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Cape Scott: Beach Camping on Vancouver Island

August long weekend was another great camping trip with family and friends. Elaine, Brian, Dave and I were up to the task of hiking Cape Scott Provincial Park at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The key to this trip was the reward of a beautiful beach campground after a long trek in. It’s nice because this limits the number of people that can potentially mess up the beach and thereby preserves the area for the future. This is one of my favorite camping sites in British Columbia.

Our plan was to travel to Nel’s Bight at a distance of 16.8km from the trailhead. It’s a good 6 hour romp through the forest on flat and easy terrain. Along the way, there is a number of lakes, streams and abandoned farmland to see, which makes the 6 hours flow by somewhat quickly. The trail is very well maintained with a lot of boardwalks to get through all the really boggy areas. Nothing difficult at all. Just long, with a heavy pack on your back.

Once we broke the treeline and got out into the open air, we were greeted with a gorgeous 2.4km long beach with plenty of room to accommodate the other long weekend campers. While we had our tents setup within 20m of other campers (as we wanted close access to the fresh water source) we never felt cramped or really in the presence of others. Dave and I took advantage of the cold ocean water and took a couple “run in, run out” swims to wash off our sweaty and tired bodies. It was really nice to be able to have access to the ocean during this trip, as typically when backpacking you sleep and move while getting progressively more sweaty and dirty with no showers in sight.

Once at the beach, our agenda was just to relax over 2 nights, eat good camping food and warm ourselves by the fire. After we corrected our mistake of trying to make a fire using driftwood and seaweed (doesn’t burn at all!), we had a raging fire complete with marshmallows and s’mores. It was a really good time.

After our time at the beach, we hiked out the same way we came in and it was all over. What can I say? I love this place and I would definitely recommend it. While it takes a while to drive up, there really isn’t a nicer beach site in the entire area!

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