Gateway to ancient forests… on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, part of Clayoquot Sound. Tofino is the closest town to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

It attracts surfers, nature lovers, campers, whale watchers, or anyone just looking to be close to nature. Close to Tofino is Long Beach, a scenic and popular year-round destination, at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Nearby Maquinna Marine Provincial Park with its natural Hot Springs Cove is located about 45 kilometres north of Tofino only reachable by boat or floatplane.

The hot springs are reached by an easy hike on a 2-km attractive wooden boardwalk trail from the dock. A selection of transport packages is offered out of Tofino, with the magical experience of a mineral steam bath, the Hot Springs Cove, surrounded by old-growth rain forest.

It was part of my journey along the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island and then on-wards through the interior of British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies. Though it was out of the way I don’t regret having seen something really outstanding, as the ride to Tofino takes you through some fantastic scenery, with the exception of the awful clear-cutting examples that you will see along the way.

Spotting wildlife like black bears means you have to stay alert but the chances are rather high. Once in Tofino, though there is camping nearby, a small bed breakfast is the best option. After arranging a boat transport to Hot Springs Cove I soon found myself spotting marine wildlife of whales and sea lions and a rugged coastline.

You soon realise that you are very far from civilisation as the only way to get to the old-growth forests is by boat or floatplane, but I was not disappointed. Walking through the forest and encountering trees which made me feel like an insect on the forest floor, leaves larger than a car and lush vegetation and scenery to take your breath away.

At the end of the walk you finally reach Hot Springs Cove, where soothing those aches and pains and simply relaxing in the natural hot waters, with a view of the Pacific to your right watching the waves roll in. Nothing compares to this experience, I hope it never loses the charm of such a natural place, you really feel at the end of the day trip that you were allowed into a secret place.

Tofino • Canada

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