A multi-use path between Ucluelet and Tofino that’s been years in the making is finally complete.
To celebrate, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is in the process of planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Tom and Judy Schmidt from Ucluelet bike part of the trail almost daily and say the 40-kilometre path linking Tofino, Ucluelet and First Nations is a community treasure.
“It’s really nice,” said Tom. “It’s totally flat and paved, and if there was a really cool or something like that, they went around it, so there are some turns in it here and there.”
The wheels were set in motion for the path close to a decade ago, and the federal government announced funding for the section through Pacific Rim National Park in 2016.
Called ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee), the 25-kilometre section cost $51 million and runs through the traditional territories of the Tla-o-qui-aht and YuułuɁiłɁatḥ First Nations. It was finished last year.
The final 1.2-kilometre piece, with $1.4 million in funding from several levels of government, was just completed in recent weeks.
“I felt it was one of the most critical pieces to connect that path because it has the junction between Tofino and Ucluelet and Highway 4, so it was a real liability for bike riders,” said Vaida Siga, the area’s director with the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.
She says the path links communities and makes it easier to get around.
“Now that it’s completed, people can ride all the way from Ucluelet to Tofino, visiting beaches on the way. Parks Canada has put really nice bike paths right next to their beaches, so it’s a real asset for the communities,” said Siga.
Tofino’s mayor, Dan Law, uses the path for 90 per cent of his travels within the district.
He says it’s crucial for hosting so many tourists each year.
“Probably our most important piece of infrastructure for getting around and being able to host 750,000 visitors, we couldn’t do it without this path,” said Law.
Now that it’s finished, he says what makes the 40-kilometre section between Tofino and Ucluelet unique is that it’s an uninterrupted journey.
“There’s no real conflict with vehicles or any other type of transportation,” he said. “I wish every community could have a multi-use path like this one.”
Tom and Judy say they know the trail will only become more popular.
“People say I don’t know how you can go on it every day. I’d be bored, but there are bears out here. Every day’s different. It’s really fun,” said Judy.
Tourists will add this as a must-do trail to their travel plans when visiting the West Coast.
In 2022, Pacific Rim National Park was named one of Canada’s most epic camp destinations.