West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Caves, coves and cliffs dot the shore along the coastal portions of this hike. You may encounter sea lions or spot whales offshore, but what you are not likely to see are other hikers. With abundant wildlife (both in the sea and on land) and old-growth forest, this is perfect, pristine Canadian wilderness that is still not too far from civilization. Hop across logs and boulders, get your feet wet in creeks and tide pools, and trek across beautiful beaches and through misty forests. Cable cars, ladders and some rope work add to the adventure.
When to go: The trail is only open from May through September. July and August are peak season so apply early for a trail pass.
Difficulty: Challenging just for the variety of terrain. You can expect to get wet, cold and damp at any time.
Things to know: Only 52 hikers are allowed to set off each day and the required trail permit can be denied at times. The trail is only open from May through September.
(Photo by Chris-Breikks / Flickr Creative Commons)