To See and Do
Pachena Bay Campground provides opportunities for unforgettable experiences in an area that is unique, offering you world-class attractions.
Please be advised that ATV’s/ quads and motor bikes are not permitted on the beach.
Here are some things to see and do:
Pachena Bay, approximately 3 km long and 1 km wide, faces the open Pacific Ocean to the southwest. At the head of the bay, directly in front of the campground, is a magnificent, natural sand beach approximately 1200 meters long. At low tide, the beach is nearly 200 meters wide, ideal for beachcombing, relaxing, jogging, other sports activities, and for observing abundant wildlife.
Located three kilometers by gravel road from the campground, Bamfield is an historic coastal fishing community that evokes times past. The main “street” is an inlet of the ocean! In “East” Bamfield (accessible by car) you will find: a pub, two stores, a restaurant, marinas, a motel, bed and breakfasts, lodges, charters, diving, kayaking, gas, craft stores and more. “West” Bamfield is accessed via water taxi, and features an old-style boardwalk along the water’s edge, flanked by houses, gardens, inns, charter businesses, a Coast Guard Station, and….a cappuccino bar!
West Coast Trail
The West Coast Trail, in Pacific Rim National Park, is located on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, Canada and stretches 77 kilometers from Port Renfrew on the south end to Pachena Bay Campground, and Bamfield, on the north end. Campers at Pachena Bay are welcome to take day-hikes along the trail; Pachena Light Station is a destination (please register with Parks Canada first). Thousands of hikers travel the entire trail each year, which requires preparation and reservations. Hikers on the Trail experience the incredible beauty of the outer coast environment. Those hiking the entire trail have the challenge of one of the most arduous hiking trails in North America. The beauty of craggy sea stacks, dramatic rocky headlands, wide, sandy beaches and lush rainforests, all intertwined with a vibrant cultural history, are but a few special features on the West Coast Trail. The West Coast Trail is open for hiking from May 1 to September 30. The West Coast Trail Information Centres are open daily, from 9am to 5pm during this period. Travel during the off-season is hazardous and not recommended.
In addition to day hikes along the West Coast Trail, you can also enjoy shorter, spectacular hikes to Cape Beale Headlands, Keeha Beach, Kicha Lake and to Bamfield. All hikes are through rainforest and provide you with the chance to visit centuries-old trees in a magnificent and undisturbed ecosystem. The hikes to Cape Beale and Keeha Beach bring you to stunning, outer coast shorelines, directly exposed to the full power of the open Pacific Ocean.
Sportsfishing in the area around the campground is famous throughout the world. Anglers fishing Barkley Sound and offshore areas catch halibut, sockeye, chinook, chum and pink salmon. The prime fishing season is May to September. Charter packages can include boat, guide, gear, tackle and weather gear. There is a boat ramp and moorage available in Bamfield.
Ocean kayaking in the area around the Pachena Bay Campground, Bamfield and Barkley Sound is world-famous. From the campground, kayakers can explore the Pachena River, Pachena Bay, Seabird Islands, Clutus Point, Keeha Bay, Pachena Point and Cape Beale. You may witness soaring eagles, frolicking sea lions, majestic whales, prowling orcas (killer whales), or black bears foraging along the shore. Kayaks can be rented in Bamfield. The MV Lady Rose provides service between Bamfield, Barkley Sound and Port Alberni (see “Cruising” below), and will drop kayakers off in the Broken Group Islands of Pacific Rim National Park.
The marine ecology in the ocean waters around the Pachena Bay Campground offers some of the best diving in the world. A group of Canadian universities operates a research facility at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, and a group of American universities operates the School for Field Studies, also located in Bamfield, near the campground. Divers to the region can explore a wonderful underwater world, or examine sunken wrecks in the “Graveyard of the Pacific”. Scuba air is available nearby in Bamfield.
Some of the best opportunities for eco-tours are available around Pachena Bay. Whale-watching is popular, as whales migrate past Pachena Bay and Barkley Sound; some even enter inshore waters. Occasionally, whales can be seen from the campground, feeding along the shore near Clutus Point. There are eco-tour, sightseeing, whale watching, and day-sailing operators in Bamfield.
Enjoy a day cruise along the scenic Alberni Canal and into magnificent Barkley Sound aboard an historic and picturesque coastal steamer. The M.V. Frances Barkley runs year-round between Port Alberni and Bamfield. En route, be prepared for a spectacular show of west coast wildlife: bald eagles, black bears, sea lions, otters, grey whales, and orcas (killer whales).