A few weeks ago we hiked 50km of the 180km Sunshine Coast Trail, it was absolutely beautiful and such an amazing experience. I got a lot of questions on social about it, so I thought I’d share our Sunshine Coast Trail route!
We used the Sunshine Coast Trail website, and Google Maps to plan our route.
The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia is located on the southern mainland coast, across Georgia Strait from Vancouver Island. Although it is on the mainland, you can only get there by ferry.
Ferry #1 Horsehoe Bay to Langdale
On Thursday, we took the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale Ferry (recommend making a reso). This takes you to Gibsons, BC. We went on Thursday to give ourselves lots of time, and got a hotel in Gibsons for the night. We stayed at the Sunshine Lodge Inn, nothing fancy but a perfect place to lay our heads for the night. This Airbnb Loft also looked so cool, we saw it when we went to Beachcomber Coffee the next day as it is right above the coffee shop (recommend).
We also checked out Persephone Brewery on Friday as we had some time, and it was really cool! It was on a really big farm and there were a ton of picnic benches and different areas to hang out. With that said, we ordered food and it was a little disappointing… so I wouldn’t recommend that! Go for the beer and fun times though lol!
Ferry #2 Earls Cove to Saltery Bay
On Friday, we made our way from Gibsons to Earls Cove to catch the next ferry, you can’t make a reso on this ferry btw. This was about an hour drive. If I’m remembering correctly, we had to pay going both ways on this ferry, but on the first one we didn’t have to pay on the way back. Once you arrive in Saltery Bay, it is about 30 minutes from Powell River.
From there, we drove up in two cars near Rieveley’s Pond Hut to park one car. The logging road here was very well maintained and even a very small car had no problem with it.
We stopped at Costa Del Sol in Powell River for our last real meal before backpacking food for a couple days. It was delicious and definitely worth a mention. I had my fish tacos made into a burrito and it was YUM!
From there, we all hopped in one car and set out to our camping spot for the night. We decided to camp near Lewis Lake as it was very close to the start of the Tin Hat hike.
Sunshine Coast Trail Route
Lewis Lake to Tin Hat Hut
We woke up on Saturday morning ready to start the hike and were preparing for what we thought would be one of the toughest days of the trip. We thought this day was going to be about 8km and 950m of elevation, but it turned out the logging road went a lot further up than we realized… We had a truck that could handle this logging road, so made the executive decision to drive up as far as we could (what’s the fun in hiking a road that can just be driven?).
After driving up the logging road, our hike ended up being ~2.23 km, 44 minutes, and 322m of elevation gain, LOL!
This worked out so well because we were at the hut by 12:00 PM, and the huts are first come first serve, therefore huge in helping us get the hut!
We spent the day hanging out, reading, and catching the sunset. We were so lucky to have a very clear day and gorgeous weather.
We decided to wake up for sunrise, a decision no one regretted. After having a little post sunrise nap, we started on our next hike.
Tin Hat Hut to Fiddlehead Landing Hut
~ 10.16 km, 3 hrs 10 mins, no elevation gain
Sunday we covered more ground, but with no elevation gain it wasn’t too bad. We got to Fiddlehead Hut at 2:30 PM. We were lucky and able to use this hut to ourselves as well. It was so gorgeous here and we spent the afternoon swimming in the lake.
Fiddlehead Landing to Anthony Island
14.58 km, 4 hrs 25 mins, 803 m elevation gain
Longest day yet! On our way to Anthony Island, we stopped at Confederation Hut for lunch (not included in the hours of hiking). If you wanted, you could break this day in two and stay at Confederation Hut. The hut was very nice and it tempted us to stay, but we needed to get more hiking in!
I think Anthony Island was my favourite camping spot. The hut was available, but we opted to tent (which I’d recommend, the hut was not very welcoming IMO). We arrived at 6:00 PM and went for a team lake swim before dinner. The water was pretty warm at both spots!
Anthony Island to Powell River
16 km, 3 hrs 46 mins, 297 m elevation gain
Crushed 16 km on our last day!!! We kept up a pretty good pace and it didn’t take us very long either. This wasn’t meant to be our last day, but logistically it just didn’t really make sense to go as far as we had originally planned. Once we got to Powell River, we decided to call it and walk to Townside Brewing. In hindsight, we could have left the one car in Powell River, but it worked out okay anyway.
We had some beers at Townsite Brewing, they have no food for sale but you can get it delivered, and we ordered pizza! From there we walked a couple km to 2nd Beach, where we tented it for our last night (probably not allowed? But it wasn’t an issue). That evening, two people in the group took a cab to grab the car that was at Rieveley Pond, and brought it to beach.
The next day 4 people hopped in that car and drove up to Lewis Lake to grab the other 3 vehicles and then made our way back to Vancouver.
There are a lot of different ways you could hike the Sunshine Coast Trail, but we were very happy that we kept it pretty chill overall. It was so nice to have some time to spend at each destination, and I highly recommend leaving yourself time to do so.
Did you require permits?
No, you don’t have to sign up for this hike or anything like that, and all the huts are first come first serve!
How did you research campsites/ stops?
What did you pack?
Blog post coming soon on food & gear.
Did you bring booze?
You must not know me very well… LOL! Yes. Joel carried a bag of wine for us and then we each carried a couple beers and drinks each. That’s commitment hahaha. I found these mini boxed rosé’s that were perfect!
Pro tip: if you ever carry cans in your bag make sure to wipe them off so there is NO sand or anything on them, and put them in socks or something if you can. Even just a little bit of rubbing over the course of a hike will cause them to explode in your bag.
How far out did you book the spots?
First come, first serve!
Where did you sleep?
Huts and tents, you have to carry tents with you the entire time in case the huts aren’t available!
Are campfires allowed?
YES! One of the great things about the SCT is that campfires are allowed, as long as there is not a Provincial or regional fire ban in effect. There are existing fire pits to use, and you can just use dead wood that you find in the area.
Are there toilets along the trail?
There are outhouses at most of the huts!
Where can I get water along the trail?
There is access to water along most of the trails via creeks and lakes, if it’s a pretty clear creek I’ll likely just drink the water as is. But at some of the high mountain summits there will be no clean water, we had a water filtration system for the group to use and it was quite crucial and handy.
Feel free to reach out or comment below if you have any other questions! And tag me online if you end up doing this trip, I’d love to see your adventures.