British Columbia's Sunshine Coast is tucked into the southwest corner of Canada, where the mossy rainforest drops beneath the Coast Mountains into the Strait of Georgia. Part of the mainland, but accessible only by water or air, it has all the laid-back charm of island living. The epic 180km Sunshine Coast Trail (SCT) originated in 1992 when a handful of outdoor enthusiasts realized the region's quickly-vanishing old growth. The trail acts as a protected wilderness corridor linking Desolation Sound with Saltery Bay, traversing a wide variety of landscapes from coastal shorelines, along creeks and lakes, through old growth forests to panoramic mountaintops. 14 basic shelters (huts) are scattered along the trail's length, each accommodating up to a dozen hikers. This 7-day 'sampler' takes in two of the trail-builders' favourite sections - the bookends of the trail - with outstanding views, breathtaking back country hiking, rich fauna and flora, and some of our favourite huts/campsites. We take care of all of your backpacking needs with trailhead transfers, daily food drops, gear and camp/trail meals fully-supplied, and the use of our exclusive storage containers and emergency GPS transponders. We even arrange mid-hike accommodation in the trendy town of Powell River, so you can refresh partway through and enjoy the local scene before heading back into the remote wilderness. Simply bring your backpack, your spirit of adventure, and let us do the rest!
Anyone undertaking a full pack trek should be aware of the physical and mental demands involved. These are designed for experienced adventurers who are seeking a challenge. The trek will involve unstable footing, rough terrain, plenty of elevation gains and losses, and long hiking days; all while carrying your own gear in a full pack.
This self-guided hike is intended for experienced hikers who are comfortable using a camp stove/treating their own water, and preparing their own camp meals. We recommend that people begin their fitness preparation immediately upon booking. Solid workouts that are aerobic (hill walking, jogging, swimming, biking or gym work) of up to one hour each day is a guide to a routine training program. The best preparation is hiking with a full pack, involving relatively steep ascents and descents. If you can be as fit and prepared as possible, you will enjoy the trip so much more.
Make your way to Powell River. A trip briefing and gear handover will take place at your accommodation this evening. We will go over how to use gear including stove, water filter, and tent (in case any of the huts are full as it's first come, first serve at the huts). First day of snacks/lunch food will be handed over and the rest will meet you each night at the huts, along with drinking water, fuel canister, and cookwear. Overnight Powell River.
After breakfast, you will be picked up at your accommodation and transferred to the north section of the Sunshine Coast Trail for your first day of hiking in BC's old growth rainforest. You'll be happy to start a few kilometers into the trail, as this is a very long first day otherwise. There are numerous giants to spot along the way, including Douglas fir and western red cedar. Wednesday Lake makes a great lunch stop and tempts you to take a swim! The trail undulates regularly (as it will all the way through) but is nice and soft underfoot. Your day ends up high at incredible Manzanita Bluff. What a reward! Enjoy the picnic table with a view and a cozy stay at your first SCT hut.
Enjoy breakfast with panoramic views of Lund lowlands, Savary, Hernando and Vancouver islands, and the Strait of Georgia. Then strap on your pack and it's out onto the SCT's lovely and lush Thunder Ridge, Toquenatch and Marathon trail sections. There are multiple places to stop and enjoy a rest including Fern Gully Greek, Plummer Creek, and Tonquenach Falls bridge. A small detour takes you to an incredible lookout at Gilbraltar Bluff - highly recommended! Tonight's hut is at Rieveley's Pond. Listen for the symphony of frogs as you drift off to sleep.
After breakfast, enjoy your amble down along Appleton Creek with its many waterfalls. Continue on Sliammon Lakes Trail, passing three inviting lakes, and finally ascend the shoulder of Scout Mountain, which provides yet more spectacular views – this time of the area surrounding the City of Powell River. Powell Lake lies at your feet, beyond there the city stretches along the waterfront of Malaspina Strait. A steep descent takes you down and into town; the trailhead marked by the Shingle Mill Pub. We recommend a stop for a well-earned refreshment! Tonight you enjoy the comfort of a bed and options for dining out in Powell River's charming Townsite area.
This morning, your trusty driver takes you out to start your hike of the south end of the SCT, from Golden Stanley Hut. Today it's all uphill to the summit of Mt Troubridge, the highest point of the Sunshine Coast Trail at 1300m. The hike starts with a gradual climb with some easy, wide trail to a nice lunch spot at Elephant Lakes and start of old forest. From the lakes, the trail remains a narrow footpath with a few switch backs up to a fully-enclosed hut (cabin) where you enjoy another night in the remote back country beside a pond, 1km below the top of the mountain.
What comes up must come down and it's a steep descent skirting the east side of Mt Troubridge through beautiful old growth to the eventual fork to Rainy Day Lake hut. A side trip to the hut adds about 2km total to your day, but is highly recommended as a lunch stop. From the hut, a trail takes you down to the water front (pack-free!) where you can take a swim and enjoy the quiet calm of the lake before heading back to the SCT and continuing all the way down to Fairview Bay Hut, beautifully set along the shore with a magnificent ocean view. A nearby sandy beach makes a good location for swimming on hot days and oysters can be found on the beach in season. A popular overnight destination, this may be the first time you need to set up your tent!
Take your time this morning, as it's a short 2-3 hour walk to the finish line where your pickup awaits. This final walk is quite lovely with a good part of it along the ocean-front before heading inland for the final descent to the trailhead at Saltery Bay. Transfer to Powell River where you drop off gear and our services end. Where to next?
Per Person, Twin Share