North Coast Trail, Cape Scott Provincial Park,
Holberg, Port Hardy, British Columbia, Canada.
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North Coast Trail
North Coast Trail - Port Hardy, BC
The North Coast Trail is an extension of the Cape Scott Trail. Combined with the Cape Scott Trail, the North Coast Trail is one of the longest backpacking wilderness trails on Vancouver island. It is the longest trail on the north end of the island.
Previously the Cape Scott Trail hike was a "there and back" route. With the addition of the North Coast Trail the route became a one-way route. The route extends over 46 kilometres consisting of exploring through remote rainforests, crossing rivers, wetlands, bogs, marshes and sandy beaches.
The North Coast Trail starts from Nissen Bight which is one of the wilderness campsite beaches located on the north end of the Cape Scott Trail . From the trailhead on Nissen Beach the route explores through forests to a pick up point located at Shushartie Bay. From the Cape Scott Trailhead the entire route is over 60 kilometres.
The first phase of the North Coast Trail starts from Nissen Bight and ends at Shuttleworth Bight. The trail covers 5.2 kilometres of developed hiking trail and then 5.7 kilometres along an old settlers trail and finishes with 8 kilometres along a beach trail. Along this stretch of trail there is a cable car crossing at Stranby River and camping facilities located at Laura Creek and Shuttleworth Bight.
The second phase of the North Coast Trail extends from Shuttleworth Bay to the pick up point at Shushartie Bay. This phase is considered difficult. The second phase of the route includes 6.6 kilometres of beach walking and then 5 kilometres leading to Cape Sutil and then 13.5 kilometres of exploring through rainforests. This section includes a cable car crossing over Nahwitti River and a water taxi at Shushartie Bay.
The park provides possible wildlife sightings including Bald Eagles, Oyster Catchers and, sometimes, Black Bears. Because the area is a shared environment with Black Bears and Cougars, do keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings.
How to Get to the North Coast Trail
The turn off to access the gravel road leading to the Cape Scott Trail is located south of Port Hardy, BC, Canada. The gravel road continues past the community of Holberg. Follow the small Cape Scott signs until you reach the trailhead parking lot. Hike the Cape Scott Trail to Nissen Beach. At the far end of the beach is the trailhead to the North Coast Trail.
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