Back when Tofino & Ucluelet were first settled,the only way to get from one place to the other was by boat. They found this route impossible during the stormy winter months,so a rudimentary  road was constructed between the two small towns.

It consisted basically of three portions,headland (corduroy rd),beaches & inland water way.

This is what someone coming from Ucluelet would had to of done to get to Tofino.

Get in their boat & row down the Ucluelet harbour (northward) to the end,walk across the headland (2 km) to Florencia bay (the wetter areas of this road were lined with Cedar logs making it into a Corduroy rd),walk northward along Florencia bay to the north end & climb the escarpment to another headland road connecting over to Wickaninnish/Longbeach beach. Walk northward to were the parking lot is for Longbeach. Turn east & go across the final land portion.

Basically the spot where the forest road starts is across the hwy from the parking lot.The spot to enter the forest off of the hwy is difficult to find. (about halfway between the airport road & the yellow gate) The original road is still there.It has ditches on either side & can still be walked upon.Lots of windfall of course. It ends at the Grice bay flats. There is a meandering drainage arm going into Grice bay from this point. They built a boat house here. I suspect a soul could also take refuge in this shed &  wait for high tide. At high tide,the narrow channel would fill & one could continue their journey by rowing out to Grice bay.With the tide heading out,they would row with the tide out of Grice & down Browning pass to Tofino.

I’ve seen pictures of Model T cars using the forest sections of this muddy road.Woman in their Sunday best standing in mud trying to push out a stuck vehicle! How they got the cars down to the beach would of been interesting as the escarpment is 150 feet high!

These shots show the very beginning of the water route from Grice bay to Tofino.The channel in spots is less than 6 feet wide.You wouldn’t want to be late rowing out as Grice is a very shallow bay & goes dry at low tide.



There also were homesteaders down in the Grice bay flats.They had cattle & kept them corralled with a cedar fence. You can still see the poles.


As you can see,the grasses inside this fenced off area would of been covered by the ocean. This salty grass couldn’t of made the meat taste appealing? The milk would of tasted off too I suspect?

People using this water road portion would of rowed right by this spot.Not sure when the settlers moved in or moved out?

So,in conclusion using this rough west coast road would of been only for the strong of heart!



  1. You’d really have needed a serious reason to travel the old road – tougher times, tougher people. And to eat and drink the salt beef and salt milk? Tough, indeed!
    Interesting post – thanks Wayne.

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