Stand Up Paddle Boarding Near Ucluelet | Never Tracked Out Gear Trade

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Near Ucluelet - March's Featured Adventure

March 06, 2017

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Near Ucluelet - March's Featured Adventure

Nestled in a quiet cove, 45 minutes from Ucluelet, is Secret Beach Campground in Toquaht Bay. Within Barkley Sound, this is an ideal launching point for stand up paddle boarding (SUPing) and kayaking. The campground itself is a hidden gem if you're looking for an affordable waterfront alternative to the high-priced campgrounds of Tofino. Make sure you are equipped with a vehicle that can handle the gravel road leading to the area. 

If you're SUPing you can skip the boat launch and head straight into the water from your campground. At high tide the distance to the water is quite short, but low tide brings with it a bit of a walk with your board, so bring a pair of water shoes or sandals to traverse the rocks and barnacles. Alternatively, if you want to launch from the boat launch it is a very quick drive from your site. Even though the area is somewhat protected within a bay, it is still subject to wind and changing currents, so check the conditions before venturing too far from shore. This is actually a really important habit to get into for any paddling adventure.

We stumbled upon Secret Beach Campground two years ago when a spontaneous camping trip found us without an affordable camping spot anywhere in the Tofino or Ucluelet area. We have since camped at Secret Beach twice. The area is serene...exactly what you would expect from the west coast of Vancouver Island and its lush rain forest landscapes. We saw our fair share of seals and even spotted an otter along the shoreline. We found the best direction for paddling was west along the shoreline or, on a calm day, venturing across to the Stopper Islands. There are also some great beach spots along the shoreline to stop and have a rest or a snack if you bring along provisions. Bears live in the area so make sure keep an eye out for furry visitors looking for food and always remember to pack out all of your food and waste! 

Directions from Ucluelet: Head northwest on Peninsula Rd. to leave town, and stay on the highway for 8 kilometers. When you arrive at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction, veer right to stay on Highway 4 heading towards Port Alberni.  Follow Highway 4 for 12 kilometers, then turn right onto the Toquaht Bay gravel road.
Stay straight on the Toquaht Bay gravel road for 13 kilometers, and Secret Beach will be on your right hand side.

Note: You need to bring your own drinking water. There is a tap available at the further of the two sites though the campground does not recommend it for drinking. We have seen people drink the water using their MSR Guardian and they were fine but the campground staff do insist that it is not for drinking. Also note that this is off-grid with no power hookups and no cell signal. The check in area has limited wifi available when the generator is running. Ice is available in town.




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