Clayoquot Connections

Fun, Affordable, Family Oriented Marine Tours

Hiking on Meares and Vargas Islands - Tofino

Meares Island    Open

From Tofino’s harbour you can easily see the First Nations Village of Opitsat and the forested mountains of Meares Island. The village may be twice as old as the Egyptian pyramids. Meares Island is a quick introduction to the temperate rain-forests of Vancouver Island. Designated by the First Nations Nuu-chah-nulth tribal council as an aboriginal park in 1984, Meares Island contains some of the biggest trees in Canada.

'Big Tree Trail' on Meares Island (unguided)

The ‘Hobbit-like’ boardwalk Hike of the Meares Island Big Tree Trail is 1.2 km, it meanders through a virgin forest of large Spruce, Hemlock, and giant Cedar trees; some about 6 m (20’) across and approximately 1,500-2,000 years old

You will never get lost on the easy-stroll boardwalk; however, there are steeper hand railed stairs with a 30 ft descent. Kids of all ages love going inside the massive hollow ‘Hanging Garden Tree’. Hiking briskly to the end of the boardwalk and back takes about 40 minutes to cover, however, most folks spend 1 - 1.5 hr. on the boardwalk to ensure a lasting experience. Be sure to bring your camera!

My dog and I at the (5.9 m dia.) Hanging Garden Tree on the Big Tree Trail.

My dog and I at the (5.9 m dia.) Hanging Garden Tree on the Big Tree Trail.

Hikers doing the additional 3km (2 mile) loop trail beyond the boardwalk will receive a trail map; bring your cell-phone (as reception is good) and rain boots when its wet.

Motoring through the island passages we often have close encounters with Bald Eagles and Harbour Seals for incredible photo opportunities; however, from September through October Eagle sightings are less common. On rarer occasions both Grey Whales and Orcas (Killer Whales) pass through the waters between Meares Island and Tofino. We will also tell you about First Nations rich history and of the wonders of nature.

A tower of giant Red Cedar, but still not the biggest on the trail.

A tower of giant Red Cedar, but still not the biggest on the trail.

Adults $30.

Youth (4-12) $20.

Seniors & Students $25.

Babies Free

To Book this tour on-line click button, it will take you our booking agent's secure site. We book and work from Jamie's Whaling Station in Tofino, the same page can be found at Jamies.com.

NOTE; Adults & Students pay an additional $5.00 

trail access fee to Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. Seniors & kids are exempt.

Departures are on demand; min. 2 Adult fares.  No camping. Dogs should be leashed

Duration approx.1.5 hrs for the 1.2 km. boardwalk and 2.5 hrs for the longer 'Loop Trail'.

Thank you for supporting First Nations and their efforts in maintaining and sharing old growth forests.

Lone Cone Hike'Not Available in 2020 or so far in 2021 until further notice.

Are you looking for an unguided opportunity to view Clayoquot Sound from an eagle’s perspective? This half-day plus hiking adventure will take you from the shoreline of legendary Meares Island, along a traditional mountainside footpath, to arrive at the summit (730m or 2,400 ft) of Lone Cone Mountain an extinct volcano. This vantage point affords spectacular views of the islands and inlets of the area. A true reward at the top!

It is best to leave before noon as most hikers require 5-7 hours to complete this physically demanding unescorted hike. Prepare yourself with everything you need for an in depth wilderness day trip. 

'Eagles view' of Tofino from Lone Cone Mountain on Meares Island.

'Eagles view' of Tofino from Lone Cone Mountain on Meares Island.

  Not Available in 2020.

Rates to Lone Cone Landing for Unguided Hike up Lone Cone Mtn.

Adults $45.00

Seniors/Students $40.00

Youth (4-12) 30.00

Babies Free


To Book this tour on-line click button, it will take you our booking agent's secure site. We book and work from Jamie's Whaling Station in Tofino, the same page can be found at Jamies.com.

Note: Ahousat First Nations is requiring a payment to access the Lone Cone trail of $10 per day per person or $40 a day for groups of 4 or more. You will receive a receipt/ticket. There is no trail access fee for children..

Departure times on demand; min.2 adult fares; but not too late please; and no camping on Lone Cone.

Duration 5-7 Hours.

Vargas Island Not Available in 2020 or so far in 2021.

Vargas is the larger forested relatively flat Island about 5 km (3 miles) West of Tofino and is visible here from Tofino at only a few locations; the Vargas Island Provincial Park is on the South and West of the island. For eons the two large First Nations settlements of Ahous and Yarksis thrived on Vargas Island, however, now their inhabitant’s decedents inhabit the village of Ahousat on nearby Flores Island.

