Hiking the Tonquin Trail

One afternoon during my stay in Tofino, a solo traveller named Anna from Chicago, approached me to ask if I knew of any nearby hiking trail. It so happened that I was heading out to explore the Tonquin Trail myself so we went together.

From Tofino village centre, we followed the sign to the Tonquin Trail Connector, and walked about 1.2 km before reaching the Tonquin Trail trailhead. We passed by old growth forest, a small wetland, and a few small creeks.

Tonquin Trail Network

Once we entered the Tonquin Trail, we were surrounded with beautiful tall trees and shrubs. It was September and after the recent rainfall, the forest was lush, looking fresh, and smelling fresh. The trail path was sand mixed with gravel, fairly easy to walk on.

Tonquin Trail outbound

Amid the greenery, I spotted some Canadian bunchberry plants, native to this part of Canada. Their bright red fruits are edible to humans.

The Tonquin Trail is about 1.2 km long. It took us about twenty minutes to reach the wooden staircase that leads to Tonquin Beach. We could hear the soft sounds of the ocean before reaching the end of the staircase.

A wide sandy beach with islands in the horizon greeted us. The expansive views were incredible. The sea water was shimmering in the sunlight. The natural thing to do was to inhale deeply and exhale slowly and savour this beautiful environment.

Tonquin Beach to the north
Tonquin Beach to the north

We sat on the rocks and basked in the warm sunshine for a while before walking along the beach to check out the driftwood and look for seashells. There were a handful of other people at the beach, quietly enjoyed the moment.

Tonquin Beach to the south
Tonquin Beach to the south

Although the trail signage warned us about wildlife such as bears, cougars and wolves, the only wildlife we saw on our way back were a few Pacific banana slugs. They looked long and healthy with brown blotches all over their yellow body.

It was a nice short hike on a beautiful afternoon in Tofino. Altogether we did about 5 km return trip (just over 3 miles). Nature recharged me and gave me new energy. I looked forward to exploring other trails in the area. Happy trails!

Tonquin Trail

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72 thoughts on “Hiking the Tonquin Trail

  1. Joanne Sisco October 27, 2019 / 8:47 am

    Oh yes, I remember the banana slugs!! I had never seen anything like it before going to Tofino.
    I wonder if this was the same trail we walked. I only remember a staircase leading down to the beach.


    • Natalie October 27, 2019 / 10:57 am

      The Tonquin Trail is the closest to Tofino centre so it may be the same trail you walked. The size of the Pacific banana slugs surprised me. They’re much longer than other slugs I’ve seen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Erica/Erika October 27, 2019 / 9:49 am

    Hi Natalie, This is the first time I have heard of the Tonquin Trail. I find a Trail map is always beneficial, especially a new trail. A major positive is hiking with someone versus alone. I like how you zeroed in on the fresh smell. Another positive about our rainy West Coast. I was hoping the weather would hold out for you and your beautiful photos show blue skies. Yay! A pretty slug, which sounds like an oxymoron. A great post and stunning photos!


    • Natalie October 27, 2019 / 11:06 am

      Hi Erica – The Tonquin Trail network is fantastic as it’s within walking distance from the Tofino centre and the trail is in very good shape. I lucked out with the weather while in Tofino. It rained the first night when I arrived then sunny the next two days. I agree with you about checking the trail map and going with someone, especially a new trail, for safety as well as companionship. I try to check in with my five senses when I go hiking. The fresh smell of the earth and the forest is wonderful and not to be missed. Vancouver Island is a beautiful area in the world. You have a wonderful home base.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Erica/Erika October 27, 2019 / 1:16 pm

        I love your concept, Natalie, checking in with our five senses. I will now think about you on my next trail walk. Hopefully today:)


  3. Lydia C. Lee October 27, 2019 / 6:19 pm

    I’ve never heard of banana slugs. They are weird…and slightly wonderful.


    • Natalie October 27, 2019 / 6:33 pm

      These banana slugs exist in North America. I don’t think you can find them in Australia.


