The only Highway to Ucluelet is Highway 4, that starts at Parksville, travels through Port Alberni and on to Ucluelet and Tofino, 140km (86.6 miles) away. From Port Alberni, the Pacific Rim Highway (Highway 4) leads west through the rugged mountain scenery of the Mackenzie Range, past the rushing waters of Kennedy River and the shores of Kennedy Lake, to the west coast of Vancouver Island. At the edge where land meets the Pacific Ocean lies Ucluelet.
Ucluelet is surrounded by the spectacular beauty of Canada’s temperate rainforest and the Pacific Ocean. Some of British Columbia’s largest inventories of red cedar stand adjacent to the town. They enjoy a fairly temperate climate with year-round temperature ranging from 5ºC to 20º C. Snowfall is minimal, and the town does have roughly 328 frost-free days and 1800 hours of sunshine a year. Nice enough… but rain it does.
The Nuu-Chah-Nulth people have long used the word U-clue-let, meaning “safe harbour” and it is indeed an apt description for a village that offers both a sheltered inner harbour and magnificent vistas of the open Pacific Ocean within easy walking distance. From the sheltered inner harbour, watch the bustle of the fishing and charter vessels, spot the ever present bald eagles as they soar overhead, and keep an eye out for the Sea lions, harbour seals and river otters and even occasional Orcas We saw three Orcas on our trip, all of which were speedier than my ability to get my camera.
The rocky shoreline of the open Pacific offers spectacular view and breathtaking winter storm watching. Visitors from around the world come here for the excellent fishing, whale watching, scuba diving, nature cruises, beachcombing, kayaking, wilderness hiking and the pristine nature. We simply went this time to visit.
We hiked the Wild Pacific Trail (entrance photo above), which takes you along a coastal old growth forest walk. Don’t miss this. It is well worth the hike.
In addition, every spring, over 20,000 gray whales move through these waters on their annual migration from Baja California and Mexico to the Bering Sea. There are locations in the Park for whale watching, or you can take a whale watching tour. We watched the Grey Whales migrate through this year and it was a wonderful day out on the water.
During the winter months, see nature at its wildest during storm watching season. Eight-meter waves, thundering surf, and ocean spray whipped into a foaming frenzy provide nature’s ultimate natural theatrics. Watch the storms from safe, designated viewpoints outdoors or from the comfort of an ocean view inn.