Are you Fit Enough to Hike the West Coast Trail (Vancouver Island, BC)?
Despite all the warnings about hiking the West Coast Trail, don’t be too self-doubting about completing this grueling yet scenic adventure. People with a moderate fitness level will have no problems completing the trek. When we were on the trail, we came across:
- 65 year old men with bad knees hiking with their sons.
- 45 year old mothers, without their families, who were giddy with excitement
- 17 year old kids hiking with their parents
Even though the West Coast Trail is 75 kilometers long, you don't hike it all in one day. Most people complete the trek in 7 or 8 days which breaks the hike up into a manageable pace of about 10 kilometers a day.
View Hiking the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in a larger map
Are You Fit Enough to Hike the West Coast Trail?
To help you determine if you're capable of this oceanside hike, consider the following questions:
- Do you have a positive attitude? If you're not mentally prepared to 'rough-it' for a week, you'll make yourself & those around you miserable.
- Can you carry at least 40 lbs on your back? This sounds harder than it really is. Modern equipment is light and durable. Also, you can share the load with the other hikers in your party. Your fitness level for hiking should be at a moderate level.
- Do you have and common sense? You'll be crossing ravines on felled logs with no handrails. You'll be scaling towering ladders in which a fall could lead to certain death. But do you have enough common sense not to over-extend your abilities?
- Do you want to hike the West Coast Trail to get in shape? WRONG! Before you start the trek, you need a moderate fitness level to hike the West Coast Trail.
- Do you have bad joints? We saw people with bad knees, ankles and backs on the trip. They overcame their pain by having the right attitude, lots of excitement and a bottle of Advil.
You do not have to be an elite athlete to hike the West Coast Trail. The key is to stay hydrated, watch your step, use good judgment and KEEP A COMFORTABLE PACE. Oh yeah, having the ability to start a camp fire helps too.
Get more insider tips on Canadian Adventures at Scenic Travel Canada.