Bamfield is divided into two areas, separated by approximately 200 yards of the Bamfield Inlet. The west side of the village offers a waterfront boardwalk that connects all the homes and docks on the harbour. On the east side of Bamfield you’ll find local businesses that include a friendly pub, a food market and café. Our convenient local water taxi services can easily transport you back and forth between the two sides of town.
Pachena Bay is an expansive beach facing the Pacific Ocean at the head of the world-famous West Coast Trail. It is here that you can enjoy unparalleled wilderness experiences including beach combing, hiking through old-growth rainforest, and wildlife watching. The Pachena Bay Campground is part of the Huu-ay-aht group of businesses and is in a magnificent setting on the shores of Pachena Bay, where the Pachena River flows into the ocean. It is located next to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations community of Anacla and nestled amidst a virgin rainforest on Vancouver Island’s unspoiled west coast. This campground has full-service facilities and welcomes campers and RVs with sites that are right at the beach.
Tapaltos Beach is a stunning crescent shaped beach, which is great for exploration during low tide. This place is perfect for a picnic, where you often have the entire beach to yourself and can take in the beautiful surrounding nature. In order to get here, travel 1.5 kilometres in from the trailhead to the junction and take the Tapaltos Bay trail west. Approximate travel time is 2 hours.
Keeha Beach is a gorgeous sandy beach found at the end of a rugged, muddy hike . In order to get here travel 3.5 kilometres in from the trailhead, which is also the trailhead for the Cape Beale trail. About 1.5 km in, the trail forks – stay left for Keeha Beach. Approximate travel time varies from 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on weather, fitness level and how much you are carrying.
Brady’s Beach and the Boardwalk
A five-minute water taxi takes you to West Bamfield and its picturesque boardwalk, the perfect place for a leisurely stroll. Once at the West Government dock, a 20-minute hike will bring you to Brady’s Beach, a place of solace with massive rocky sea stacks and multiple beaches. This is an ideal place for beachcombing, with waves crashing over 20 feet in the air and a blowhole at the south end! Look for the lawn chair on the rock face for an unforgettable selfie.
Reefs & Ship Wrecks
The Barkley Sound offers great opportunities for cold water diving with a host of diversity in our underwater world that will truly make a good trip great. You are likely to see schools of rock fish, bands of urchin, king crabs, orange cup coral and striped sunstars, or swim alongside California and Stellar Sea lions. Dive in “the graveyard of the pacific” to see the wreckage of old ships.
The waters around Bamfield provide some of the best in and off-shore fishing in the world. Take a look at recommended charters, and venture out on the water for a one-of-kind experience (and feast) that you can talk about for days!
West Coast Trail
There are 77 amazing kilometres of old growth forest from Port Renfrew to Bamfield! The trail began from a shipwreck in 1906 as an effort for emergency relief. Now, outdoor enthusiasts from around the world travel through the rainforest, across beaches, alongside falls, up vertical ladders, and over log bridges amongst untouched wilderness. The West Coast Trail is voted one of the best hikes in the world!
History and Culture
Cape Beale Lighthouse
In 1874, the Cape Beale lighthouse was built on a bluff over 50 meters above sea level. Being at the lighthouse gives you an idea of how treacherous the waters were in the past with numerous shipwrecks in and around the area. In order to get here, follow the Tapaltos Trail, an offshoot of the Keeha Bay Trail, located in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The light house is located beyond Tapaltos Beach, about a 6km easy to moderate hike in (12k round trip). You will rise over rocky hills, swampy bogs and cross sand flats — be sure to check that the tide will be low. Allow for about 8 hours to do this.
Bamfield Marine and Science Centre
This world-class oceanside facility was established in 1972 and is operated by The University of Victoria, The University of British Columbia, The University of Calgary, The University of Alberta, and Simon Fraser University. The centre sits atop the Pacific Cable Station which is an amazing site to see and offers a stunning view. The station operated from 1901 to 1958 with the All Red Line undersea cable connecting Canada to the world. This is a great place to spend a few minutes or days with touch tanks, amazing wildlife and knowledge.
A sacred ancient village where the Huu-ay-aht people would come to hunt bear, deer and elk for their meat and fur as well, to catch, smoke and dry fish. Some of the carvings from Kiixin are now at the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria, originally erected at Kiixin to welcome honoured guests and visitors from the Makah Nation. The remains of a traditional chief’s house are also preserved at this site.
Kayaking & Canoeing
The Barkley Sound is a great place to kayak and see wildlife on the open ocean for paddlers of all skill levels. Paddle alongside whales, kingfishers and herons. Protected calm waterways also offer opportunities to see wildlife.
Whale Watching and Nature Tours on the Water
Every year, approximately 25,000 grey whales migrate through this area to Alaska to feed. Fortunately, much like you, several of them decide to stay in Bamfield for the summer! And that’s not all… Humpbacks, killer and grey whales, porpoises, stellar and California sea lions, sea otters, seals, bald eagles, great blue herons, bears and elk all grace the waters outside your door.
Bamfield, Past to Present
Between 1859 and 1862, William Eddy Bamfield was employed as the Government’s first white settler, Indian Agent, trader, explorer, writer and entrepreneur in Barkley Sound. William bought Rance Island from the Huu-ay-aht First Nation who have been settled in the area since time immemorial. The Huu-ay-aht lived in the Anacula Village region next to Bamfield, which was established by the Tyee-Hawaiih, Art Peters.
William set up a trading operation at Rance Island, remaining unmarried with no heirs, and died off Aguilar Point, in his canoe.
In 1872, the first lighthouse on the West Coast of Vancouver Island was constructed at Cape Beale with the help of the Huu-ay-aht people.
Between 1907 and 1910, the now famous and well-hiked West Coast Trail was reconstructed from the old telegraph and lifesaving trail located in the Pacific Rim National Park running from Bamfield to Port Renfrew.
In 1902, the Bamfield Cable Station became the terminus for a 4000-mile underwater communication system that linked the commonwealth countries.
In 1969, five Western Canadian universities bought the cable station and built the Marine Biological Station.
Today, about 300 people live in Bamfield year-round, and residing in the area to date is over 700 Nation members. During peak tourism season in the summers, more than 10,000 tourists visit this area from all over the world to enjoy the wilderness, and the lifestyle of our great outdoors.
Bamfield is a tiny hamlet quietly nestled in a protected inlet on the south shore of Barkley Sound
The region is known for its superb salmon fishing adventures. While out on the water make sure to keep your eyes open as the marine world is all around you. It’s not uncommon to spot whales breaching, or sea lions and seals sunning on the rocks.
Whether deep sea or river fishing, Bamfield offers some world-class opportunities for anglers. In addition, being part of the Pacific Rim and surrounded by crown land, First Nations Land and the Pacific Rim National Park this ensure the protection of the unspoiled marine life.