A new long-distance hiking trail spanning British Columbia’s Vancouver Island is nearly complete. The Vancouver Island Trail will run from Victoria in the southeast to Cape Scott on the island’s northwestern tip. The route has been under development since 2009 and will bring together nearly forgotten logging and mining access roads with sections of freshly cut trail that will require both solid navigational skills and a proper backpacking setup.
En route, hikers will summit peaks, trek through old-growth forests, explore old railway and mining sites, and take in both ocean and valley views. They’ll also cross the land of 49 First Nations bands and have the chance to experience the history of Vancouver Island. For maps and other information, visit the trail’s website.
At nearly 480 miles in length, thru-hikers should allow between two and three months to complete the entire trail. For those not ready to commit to the entire trail, access points for day hikes and shorter backpacking trips will be located at numerous points across the island.
The Victoria Island Trail Association originally hoped to open the trail in 2017 for Canada’s 150th birthday, but the extensive process of bringing together multiple parties to plan and route the trail, on top of the massive task of organizing volunteer crews to actually build it, pushed the opening back to 2020. The trail is currently more than 85 percent complete.