The Rainforest Trail is one of the best things to do in Tofino while you are visiting Vancouver Island. Located in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve around 16kms south of Tofino, the trail consists of two loops that both offer spectacular views of the green surroundings and wildlife of the park’s rainforest.
This trail is perfect for those who want to explore the rhythms of the ancient wilderness and admire the towering trees and thick foliage that the park has to offer.
Welcome to The Rainforest Trail in Tofino, Vancouver Island BC
Hikers can choose between two loops (A or B) on The Rainforest Trail, but both could be done within the same trip. Each route is approximately 1.2km in length, so depending on how fast a walker you are, one route can easily be done within an hour.
A wooden boardwalk weaves through the trail, so it’s easy to complete relatively quickly. Having said that, the trail could take a little longer if you want to stop and really take in the stunning experience, which we believe is the entire purpose of this trail.
I never wanted to leave this place. I wanted to sit and be humbled by these magnificent giants and rich undergrowth forever.
Both routes on The Rainforest Trail are relatively short and easy to do, so it’s a great trail for the whole family to enjoy. In fact, this trail is perfect for those looking for escapism without having to worry about losing one’s way in the large dense forests of Pacific Rim National Rim Park.
It’s important to note that, as the trail winds through a rainforest, the temperatures within the trail drop significantly and the air becomes much more humid. Therefore, it may be a good idea to be prepared for cooler temperatures and take an insulating coat with you on your hike.
Even if you’re not lucky enough to spot some of the rainforest’s interesting creatures, you won’t be disappointed by the magnificent trees that surround the trail. The trees that can be found on both routes are some of the largest on Vancouver Island, and from the boardwalk, hikers can marvel at their tall thick trunks and long twisting branches.
The Rainforest Trail Loop A
Once you arrive at the parking lot, you’ll need to display your Parks Canada pass to explore the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. There are kiosks at the parking lot to purchase the pass if you don’t already have one.
To access The Rainforest Trail Loop A, you’ll need to cross the highway to the east side. Follow the signs into the forest and you’ll come across the wooden boardwalk where the route begins. At first, the route runs near to the highway, so you’ll be able to hear cars and other vehicles in the distance. However, after a short while walking, the trail will take you away from the highway and deep into the rainforest where you’ll only hear birds singing and trees swaying in the breeze.
Once you’ve reached some steps, you’ll need to turn left at the junction to continue the trail. However, before continuing the trail, we recommend having a look at the impressively large tree to the right (it’s huge so we’re sure you won’t miss it!).
Tall trees including western red cedars and western hemlocks surround the trail’s boardwalk, and their branches create a high canopy that can even offer some protection from the rain. After taking a left at the junction, follow the trail until you reach another junction. Here, you’ll turn left again. Be sure to take in the views of the small creek that lies in the eyeshot of the junction.
It’s a great spot to take pictures and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of the trail. Keep following the trail until you reach the steps. You’ll need to go up these stairs to arrive at the junction which will eventually lead you back to the highway.
The Rainforest Trail Loop B
The Rainforest Trail Loop B starts close to the parking lot, so this route may be better suited for those who don’t want to cross the busy highway. Just like Loop A, Loop B has an elevated wooden boardwalk to make the trail easier to walk. Look out for signs for the route that starts at a gravel trail. Once you reach the gravel, you’ll see the wooden boardwalk which you’ll walk along through the forest.
As you begin walking along the boardwalk, you’ll reach the trail’s first junction where you’ll need to turn left. After making a left and climbing down some steps, the trail will take you further into the forest. This route allows visitors to appreciate the moss-covered trees that have stood proudly in the park for centuries. In fact, one of the enormous cedar trees that can be seen on the trail is over 800 years old!
Along this route, you’ll find signs that provide hikers with information on the trail’s wildlife as well as the park’s plants and trees. Blacktail deer, raccoons, and bears are just some of the many animals you might be able to spot in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The route also provides those walking it with impressive views of a salmon stream. So, if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of some animals in the wild, this trail may be for you.
Follow the route as it loops round to take you back to the parking lot. You’ll have to go up some stairs on your way back, but don’t worry, there aren’t too many. Once you reach the gravel trail, you’ll know you’re close to arriving back at the parking lot.