Some folks we met while traveling on Vancouver Island raised their eyebrows when we told them we were heading to Ucluelet. They were excited for us, but then they would point at Betsy and say, “you’re going in that?”
Opinions varied on the wisdom of taking a large RV towing a car on the steep, narrow and winding highway 4, which was also undergoing major construction. But others had done it, and our adventurous traveling friends Eric and Laurel gave us a vote of confidence as they had made the trip. Steve figured if we crashed and burned at least he’d have someone to blame…
After asking around and doing some more research we were up for the challenge and on our way. We made it just fine, and the drive was definitely worth it!
West of Port Alberni the road became narrow, uneven and twisty as it snaked through the island’s mountainous interior. We finally reached the dreaded construction area after completing the nearby 18% grade:
Betsy was indeed the biggest girl in town. We heaved a collective sigh of relief when we saw the Ucluelet welcome sign, and were soon settled in with cold beers and a smoked salmon lunch at what turned out to be our favorite campground on Vancouver Island. Wild Pacific Camp has only six sites, and Betsy qualified for the longest one as we tucked her into the forest for our 10-night stay. Awesome!
Visiting entertainers brought smiles to our faces every morning:
Ucluelet is a Nuu-cha-nulth First Nation word meaning “safe landing place.” It’s located on the magnificent outer West Coast of Vancouver Island at the north-western corner of the wild, untamed Pacific Ocean. We loved this small town of only 1,800 full time inhabitants, a very laid-back place where nature rules and modern tourism hasn’t taken hold.
Fishing still plays a big part in Ucluelet’s economy, and that was fine with us as we continued our salmon and halibut diet. We enjoyed halibut fish and chips at Jiggers Food Truck, and some very tasty seafood chowder at Heartwood Restaurant. I’m salivating just writing about it!
Wild Pacific Trail
Following the top-rated trail on Vancouver Island, the Wild Pacific Trail, we discovered for ourselves why it’s so named. Hugging the undulating and wind-swept shoreline for much of our hike, we dipped in and out of rainforest along the way. We paused at several viewpoints to soak up ocean vistas between strolls through ancient cedar and spruce-filled forest. This one was a winner!
Despite the misty and slightly foggy day, we were in awe of how serenely beautiful the scenery was. The trail was carefully planned to protect the windblown ancient trees, and storm-watching decks called “Painter’s Perches” were built around protective trees that blended beautifully into the surroundings.
We’ve seen interesting trees at Cape Flattery in Washington, but this trail takes it to another level, featuring a dizzying number of exquisite “tree formations” (I made that up) that we constantly stopped to examine. Fascinating!
We made a side trip onto the Ancient Cedars Loop Trail:
In addition to giving the trail a 5-star rating on Alltrails, we made a donation to help support this magical place: