This Pacific Rim Map contains many links to our Town,
Park, Lake, Trail and Ferry Information Pages. Click
on a live link to view the desired page.
the decades before the Pacific Rim National Park was born
in 1970, this moss-laden landscape of mist and surf was
a little-known outpost, a world apart. If adventurers
managed to coax a vehicle across the tortuous road that
led west from Port Alberni to the isolated ports of Tofino
and Ucluelet, finding a bed was a simple matter at one
of the few local inns. The alternative was constructing
a driftwood shelter on one of the fabulous beaches nearby.
One million visitors a year now make this same journey
on black-topped highway 4 (Pacific Rim Highway) to experience
the romantic isolation of the region. It's a tribute to
the scale of this environment that so many travellers
can be absorbed into it and still leave it so (apparently)
empty. The open ocean stretches off unbroken and vacant,
while the elemental forces at play here - the winds and
the tide, the sun and the rain - excite within visitors
a deep-seated resonance, a sense of belonging to
Undoubtedly, the same chaos that reigns in winter during
gale-force storms mimics, on a microcosmic scale at least,
the fury of the Big Bang. And on eternal summer evenings,
when a magenta sunset ignites the ocean's summer evenings,
there's a peace so prevalent that you could almost bottle
it and call it salvation. Take your pick of moods; they're
Just west of Parksville
on the east coast of Vancouver Island,
Highway 4 begins to wind across the island to Port Alberni,
Ucluelet and Tofino,
all three of which are sheltered harbours. Port
Alberni sits at the head of Alberni Inlet, a long
indentation that reaches so far inland that it comes within
50 km of Parksville.
Although the island is only about 100 km wide at this
point, allow 2 to 3 hours to make the journey. The road
must make its way around and over several natural obstacles,
such as Sproat Lake and the rugged Vancouver Island Mountains,
and is only two lanes wide for most of the distance. During
stormy months, the section between Sproat Lake and the
west coast can be extremely wet, so much so that your
windshield wipers will have to work overtime to keep up
with the deluge. Sometimes it's better to just pull over
to wait for the lashing to abate. We know it rains a lot
on this coast - that's why the forests are so magnificent
and the trees so impressive!
Once on the west side of the island, Highway 4 divides
and runs 8 km south to Ucluelet and 34 km north to Tofino.
This route connects visitors with the three major components
of the Pacific
Rim National Park: The West Coast Trail's northern
terminus near Bamfield,
the Broken Group Islands in Barkley Sound, and the Long
Beach Unit of bays and beaches between Tofino and Ucluelet.
Although the West
Coast Trail and the Broken Group Islands are remote
and wild, the long Beach Unit is readily accessible by
road and much more welcoming to visitors.