When Is the Best Time
The Beautiful Bay Trail is open throughout the year, but it's wet and slippery from November to March. Avoid hiking the trail during stronger wind; trees can fall. This track is not well maintained, therefore even more wild and stunning. Starting the hike in the early afternoon gives you an incredible experience.
The sun will find its way occasionally through the old-grown forest. You will find plenty of moss-coped branches, walk over tree trunks, and find different kinds of mushrooms. You can find the trail description below.
Weather Details Vancouver Island
The precipitation of Vancouver Island's east coast is just 700-800 mm per year. In contrast, the west coast of the island is exposed to moisture-packed winds blowing from the Pacific Ocean and receives plenty of precipitation from October to March. The summers, in general, is relatively dry.
Spring is always a great time to visit Vancouver Island. Daily temperatures range from 11-15 ºC. It's a great time for wildlife viewing as well. The Pacify grey whales are on their route to Alaska though I have never spotted any in my life yet. Grizzly and black bears finish their hibernation, looking for food along the shoreline.
From June through September, Vancouver Island is typically sunny and mild, the temperature at Malcolm Island ranges from 15-17°C but can occasionally reach 25°C. The campground is serviced during summer only.
Autumn (late September-October)
In fall, you may experience fog, especially in the morning, which could last until mid-day or even afternoon. The temperature is on average, around 12°C during the day.
Vancouver Island enjoys a moderate and mild winter in most regions. Therefore outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking in the south-coastal areas are possible, even in January.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
The Beautiful Bay Trail on Malcolm Island is one of the most fascinating trails through an ancient forest winding along a ridge above the Beautiful Bay. You get to the trailhead from the east end of the Bere Point Regional Park. The track leads along a stunning rainforest with some options to approach the beach. This, together with the tide, allows you to choose your own circular trail along this magnificent beach. Check out tide times
Originally the trail goes all the way to Malcolm Point (5km, 3 miles), but currently, it is closed approx. half the way due to heavy wind, which caused erosions in the Lost Canyon. You can leave the trail at Puoli Vali Canyon to the beach (Puoli Vali means "halfway along the journey" in Finnish). The canyon is also known for gold panning in the 1930s. Plan at least half a day for this hike, as you may be captured by the mystic rainforest and the breathtaking views of the beach.
In the beginning, you pass the viewing platform for Orcas that come to the Beautiful Bay to rub against the pebbles. Before you reach a higher elevation, there are several turnouts down to the beach. The trail is marked with white stripes painted on the trees. It is easy to follow the footpath as long it's not foggy. Weathered boardwalks are placed on the muddiest parts.
Find your way through some dark leave covered spaces. Always watch the path as it is slippery and wet, the boardwalk is rotten and crack. It seems the track is not maintained. Walking across the roots on the winding path through the rainforest gives this trail also a mystic touch.
In addition, you can find three other hikes on Malcolm Island. Two of them; the Mateoja Heritage Trail (6km, 4 miles) and Kaleva Road Walkway (3km, 2 miles) are located in the western part of the island. The "S" Lake Trail is a short 1km hike that takes you to a small lake (no swimming or camping allowed)
Facts About Malcolm Island
"Malcolm Island is a place where humans go to create lasting memories." Situated off the northeast shore of Vancouver Island, you will find this hidden gem. It's relatively small in size (24 km (14 miles) long and 3 km (1.8 miles ) wide at its narrowest point. But Malcolm Island offers breath-taking scenery, tranquillity, great outdoor experiences, many wildlife viewing opportunities, and fascinating history.
How to Get to Malcolm Island
The ferry at Port McNeil departs year around several times to Sointula which is the main town on Malcolm Island. The trip takes about half an hour and costs around 55 CAD (car + 2 people)
If you want to leave the Island in summer, arrive early at the ferry terminal because the space for cars on the ferry is limited. Getting the early morning ferry at 7:55 am is almost impossible because many people park their car in the line the day before at the terminal. BC Ferries uses during the summer months a small ferry (~25 cars) compared to the wintertime when a larger ferry (~40 cars) is in use. This makes the situation even worse.
There are not many possibilities to stay overnight on Malcolm Island. You can either camp or stay in one of the view guesthouses. The chance to spot the rubbing orcas increases if you overnight at the campground at Bere Point Regional Park and select an ocean view site. Our favourite guesthouse is the Ocean Front Hotel. The view from your room and patio to the sea is spectacular. Whales are passing by here as well. Request a room with a fireplace.
Bere Point Regional Park is about 6 km out of Sointula where the ferry arrives. You need to pass Solintula and drive a view kilometers on a gravel road. It offers 27 campsites with 11 offering a stunning view across Queen Charlotte Strait. It is directly located close to the Beautiful Beach which can be hiked via the Beautiful Beach Trail. The campsites don't provide power and offer only pit toilets. You need to bring adequate drinking water. The Campground is serviced during summer only.
Public showers, washrooms, laundry facilities, and water are available at Rough Bay harbor which you pass by when driving to Bere Point. Although the oceanfront sites cost a little more, it's utterly worth to pay for. These are the best sites imo site 1-11 or A-E. Reservation campground Bere Point
There are several free picnic day use areas at Bere Point for public use if you can't stay overnight.
- Don't miss the Burger Barn at the Marina, Open seasonal from Thursday to Monday. They offer fresh local seafood Burgers with fries and homemade coleslaw.
- The Co-Op store is closed Sundays and Mondays, but you may get what you need at the Co-Op Gas Station which is open daily.