Cape Beale/Keeha Beach (Vancouver Island, Canada)

Cape Beale, Keeha Beach

DISTANCE (round-trip)

10 mi (16km)

DIFFICULTY

TIME

2 days

ALTERNATIVE TO

West Coast Trail

SOLITUDE

Borderline Bushwhacking
& Killer Coastal Views

On paper, these treks look a cinch.

Keeha Beach is a measly three kilometres from the trailhead, while the trek to the Cape Beale Lighthouse is only six kilometres. But challenges soon pop up once you’re actually hiking along these little-known routes. The way is clogged with deadfall trees stacked above long stretches of mud.

At some spots, the Cape Beale Trail seems to disappear entirely. Hikers must pay close attention to the flagging tape in the trees or else risk wandering deep into the woods.This trek is known as one of the muddiest on Vancouver Island, so it gets few trekkers outside July and August.

But those willing to slog through the muck and climb through the brush will be rewarded with pristine beaches, starfish-covered caves and a trip to Vancouver Island’s first lighthouse.

When to go

If you don’t mind dealing with a bit of mud, head out in May or June for max solitude. July and August is drier but also busier.

Getting there

The Cape Beale and Keeha Beach Trails are located near Bamfield, about 200 kilometres northwest of the City of Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada. To reach Bamfield, you must first drive a 76-kilometre gravel logging road that begins near Port Alberni. The trailhead for the treks is located at the end of Imperial Eagle Road, northwest of Bamfield.

Know before you go

  • Mud, mud and more mud. You've been warned!
  • Expect to climb over fallen trees and to press along overgrown trails
  • Be sure to head up to the lighthouse — but you’ll need to time the tides right to get there

For more information:

This is actually part of the Cape Beale Trail, not a random shot of the bushes.

The mud flats hikers must cross before arriving at the Cape Beale Lighthouse.

Gear Recommendations for this trail:

About the author

Dustin Walker

Dustin Walker is a journalist, travel copywriter and editor/owner of Slick and Twisted Trails. Follow him on Twitter @dustinjaywalker