Who doesn’t love boardwalk trails? While there are several of them on the west side of Vancouver Island, I wasn’t aware of any other island location that has one. However, on a recent trip to the north end of the island, we discovered a beautiful boardwalk trail in Port Hardy.

Quick Trail Facts

  • Trail Features: long boardwalks, secluded lake, old growth forest, second growth forest
  • Length: This point to point trail is 3.8 km (one way)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate (moderate due to uneven terrain)
  • Hazards: Boardwalks can be slippery when wet, and are often uneven; Black bears frequent the area
  • Suitability: hiking / walking
  • Bike Trails: no
A boardwalk trail in Port Hardy. Vancouver Island View

Fort Rupert Trail – A Boardwalk Trail in Port Hardy

Known locally as the “Commuter Trail,” Fort Rupert Trail is a historic walk through Kwakiutl First Nations territory. Long ago, the Kwakiutl used this same route to travel between two villages. It now connects a small parking area near Storeys Beach on one end, and at the opposite end, another on Bear Cove Highway.

There is varied terrain along the way, including gravel-type surfaces, dirt trails, and long wooden boardwalks. As there are two starting points, you can choose which direction to travel and where you’d like your walk to begin and end. The trail is well-marked and provides km markings.

No matter which point you start at, make sure to walk to at least the mid-way point, where you’ll find a beautiful little lake. The boardwalk along the lake is also in the best shape and is the most scenic. There are a few benches where you can sit and enjoy the view.

Fort Ruper Trail is a boardwalk trail in Port Hardy. Vancouver Island View

From Bear Cove Highway

We were thrilled to discover the Bear Cove Highway trailhead is located within a 5-minute walk from the campground we were staying at. Wildwoods Campsite is a rustic yet quiet campground conveniently located in Port Hardy.

When you start your walk from the Bear Cove Highway access point, you begin with a steady climb up what looks like an old (and torn up) logging road. This portion of the terrain is a little difficult to walk on, so please watch your footing. If you are there during the summer, expect to see plenty of wildflowers.

Once you pass the 1 km mark, the boardwalks start, and things get a bit easier.

A secluded lake found along a boardwalk trail in Port Hardy. Vancouver Island View

The Lake

Just after the 2 km mark, you come to a beautiful lake. The boardwalk along the lake is obviously the most recently built, as it’s in great shape and provides the most scenic views. It’s worth stopping here to catch your breath and take in the scenery.

There’s another small trail that meanders along the lake with some unique and extremely narrow boardwalks. As you reach the lake, look for a trodden path on your right-hand side (if coming from the Bear Cove Highway trailhead). We turned around after only a few minutes on this alternate path, so I am unsure where this trail leads.

Storey's Beach at Beaver Harbour Park. Vancouver Island View

Storey’s Beach (Beaver Harbour Park)

The other access point to this boardwalk trail in Port Hardy is on Beaver Harbour road, which is only a short jaunt from beautiful Storey’s Beach. When the tide is out, this beach offers an abundance of soft sand. The park offers picnic tables, benches, bbq pits, a covered pavilion, and a lovely expansive lawn.

My suggestion is to bring a picnic with you on your hike and utilize this beautiful area as a place to rest while on your journey. If starting at Bear Cove Highway, you’d walk to this park and beach during the middle of your journey. If starting on Beaver Harbour road, you’ll hike to Bear Cove Highway and back and then end at the park.

No matter which way you slice it, you won’t regret spending some time here!

Nearby Attractions

When visiting Port Hardy, don’t miss out on these other great places to explore:

Have you hiked the Fort Rupert Trail? Have you been to Storey’s Beach? Let us know about your experience(s) in the comment section below.

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