Hiker on the Nootka Trail

Explorers     West Coast Hiking Expedition - Nootka Island

Program Cost: $1275 including tax    Duration - 9 days                                   

Duke of Edinburgh Award: Adventurous Journey

  • Bronze preliminary training, practice journey & qualifying journey

  • Silver preliminary training, practice journey & qualifying journey

  • Gold preliminary training, practice journey & qualifying journey

Program Dates:
  • July 17-18 (Prep Days) & July 24-30 (Trail Days)

Overview - 9 Days - Difficulty: Moderate/Challenging - Classification: Coastal Wilderness Trekking
One of the wildest and culturally significant places on our B.C coast, Nootka Island is bound to deliver an unforgettable experience. The 45 kilometer trail takes us along a rugged coastline, with vast sandy beaches, waterfalls, old growth forests, and bountiful wildlife. In addition to the scenery, you will find yourself surrounded by rich Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations history. Along the trail we will find ancient First Nations village sites and hunting grounds that date back as far as 4,000 years. We will complete our journey with a tour of Yuquot (Friendly Cove), where Europeans first stepped onto B.C soil in 1778.

A complete itinerary including maps and an equipment & clothing list will be provided upon registration.

Whats included? Transportation from the point of origin and return I.e. Victoria, water taxi to Nootka Island, camping/trail fees, cooking gear, camp stoves, tents, tarps, first aid supplies, emergency radio and/or satellite phone, and professional guides.  

*Gear rentals are available upon request I.e. Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacks etc.

Day One: Travel from point of origin (i.e. Victoria) to the town of Tahsis. Here we will set up camp along the Leiner River, and begin our group orientation.

Day Two: Students will pack up camp, then we will drive to Tahsis marina and board our water taxi for Tongue Point on Nootka Island. After an exciting 1 hour boat ride through pristine waters, where rafts of otters, bald eagles, bears, wolves and whales frequent the area, we will begin a 5km (2-4 hrs) hike to spectacular Third Beach. Along the way we will come across shipwrecks, mudflats, pocket beaches and ancient rain forests.

Day Three: We will begin our longest hiking day of the journey, 15km (7-8 hrs) to Calvin Falls. A great mix of hiking in old growth forest, muddy terrain, and on vast sandy beaches. Our destination is a beautiful waterfall cascading onto one of the finest beaches on the coast. Camp is looking good!

Day Four: Today we will hike 11km (5-7 hrs) to Beano Creek. Along the way we will find ancient First Nations village sites and rich inter tidal life. This is a great day for group activities, observation, and working with your leaders to build upon your inquiry topic.

Day Five: Depending on the group, and weather, we will camp at one of three locations along the way (5-9) hrs. This is one of the most exhilarating days, with lots of forest hiking, scrambling, ropes, and fabulous ocean views, topped off with the possibility of camping in a natural sea cave. 


Day Six: From our selected camp we will begin the last leg of the journey to Yuquot (Friendly Cove) (2-6 hrs). Here we'll find our last campsite, on the beach and just a 10 minute walk from the village. The day's length will vary depending on our previous night's campsite, 5-10km. Once camp is set up, we'll walk to the village, tour the lighthouse station, the historic church, ancient totems, and more. (village sights are subject to closure, due to weather, safety hazards, privacy etc.)

Day Seven: We will wake up to the sounds of crashing waves once again. After packing up camp, we will head down to the dock and catch our water taxi back to Tahsis, saying farewell and giving our thanks to the sacred land of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations. 

Once we arrive back in Tahsis, we will get ready for our journey back to civilization i.e. Victoria.

Program Components

Program Preparation  - 2 days/1 night


All ReWild programs involve bringing the group together for 2 program preparation days. Skills development, group building,  and individual and collective goal-setting is an integral part of the journey ahead. During our prep days we will focus on the fundamental skills necessary to set-out into the back country. We will also use this time to understand and select an inquiry topic for the program.

Prep Day #1- Location - Victoria, B.C  *(depending on group sign up, other locations may be arranged)

Participants will plan and carry out tasks in a variety of areas in preparation for the expedition:


  • Equipment - Managing equipment lists and sourcing requisite materials for the adventure.

  • Practice - Planning a practice hike in advance of the adventure.

  • Food - Meal planning, shopping, budgeting and designation of cooking responsibilities.

  • Program/Education - Scheduling of activities and tent groups, and arranging for participant inquiry presentations.

Prep Day #2 - Location - Victoria, B.C  *(depending on group sign up, other locations may be arranged)


Skills experience:

  • Trail travel (with pack weight)

  • Map reading

  • Equipment use

  • Leave no trace ethics

  • Emergency procedures

Individual Inquiry Topic - Evolution Stage *(If previously completed Innovators program)

Participants will research their topic prior to the trip and may choose to bring print outs or pocket guides along with them (we provide materials for some topics). The goal is to choose a topic that can be easily shared with the group and researched in the field. During the trip everyone will deliver a creative presentation based on their findings, with support from instructors along the way. The presentation can be a facilitated group activity or an informative presentation; it's up to the students. 

Possible Topics (related to local areas concerning the trip, or the outdoors in general):

  • Naturalism - John Muir, Thoreau

  • History & Anthropology - First Nations, Colonialism, Early Settlers

  • Arts - Local artists, northwest coast art, music, performance

  • Biology – Botany & Ecology

  • Sustainability - Edible Seashore, Environmental Ed

  • Philosophy

  • B.C Weather Observation

  • Astronomy

  • Photography & Videography

  • Creative Writing

  • Backcountry culinary

  • Environmental initiatives (I.e. coastal clean-up)

  • Camp Craft

  • Change Makers - Pick and study a modern day or historical person who is/was an agent of change


*Topics are not limited the above suggestions, but must be approved before selection.

Nootka Island Hiking Expedition - 7 days

While on the trail students will be learning to become self-sufficient as individuals and as a team. Nootka Island provides a superlative outdoor classroom, every day encountering new obstacles and discovering great solutions. Our focus is to unleash the students full potential through student centered leadership opportunities. Communication, listening, compassion, creativity, and character are all developed through our comprehensive curriculum. With an inquisitive, hands-on approach, students will be testing the limits of nature and learning how it connects us to the past, present and future of our world.

Skills Experience - Intermediate Level *(If previously completed Innovators program)
  • Trail travel - Leaders of the day

  • Map reading & compass skills

  • Camp set-up/equipment use - continued

  • Leave no trace ethics - continued

  • Wildlife encounters

  • Leadership styles

  • Wilderness survival skills

  • Risk Management

  • Communication in an outdoor environment

  • Presentation skills - Inquiry topic

  • Plant identification & use

  • Tides - Trip planning, charts, how they work

  • Emergency procedures

  • Reflection & Synthesis (individual/team)

  • Show & tell (significant artefacts, symbols, and experiences and their respective impact)

  • Inquiry topic review

Medical Form 

Please fill out this student MEDICAL FORM and either email it to us at info@gaiawildadventures.com, or bring a signed hard copy to the first preparation day of the program.

Important Registration Info

Please read and sign this IMPORTANT REGISTRATION INFO doc! Either email it to us at info@gaiawildadventures.com, or bring a signed hard copy to the first preparation day of the program.

Area Maps
Nootka Trail Map