UPDATE: Schooner Cove Trail has been closed after sustaining major storm damage, and Parks Canada is working closely with the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on the future of the area. In the meantime, visitors can check out nearby trails on Long Beach like Rainforest Trail A and B and Shorepine Bog Trail.
Rugged Vancouver Island is a treasured spot for many Canadians—a dazzling gem on the country’s far west coast with shimmering sandy beaches, thick old-growth forests, surf-worthy swells and winding roads leading to tranquil coves. At its heart is the resort town of Tofino, a treasured escape for city slickers who seek respite at charming resorts like the Wickaninnish Inn where guests cozy up in front of a fireplace overlooking the ocean, and listen to the waves crashing against the shoreline as they drift off into a blissful sleep.
One of the best hikes in Tofino is the Schooner Cove Trail in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, which has an enviable perch on the tip of the continent. When paired with a whale watching tour to enjoy the company of massive grey whales spouting out fountains of air, this easy hike is a great add-on to experience some of the area’s top attractions in a single day.
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Schooner Cove Trail
The trailhead is located about 16 kilometres from the townsite, where a wooden boardwalk lined with vibrant green moss and foliage leads through an enchanting forest, complete with hanging vines and gargantuan cedars. To say the area is photo heaven is an understatement.
The easily navigable trail is only one kilometre from the Schooner Cove parking lot, meaning the whole walk only takes about 15 minutes until you hit the beach—unless you stop to take 100 photos every five steps like yours-truly. Despite our group’s leisurely pace, it wasn’t long before we could hear the sound of waves lapping at the shoreline, and emerged from the forest’s shaded canopy to find an expansive beach spread out before us.
We’d arrived at Schooner Cove, located on the northern tip of Long Beach which traces the coastline for another 10 kilometres and is one of the best Tofino trails. The light was ethereal, casting a white glow over the golden sand and washing out the craggy rocks clinging to the shore. Like excited kids let out for recess, we all immediately set off in a million different directions, eager to explore the sandbars and scamper up the massive black boulders in search of the perfect shot.
The tide was low, the sun shone bright, and a hint of salt from the ocean waves made its way through the crisp, fresh air. It’s easy to see why Schooner Cove trail is one of the top Tofino hikes, good for all abilities and ages with a great variety of landscapes all along the way.
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This article was originally published in April 2017 and updated in January 2021
I’ve always wanted to visit Vancouver! What a beautiful looking place, we will have to check out Tofino when we do make it. The Samsung Galaxy 8 takes some incredible photos!
What a beautiful hike! Love all your nature photos!
Awesome hike. There are so many places I want to hike to in Canada already. Thanks for this inspiration.
This is one area of the Vancouver Island I didn’t do and regret missing it. I hope to hit it up again soon. THis hike looks totally awesome.
I definitely need to go back and spend more time there- all of my trips to the island seem to be such a whirlwind!
I was not familiar with Tofino but your pictures are making me want to go! The Samsung camera seems like its very high quality and takes really nice pictures, especially the one of the trees, so beautiful!
Wow, Tofino is gorgeous through your photography! Great job! The beach is sensational.
Looks like an amazing trail! We have been trying to plan a trip out to BC, so I’ll have to add this hike to our list for when we do get to visit. Such a gorgeous spot and I love the change of landscapes you encounter on the trail!
Have yet to explore any of Canada but the Pacific Rim nature reserve sounds awesome. Definitely makes a difference having a nice camera to capture it all. When my iPhone dies I’m thinking seriously about a Samsung.
Oh man you must come to Canada, it’s incredible!
Wow these photos were all taken with a Samsung Galaxy S8?! Incredible – I have a very old Samsung and it’s starting to wear out, so I need to upgrade – the camera on my current model is shocking, but these shots are incredible. Thansk for the tip.
I love Tofino, we visited last year and spent a while driving around Vancouver and Vancouver Island – really loved the area 🙂
A car is great to have when exploring Vancouver Island- there are so many amazing spots to explore!
Nice set of photos, these are. I particularly loved the second photo. It looks like a great place to visit.
Tofino looks magnificent. It’s cool that you were able to capture is beautiful scenery with the use of your cellphone. I haven’t heard so much about Tofino but it has a very great edge to be visited by a lot of tourists. it’s rugged look and laid back ambiance gives more feel to it.
Yes, there’s no doubt Tofino is a beautiful spot!
This is a breathtaking trail! I would love to go there one day and enjoy the stunning scenery, Tamara!