provincial Park lays across the valley to the west and the beautiful and desolate, by comparison, Callaghan Valley to the north. Add to ...
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