Whale watching and hiking in Tofino, Vancouver Island

We planned a full itinerary of activities for our final day in Tofino, starting with a whale watching tour in the morning. There are several available wildlife watching tours in town, but we opted to go with our hotel’s Adventure Centre for the convenience.

Spotting whales

Following a quick breakfast for me and a Gatorade for Mr. Chuckles (who was still recouping from his night of food poisoning), we walked down to the marina to board our covered boat. We set off on a tour that took us on a loop around Vargas Island and saw our first whale within the first 10 minutes! It was a grey whale that we watched diving and spraying out of its blowhole.

Seeing other marine life

Unfortunately, that one grey whale was the only one we ended up spotting, but we did get the chance to see a bunch of other marine wildlife.

A couple seals.

A bunch of sea lions.

A cute otter.

And out of the water, a few eagles.

We also admired beautiful views of Tofino’s neighbouring islands on Clayoquot Sound.

Hiking the Big Tree Trail, Meares Island

Our whale watch finished up at around noon, bringing us back to town in time for lunch at Shed.

Afterward, we caught a water taxi with Jamie’s Whaling Station and ventured over to Meares Island. This is one of the many islands surrounding Tofino and is the location of Opitsat — the main village of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. Its top attraction for tourists is the Big Tree Trail, a section on the southern end of the island that contains a boardwalk featuring some of the oldest and tallest trees in British Columbia.

The easy 2.4 kilometre Big Tree Trail hike showcases old growth forest of spruce, hemlock, and western cedar trees dating over 1000 years old.

The largest tree sits at the end of the boardwalk, a Western Red Cedar known as the Hanging Garden. While it looks dead, the tree is still alive and was given its name because of the other trees and plants that grow off of it. It measures 18 metres wide and is estimated to be 2000 years old, making it one of the oldest trees in the world.

Back to Vancouver

It took us about one hour to finish the trail and hike back to the water taxi pickup. This wrapped up our time in Tofino, and we headed back to Vancouver via seaplane in the evening for one more day in the city.