While natural beauty is a hot topic for travelers and journalists right now, you could say that Vancouver Island has always been ahead of the curve.  To drive Vancouver Island is to take in ocean views, big sky, big hills and big trees – with a curve or two in the road…

Part 1: Comox to Tofino

Vancouver Island is a sight from any perspective, especially when you’re approaching it from the air for a landing at the Comox Valley Airport.  As you disembark the plane outside, take in the mild weather and know that  you’ve arrived on an island where skiing, surfing and whale watching are just within a day’s drive!

Driving south from the Comox Valley on Highway 19 feels like freedom – it’s the open road under open skies.  And if you look to the left you might catch some views of the adjacent Discovery Islands and of the Salish Sea (formerly known as the Strait of Georgia) along with BC’s Sunshine Coast.

Once you turn onto Highway 4, also known as the Pacific Rim Highway, the road becomes smaller as it starts to wind around the hills and Lake Cameron, leading you toward and through Cathedral Grove’s stand of ancient Douglas Firs.

Descend through the valley to the Port Alberni, guarded by Mount Arrowsmith.  Once you’ve passed the city lights, this roadtrip takes a turn toward wilderness.  The next 1.5 hours will have you seeing Sproat Lake, Taylor and Kennedy Rivers, Rocky Creek and majestic Kennedy Lake.  You’ll also find yourself on Sutton Pass at 240 metres of elevation – which can occasionally get snowy in winter.  Prepare your vehicle by following these guidelines.  Soon, a sign will welcome you to the traditional land of the Tla-o-qui-aht people.

After a turn to the right at the Tofino-Ucluelet junction, you’ll enter Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and once you spot that first breathtaking/heart-lifting sight of Long Beach…  you know you’re just minutes away from the magic of Tofino!

Watch for our next blog post, where Tofitians tell us about their favourite events at the Pacific Rim Whale Festival, returning March 14-22.

Experience this roadtrip as part of the Whale of a Ski Trip giveaway!  ENTER TO WIN HERE

Curious about Mount Washington?  Get more info with Tourism Mount Washington.

Learn about the Comox Valley Airport here.

Get Tofino spring accommodation offers here.

*Following some great conditions over the holidays,  the warm, wet weather experienced since the latter part of January and early February throughout the West Coast, has forced Mount Washington to put their winter operations on hold until the colder weather and our legendary west coast snow returns.  We are all optimistic that the lifts will be spinning again soon!

** In the unlikely event that spring conditions persist on Mount Washington, the winner of the 4 night getaway will have the choice to opt for an alternative Alpine/North Central Island experience *or* can opt to redeem the 4-night Vancouver Island vacation in March 2016.


Photo:  Shayd Johnson


Updated Highway 4 Road Closure Schedule at Kennedy Hill