The Best Accessible Hiking Trails On Vancouver Island
When it comes to the first thing people want to get out and do once they have their new mobility scooter — the answers are usually the same! People want to be able to explore the diversity and wonder of Vancouver Island’s many hikes and trails.
But it can be difficult to know beforehand which trails are easily accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Here’s a list of some of our favourite accessible hiking paths and trails on Vancouver Island.
Pacific Rim National Park
The Pacific Rim National Park, situated on the western coast of Vancouver Island, is a tranquil and picturesque nature reserve that highlights rugged coastline against a backdrop of temperate rainforests and wetlands.
With such a diverse and widespread area to cover, there are large sections which wheelchair and scooter users may find difficult or impossible to access. That’s why we’re going to highlight a trail within the park that is ideal when it comes to accessibility: the Shorepine Bog Trail.
Don’t let the name fool you - the 0.8 kilometre loop trail actually gives you a close up view of the towering scenery and biodiversity that makes the Pacific Rim park so special.
Of particular note is the Sphagnum moss, covering most of the area’s surface, this vegetation can grow up to 2 meters thick and be over 400 years old!
As an additional assistance for wheelchair users, an all-terrain wheelchair is made available for visitors at the Kwisitis Centre.
Strathcona Provincial Park
Strathcona Provincial Park, located in the centre of Vancouver Island, is the oldest provincial park in British Columbia, having been designated in 1911.
Demonstrating the kind of mountainous alpine stretches that characterize so much of the Pacific Northwest, much of the park remains in its natural state, attracting only the most seasoned of hikers.
However, for those looking for something more accessible, the trails of the Forbidden Plateau’s Paradise Meadows Route offer a wheelchair accessible, all-ages way of enjoying all the crisp air and jaw-dropping views of an alpine hike.
Built specifically with accessibility at the forefront, this loop trail offers mixed terrain including both boardwalks and gravel. Some sections may require a trail wheelchair.
Located to the north of Qualicum Beach, the area that compromises Lighthouse Country is one of the most bewitching and beautiful stretches of land on Vancouver Island. Something that planners in the region have ensured will be accessible to all, through the construction of the Lighthouse Country Regional Trail.
Striking a smart balance between accessibility and atmosphere, this trail allows wheelchair and scooter users to truly feel like they’re a part of nature rather than being apart from it.
This loop route offers a variety of terrains, with predominantly woodland and forest surroundings, whilst traversing some of the region’s most scenic rivers. Along the south loop portion of the trail, there is also a tapping rail to help those with balance or visual impairments.
The Galloping Goose Trail
Among the tracks of what was once a World War One freight railway line lies one of Vancouver Island’s most famous trails: The Galloping Goose.
This 55 km stretch forms a key part of The Great Trail, and has a variety of access points across its length, allowing you to tailor the hike exactly to your needs.
With the exception of the final section between Sooke and Leechtown (which consists of mostly coarse gravel, that some users will find difficult), the majority of this trail is formed of wide pea gravel paths. Allowing everyone to enjoy a magnificent journey across wooden trestles and through dense forest canopy.
East Sooke Regional Park
The East Sooke Regional Park is one of the most spectacular, and unfortunately daunting, hikes on Vancouver Island.
With dramatic cliffs and wind rocked bluffs, and a landscape that combines coastal ferocity with dense forest lands, there are stretches that even an experienced hiker would find difficult. However, if you know where to look, there are trails that can offer an inaccessible inroad into this remarkable area.
The inland paths will offer a flatter and more gentle entry point, and a stretch from Pike Road To Iron Mine Bay will offer flat surfaces, a gentle slope, and beautiful ocean views from the comfort of a rest shelter.
Alternatively, by taking a path from Aylard Farm to Becher Bay, you can take in the tranquil pastoral calm of your starting point’s setting, and enjoy a path with a similar profile to that of Pike Road-Iron Mine Bay.
The first step to enjoying Vancouver Island’s great outdoors is making sure you have the right equipment — all of which can be found here at Island Mediquip. We stock a wide range of wheelchairs and scooters, and we’re sure you’ll be able to find something that’s comfortable for you.