      • Lydia C. Lee October 30, 2019 / 6:40 pm

        Well, we can’t have all the weird (and deadly) ones…Glad to share it around. hehehehe #Lovinglifelinky


  4. Retirement Reflections October 27, 2019 / 6:35 pm

    Hi, Natalie – I’ve hiked the Tonquin Trail. I agree that it is stunning.
    I am thoroughly impressed with how much you were able to see during your short trip to Vancouver Island. You are excellent at packing in diverse experiences while remaining relaxed and unhurried. This is an incredible skill!


    • Natalie October 27, 2019 / 7:10 pm

      Thank you so much, Donna, for your kind words. I really liked the Tonquin Trail Network. It goes through lush forests and leads to several nice beaches. Vancouver Island is a beautiful area with so much to explore. I preferred to do a few things with time to enjoy them, as opposed to a packed schedule. What I didn’t see this time, I saved for next time πŸ™‚


  5. Jo October 27, 2019 / 7:41 pm

    Bears, cougars and wolves… Right. Love your description of the smells, sights & sounds – a real sensory trail…although my knees twinged just looking at those downwards stairs (and my thighs did the same knowing that what goes down has to also go up.)


    • Natalie October 27, 2019 / 8:07 pm

      Yeah, those stairs can be a barrier to get to the beach although there are other trails that are flat. I was happy to share the trail with the harmless slugs and no other wild animals.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie October 28, 2019 / 7:37 am

    I just love meeting fellow travelers. We met so many interesting people from all over the world when we walked the Camino in Spain. This trail looks beautiful! What a perfect place to hike. And your ‘reward” for completing the trail is a beach!


    • Natalie October 28, 2019 / 7:55 am

      I meet many interesting people during my travels, too. I liked the Tonquin Trail a lot. I can walk to the trailhead, the trail is in good shape and like you said, the reward is a beautiful beach.


  7. restlessjo October 28, 2019 / 12:47 pm

    Love the steps down to the beach, Natalie. It doesn’t look like somewhere you should beware cougars, but I’m all for heeding signs πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


    • Natalie October 28, 2019 / 5:03 pm

      I’m all for heeding signs, too. Thank you, Jo, for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. lunalyon October 28, 2019 / 3:02 pm

    Pretty pictures. That is one big slug!


    • Natalie October 28, 2019 / 5:04 pm

      That slug was the longest slug I’ve seen. Thank you, Luna, for your comment.


  9. Deb's World October 29, 2019 / 7:05 am

    Sounds like a great hike Natalie and those banana slugs look very interesting! Great views out in nature, what’s not to love? #lifethisweek


    • Natalie October 29, 2019 / 8:10 am

      Thank you, Deb, for your comment. It was an enjoyable hike to a nice beach.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie October 29, 2019 / 3:34 pm

      The wind sailors look very interesting. Thanks, Margy, for sharing your story.


  10. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond October 29, 2019 / 5:32 pm

    Oh my goodness, Natalie I just love your adventures and you never cease to surprise. That slug was interesting, I saw some on our trip to Canada and they were huge! Beautiful photos as usual and thank you for taking us on your hike with you. #MLSTL


    • Natalie October 29, 2019 / 5:57 pm

      Thank you, Sue, for your comment. I’d love to take you on a hike with me IRL πŸ™‚ These slugs live in Pacific North West area of Canada and the USA. Their size surprised me, too.


  11. 3sistersabroad October 29, 2019 / 6:12 pm

    Stunning love the way blogs take me everywhere around the world. I had never until this day heard or seen a banana slug, I wasn’t even sure of what I was looking at first. The beach looks so peaceful somewhere to reflect on life xx #mlstl


    • Natalie October 29, 2019 / 6:33 pm

      I included a photo of the banana slug as I thought some readers may have never seen one. Blogs take us around the world for sure. Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 3sistersabroad October 29, 2019 / 6:38 pm

        Im so glad you had. On looking back at it I can see it looks like a banana skin on the ground. xx


        • Natalie October 29, 2019 / 7:10 pm

          These slugs are interesting creatures and play an important role in the ecosystem. You can find out more about them if you look them up on the web.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. csuhpat1 October 29, 2019 / 9:58 pm

    What a very lovely place. Thanks for sharing it with us. #MLSTL


    • Natalie October 30, 2019 / 8:58 am

      Thank you, Patrick, for your comment. I greatly appreciate it.


