Trips Rated By How Busy They Are
At West Coast Wonders we strive to make our trips different from the rest and, if possible, prefer to go places that few other people visit. We like to show people the BC that we know, one of the last great wilderness regions on earth. This is not mass tourism in the Rockies, these are the Coast Mountains and they can be remote and wild.
If your desire is to experience true Canadian wilderness while seeing few other people then, in order, you should choose: the South Chilcotin Traverse or Scrambling in the Dickson Range; Ape Lake; the Stein Alpine Circuit; the Nootka Island Trail then the West Coast Trail.
To give you an idea of numbers the West Coast Trail sees about 6000 visitors a season, Nootka, in contrast, sees about a tenth of that, somewhere north of 600 trail users. Our mountain trips are completely different. There are probably fewer than 60 visitors per summer to the area of the Chilcotins where the South Chilcotin Traverse and Dickson Range scrambling take place. That’s less than 60 to the whole area, not necessarily to where we will go. On both those trips you will probably not see another group. In the Stein or at Ape Lake you might come across one or two other groups but that’s all that we would expect on a typical trip.
Trips Rated by Difficulty
In terms of difficulty the West Coast Trail is definitely a long slog and that obviously adds up to some exertion. But in terms of terrain the Chilcotin trips are probably slightly more difficult on a footstep by footstep basis in that they are largely or wholly without trails. We would say then, in order of difficulty, it goes something like this - the West Coast Trail (for distance as well as some technical walking), West Chilcotin and South Chilcotin traverse (because of off trail with full sized packs), Nootka (similar to WCT but shorter, definitely some hard sections), Scrambling in the Dickson Range (mostly due to elevation gain when peak bagging) and, finally, the Stein Alpine Circuit.
Trips Rated By Scenery
First thing to note here is that all these trips are incredibly scenic, if they weren’t we wouldn’t be running them. Having said that, and also noting that obviously this is very subjective, we would probably say the most scenic is the West Chilcotin Traverse, followed closely by the West Coast Trail. After that we would maybe say the Stein Alpine Circuit and Nootka before the South Chilcotin Traverse and Scrambling in the Dickson Range which are both in the same area. One last time, these are all very scenic places and the preferences expressed are highly subjective. Rest assured you’ll love any of these places.
Trips Rated By Wildlife Viewing Opportunities
Hands down the coastal trips are ‘better’ for viewing wildlife so, if this is important to you, then you should seriously take this into account. We would say, from past experience, here’s your best chance of seeing wildlife in descending order from the most likely - Nootka, West Coast Trail,