Please Note; I have just been informed (April 29/14) that BC Parks no longer allows dogs into the Vargas Island Prov. Park. However, Jamie's whaling Station (where I work from) has free a 'day' (not overnight) dog kennel. Tofino Travelling Paws offers a personalized dog care service including overnight boarding, they can be reached at 250-726-5005 or [email protected]

East Coast Vargas Island

Drop-offs on the closer East coast of Vargas Island access the Old Telegraph Trail which extends 3 km (2 miles)cto the island’s West coast. The trail is quite flat and takes approx. 1 - 1.5 hr. to arrive at beautiful pristine Ahous Bay in the Vargas Island Provincial Park for camping & beach-combing. There are several other free remote beach campsites available on both the East and West coasts of the Island.

These guys hiked from East Vargas to the Little Baja Beach to camp and surf.

These guys hiked from East Vargas to the Little Baja Beach to camp and surf.

West Coast Vargas Island

We do drop-offs to the West coast of Vargas Island directly into Ahous Bay. We carry the permits (including insurance) required by BC Parks to land on the beach at Ahous Bay. It’s a great place for remote free camping & beach-combing or we could land you at some other near-by beaches for camping and/or remote surfing.

Drop-offs Vargas Island East Coast

Not Available in 2020.

Drop-off is at the Vargas Island Inn and the trail-head starts on the right side of the beach. The trail (approx 3 km or 2 miles) is mostly covered by fallen wood and can be very slippery when wet. Rain boots are advised on wet days. Be advised to also bring adequate weather gear including rain apparel, fresh water, and a cell phone.

Ahous Bay has a huge sandy beach and is an absolutely incredible wilderness location for beach-combing, camping, or just ‘chilling-out’. Often, later in the Summer Grey Whales come to the bay to feed. As there are resident wolves on Vargas Island, we will inform you how to minimize the harm of human exposure to them.

There are several other free remote beach campsite locations on both the East and West coasts of the island.

Camping on the beach.

Camping on the beach.

Prices are round-trip

Adults $90.00      Seniors/Students $85.00 Youth (4-12) $60.00       Babies Free

Note: Ahousat First Nations is asking for a voluntary payment to access their traditional territories. It is $10 per day per person or $40 a day for groups of 4 or more. This includes Vargas Island, you would receive a receipt.

Note; Because the drop-off adventures to Vargas Island often require an exchange of info we do not offer on line booking for this tour option. Contact info is below. Check blog for BC Parks updates.

Campfires are allowed in BC Parks but must be small and below the high tide level.

Departure times on demand; min. 2 adult fares.

For more info contact the skipper at dennis_ [email protected]. (there is a '_' between 's' & 'k')

Although Ahous Bay is within the Vargas Island Prov. Park, it is Ahousat First Nations Territory, please give it your fullest respect. There is an ‘Indian Reserve’ at Ahous Point , please get permission from the Ahousat Band office before entering; you can reach them at 250 670-9563.

Drop-offs Vargas Island West Coast  Not Available in 2020 and so far in 2021.

Ahous Bay has a huge sandy beach and is an absolutely incredible wilderness location for beach-combing, camping, or just ‘chilling-out’. Be advised to bring adequate weather gear including rain apparel, fresh water, and a cell phone.

Often, later in the Summer Grey Whales come to the bay to feed. As there are resident wolves on Vargas Island, we will inform you how to minimize the harm of human exposure to them.

There are several other wilderness beach campsite locations on both the East and West coasts, camping on Vargas Island is free. Or if remote surfing is your thing we can drop you off at beaches to the West and North of Ahous Bay for the day or as long as you like.

Prices are round-trip

Adults $45.00

Seniors/Students $40.00

Youth (4-12) 30.00

Babies Free

Minimum $220 threshold payment for return charter to go or $110 each leg of transport.

Note: Ahousat First Nations is asking for a voluntary payment to access their traditional territories. It is $10 per day per person or $40 a day for groups of 4 or more. This includes Vargas Island, you would receive a receipt.

Note; Because the drop-off adventures to Vargas Island often require an exchange of info we do not offer on line booking for this tour option. Contact info is below. Check blog for BC Parks updates.

Campfires are allowed in BC Parks but must be small and below the high tide level.

Departure times on demand.

For more info contact the skipper at dennis [email protected]. (that is dennis_kay99...)

Although Ahous Bay is within the Vargas Island Prov. Park, it is Ahousat First Nations territory, please give it your fullest respect. The ‘Indian Reserve’ at Ahous Point will be pointed out to you, please get permission from the Ahousat Band office before entering; you can reach them at 250 670-9563.

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