  13. betty - NZ October 30, 2019 / 12:17 am

    You have some awesome shots of your hike. I love seeing the banana slug, that’s new to me!

    I’m so glad to see you at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!


    • Natalie October 30, 2019 / 8:59 am

      Thank you, Betty, for your comment. Glad to share something new to you.


  14. leannelc October 30, 2019 / 2:45 am

    Another beautiful spot Natalie (although that set of stairs looked a little daunting!) I hadn’t seen a slug that size either – a lot less scary than a bear!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM πŸ™‚


    • Natalie October 30, 2019 / 9:17 am

      Hi Leanne – I was happy to share the trail with a few quiet and harmless slugs and no other wild animals πŸ™‚ Have a beautiful week!


  15. Denyse Whelan October 30, 2019 / 4:12 am

    Your fitness levels and interest in finding new things to try is so good. I like how you said that was a short hike. It is all up to the experience level.

    Must be my age and natural caution so I tend not to want to venture into a track I cannot leave easily or just come back from. I guess too, in Australia we do have some scary wildlife and I am not keen to meet them.

    Your photos are lovely and that person was lucky to have you walk with her.

    Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week’s optional prompt is 44/51 Colours I Love 4/11/19 and I hope to see you link up then too. Denyse.


    • Natalie October 30, 2019 / 9:21 am

      Hi Denyse – This trail is fairly safe. However, I still took precautions to read the trail map and stay vigilant during my hike. I was glad to have Anna along and share a nice place and time with her. I’m looking forward to the next link-up. Have a wonderful week!


  16. Sanch @ Sanch Writes October 30, 2019 / 4:26 am

    That looks like a lovely hike. Also, I’ve never seen a banana slug – not something we have down this way.


    • Natalie October 30, 2019 / 9:23 am

      Thank you, Sanch, for your comment. The Pacific banana slugs are native to this part of Canada. They’re helpful decomposers of dead leaves in the ecosystem.


  17. OnceUponaTimeHappilyEverAfter.com October 30, 2019 / 5:01 pm

    How nice to make a new friend and explore a hiking path together. Many of our hikes and trails are rock-covered and they are slippery to walk on. I would much prefer the sand and pebbles on this lovely walk. And then to meander down to the beach! Sounds like the perfect hike destination. Thank you for sharing with those of us whose hikes are landlocked!


    • Natalie October 30, 2019 / 5:21 pm

      My pleasure to share this hike with you via my blog, Leslie. It was perfect and I’d do it again.


  18. fabinyourfifties October 30, 2019 / 5:20 pm

    Oh my goodness, Natalie-stunning! The photo at the top of the stairs to the beach is so inviting. And that’s so wonderful to actually meet up and do the hike together. I absolutely love the beauty of Canada-we went to BC, to Kimberley, and liked it so much we are returning in January with the whole family for a ski trip. Lucky you to live there! #MSTL


    • Natalie October 30, 2019 / 5:43 pm

      Thank you for your visit and comment. A family ski trip in Kimberley sounds fabulous. BC has world class ski resorts. I actually live in Ontario. I visited Tofino where I went hiking last month. Canada is a beautiful country from coast to coast.


  19. Min Write of the Middle October 30, 2019 / 8:23 pm

    What a beautiful walk you just took us on Natalie! I almost felt like I was with you! I am so taken with that pacific banana slug! I have never heard of them or seen one before. When I first saw the photo I thought it was a bit of fishing tackle or something left on the beach so was surprised to read it was a living thing! Thanks for this virtual walk with you – it’s my kinda location – nature, nature, nature. Love it! πŸ™‚ #TeamLovinLife


    • Natalie October 30, 2019 / 8:38 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this walk, Min. The banana slug has tentacles (antennas) on its head to sense its way around. Now you know a slug that is native to the West Coast of Canada πŸ™‚


  20. Carol October 31, 2019 / 5:48 am

    Beautiful photos of what looks like an amazing place to hike.


