Sunshine Coast Trail (British Columbia, Canada)

DISTANCE (round-trip)

111 mi (180km)

DIFFICULTY

TIME

10-12 days

ALTERNATIVE TO

The West Coast Trail

SOLITUDE

Hut to Hut Hiking Through Tranquil Old Growth Forests

The Sunshine Coast Trail is the perfect alternative option to the often crowded West Coast Trail. Although it is close to Vancouver, it’s considered a hidden gem as not as many people have heard of it. It was created in the early 90s to link together sections of the dense, fern-filled old growth forest before it disappeared.

It begins in Desolation Sound and weaves through trickling creeks, dark mossy rainforests and mirror-like lakes until it reaches the ferry terminal at Saltery Bay. The entire journey can be up to 180 km, or you can tackle it in small weekend jaunts.

Despite the name, most of the SCT is actually inland rather than on the coast. There are 13 backcountry huts on this trip, making it the first hut-to-hut hiking experience in Canada.

When to go

The driest, sunniest and most pleasant months for hiking this trail are May, July, August and September. By late September the temperatures dip down and you risk hypothermia at nighttime.

Getting there

The best jumping off point is Powell River, which can be accessed via BC Ferries or a flight from Vancouver.

Know before you go

  • Pick up a Sunshine Coast Trail Passport at Tourism Powell River before you set off, so that you can collect stamps for each hut and receive a Certificate of Completion.
  • It is possible to hike from hut to hut. There are no fees or reservations - huts are first come, first served. However, you might want to bring a tent as backup in case you don’t reach the hut you were aiming for.
  • Some of the huts have wood pellet stoves and you can buy pellets at the Visitor Info Centre.

For more information:

Photo by Rick McCharles via Flickr

Photo by Rick McCharles via Flickr

About the author

Kelly Dunning

Kelly Dunning is a Canadian freelance writer and digital nomad with a love of hiking, nature, art, culture, literature and adventure. She and her English boyfriend Lee run Global-Goose.com, a site packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel.

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