North Coast Trail Itinerary
This is coastal hike with the terrain switching between temperate rain forest (trail with some muddy sections, boardwalks, roots, rocky sections, ladders, log and bridge crossings) and beach (gravel, rock, hard, and loose sand, slippery sections of boulders and shelf.).
Hiking distances per day on the NCT is problematic as time will differ for beach and rain forest. We usually begin hiking at 9 am, take breaks, lazy lunches (weather permitting), and look to get into camp around 4-5 in the afternoon. We usually cover from 6-12 km in a day depending on the nature of the hiked terrain. To protect the environment, we practice NoTraceCamping.
Level of Difficulty
The trip is open to people of all abilities; however, it requires physical endurance and psychological stamina. Participants should prepare by executing an exercise program coupled with some walking or running or cycling. We provide a conditioning program to assist hikers to prepare for the physical demands of the North Coast Trail.
The weather is characteristic of a marine temperate climate. It is very changeable with heavy rainfall possible even in July, August, September and likely in April, May,&June. Rainfall averages 120cm per year; summer temperature average is 14 degrees Celsius (57 F). Heavy morning fog is very common, especially in July and August. A solid week of rain can make a NCT hike a very unpleasant experience and will almost certainly delay hikers at river crossings. Be flexible… have alternative plans and allow extra days for delays due to adverse weather.
Group Size and Composition
The maximum group size is 10, two of whom are guides. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds, and abilities. People come by themselves or with family/friends. The youngest can be 13 and the oldest in their 70s. We would need to be comfortable that, at either end, the hiker is capable of taking on the heavy demands of hiking the NCT.
Our guides are highly trained and accredited leaders. They are committed to providing our guests with the best in wilderness adventure, while always focusing on safety. Our guides meet strict national and provincial park standards before they are licensed to guide on our behalf.
This is a camping trip. At night you will sleep in a top of the line tent. Typically, tenting is double occupancy, and partners are arranged by gender. You are welcome to bring your own tent but you should contact our office to ascertain the suitability of your tent to the environment. Bathroom facilities will range from outhouses to wilderness sanitation practices.
The food we bring is plentiful, nutritious, and primarily vegetarian (because this keeps better than meat). Food is divided and carried by participants. A food drop helps to reduce the overall weight that will be carried. You can expect meals to be varied, and delicious: burritos, rice, pasta, and vegetable stir-fry for dinner; bagels and sandwiches for lunch; oatmeal, and granola for breakfast. Beverages include herbal and regular tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cider. If you have special dietary restrictions or preferences, we usually can accommodate them.
We will supply you with a list of outdoor clothing and articles you will need. We supply all the group equipment including kitchen, water filters, tents, and bad weather cover. All you need to provide is your personal gear, such as clothing and a sleeping bag. A detailed equipment list will be sent to you upon confirmation of your participation. We do rent packs and sleeping bags/pads for a nominal charge (cleaning).
NORTH COAST TRAIL ITINERARY
- Food: Meals, beverages, snacks during the hike. All other will be your responsibility.
- Arrival in Departure City: Comox/Courtenay on Vancouver Island. You should be here at least one day before Day 1.
- Campsites: Our pace, weather, and other circumstances will determine where we will camp each night. The campsites in our itinerary should be viewed only as hoped-for destinations.
DAY 1– Arrangements for pickup or meeting points will be made by our lead guide via email or phone. Travel to Port Hardy. Company orientation will be at our first-night camping site.
Day 2: Scenic water taxi ride to Cape Sutil, our beach camp for the evening. Cape Sutil is a former “fortified” First Nations village.
Day 3: A number of challenging sections this day as we alternate between beaches and forest. This day’s hike has all the fundamentals of a coastal environment: headlands, coves, pocket beaches, sandy beaches, bogs, boardwalks, scrambling. Our campsite is at Irony Creek.
Day 4: Mostly beach hiking today. Great opportunities to experience tidal shelves with their tide pools and inter-tidal life. We will camp at Laura Creek..
Days 5 & 6: We will enter the trail systems in Cape Scott Provincial Park and camp for 2 days at a beautiful sandy beach at Guise Bay. This is a great location to explore further. The area has a rich historical and cultural flavour to it. First Nations, Danish settlers at the beginning of the 1900s, and a radar facility during WWII have left evidence of each of their use of the area. We will also day hike to the very tip of Vancouver Island. We will change campsites on Day 6 to Nissan Bight. This will make our exit hike on Day 7 to be more manageable.
Day 7: We will hike to the Cape Scott trailhead and return to a motel in Port Hardy for the evening. There are reminders during the hike of the Danish experiment that failed.
Day 8: We will retrace our journey south, down Vancouver Island to Comox/Courtenayy,
- Travel from Comox/Courtenay to and from the trailheads.
- Water taxi service from Port Hardy to the North Coast Trail
- Accommodation in Port Hardy
- Camping equipment such as water filters, stoves, fuel, weather tarps, pots/pans, and tents.
- All food while hiking, including snacks/beverage
- Meal preparations by guides.
- All camping fees.
- Major first aid supplies
- Satellite phone
What is excluded in the Cost
- Transportation to Vancouver Island.
- Airport or other transfers
- Hotel/motel accommodation not offered in the itinerary
- Food other than is included in the itinerary
- Personal camping equipment noted on our packing list (i.e. backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad – can be rented from us)