    • Natalie October 31, 2019 / 8:05 am

      Thank you, Carol, for your comment. The Tonquin Trail is wonderful.


  21. Peter B. November 1, 2019 / 5:30 pm

    What a gorgeous hike! The beach at the end of the trail is such a huge reward. Glad you had time to explore and enjoy it.


    • Natalie November 1, 2019 / 6:13 pm

      Thank you, Peter, for your visit and comment. I’m glad I hiked the Tonquin Trail, too. It was a very nice experience.


  22. Helen Stewart November 3, 2019 / 8:56 pm

    What a great trail, nice to see that dogs were permitted too. I didn’t know bunchberries were edible. I’m over from Robin’s Walktober.


    • Natalie November 3, 2019 / 9:05 pm

      Thank you, Helen, for your visit and comment. I like your walk to the lime kiln ruins, too.


  23. BeckyB November 4, 2019 / 3:52 am

    Those slugs are amazing!


    • Natalie November 4, 2019 / 7:59 am

      Thank you, Becky, for your visit and comment. Those slugs are good for the area’s ecosystem. How wonderful that you’re in Portugal! It’s one of the countries that I’ve visited and would like to return to explore more.


      • BeckyB November 4, 2019 / 12:14 pm

        Rare to hear positive things about slugs!

        And yes for half the year we are so lucky, specially as I get to meet up with Jo!


        • Natalie November 4, 2019 / 12:25 pm

          Meeting Jo would be lovely. I hope you share your meet-up.


          • BeckyB November 4, 2019 / 12:27 pm

            Occasionally we do, but usually we’re so busy eating and talking we forget to take any photos!


            • Natalie November 4, 2019 / 12:46 pm

              Good food, good conversation, good company…They’re wonderful distractions πŸ™‚

              Liked by 1 person

  24. Retirement Reflections November 5, 2019 / 8:41 am

    Hi, Natalie – I’m popping back in from #Walktober. I am so glad that you joined in this year. Thank you for offering to lead this if Robin moves on to other things. It would be disappointing to have this linkup end immediately after I discovered it!


    • Natalie November 5, 2019 / 10:13 am

      Thank you, Donna, for popping back. I hope Robin continues. I like walking so it feels natural to offer to lead a Walk link-up.


  25. Eliza Waters November 5, 2019 / 6:38 pm

    What a beautiful area you live in, Natalie. Thanks for sharing your Walktober hike with us and thanks to Robin I got to enjoy it with you! πŸ™‚


    • Natalie November 5, 2019 / 7:12 pm

      Thank you, Eliza, for your visit and comment. I was visiting Tofino and discovered the Tonquin Trail. Glad to share it with you virtually.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit November 6, 2019 / 2:32 pm

    If they were gum trees instead of pine trees I swear that set of stairs to the beach on the Tonquin Trail could have been Noosa in Queensland. Gorgeous


    • Natalie November 6, 2019 / 2:50 pm

      Now you make me want to visit Noosa. Thanks, Leanne, for stopping by.


  27. Eunice November 6, 2019 / 3:36 pm

    Yuck to the slugs, I think they are horrible things no matter what colour they are 😦 Love the beach and the last pic of the trail though πŸ™‚


    • Natalie November 6, 2019 / 5:05 pm

      Thank you, Eunice, for your visit and comment. I don’t mind the slugs. They’re just part of the natural ecosystem and food chain.


  28. livinlolo December 24, 2019 / 12:46 am

    This is great! Would love it if you checked out my blog too!


    • Natalie December 30, 2019 / 11:04 am

      Thank you, Lauryn, for your visit and comment. I greatly appreciate it.


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