Hiking the Kludahk Trail on Vancouver Island – Vlog 76

by Melissa West on

Kludahk Trail

Today we are going on a hike on the Kludahk. There are some rumours that the Kludahk is a secret society. This is perhaps because they have a membership process, it is in the back country, located in an environmentally sensitive area and the roads to access the Kludahk can often be washed out and signage is not that great to get there.

Kludahk is Nuu-chah-nulth for “home of the elk”. The trail passes through the Pacheedaht peoples of Port Renfrew traditional territory.The late Chief, Kenny Jones, named the trail in honour of this special place.

For our hike, we walked about 10 km of the 48 km trail that runs east to west along the San Juan Ridge. The Kludahk parallels the Juan de Fuca Straight between Jordan River and Port Renfrew. Many of you will also know the West Coast Trail, well the Kludahk parallels some of the 75 km West Coast Trail is part of the ancient paths and paddling routes used for trade and travel by First Nations in the Pacific Rim National Park.

Going for a hike on the Kludahk today is super special because for up to 6-7 months of the year, from November to June, the trail is covered with snow. It is not unusual for the trail to get 25 feet of snow, in which case the trail is not visible. In the autumn and spring the trails are very wet. Because the Kludahk passes through a number of meadows and bogs, it is important to protect the trail from too much of a ¨footprint.¨ That leaves a few weeks in the summer months to explore the trail!

In the summer, it will take you 3 days to hike the 40 km of the Kludahk trail if you are super fit. However if you want to enjoy the scenery it is recommended that you take 4 nights and 5 days. That way you can enjoy your time and your surroundings.

Anybody can become a member of the Kludahk society. Membership is $35/year for individuals and $50 for families, along with your agreement to do be involved in the work of maintaining the trail and the application process.

The Kludahk society maintains the brush, hauls in the tread plates you saw us hiking across, they clear blowdowns and they maintain the cabins. The Kludahk society has built 5 cabins along the trail which provide shelter for day hikers. If you want to stay overnight in a cabin, you must be a member of the Kludahk. The cabins are open and as you can see we went in and had a look around. You can take refuge from the weather, or bugs, or make a cup of tea or a meal. There is wood and any other supplies you might need there available for donation.

Of course, the biggest surprise of our day were the wasps which were stinging, multiple times and multiple people in our party. I don´t know if it was the time of the year or if the nests had been disturbed, but if you are allergic, come prepared!

Let us know what you liked best about our hike, please comment, like and subscribe.

Namaste, Melissa

Thanks to FredJI

Photos taken of the Kludahk Trail by Tim


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