Hike in Tofino: Canso Bomber Crash Site


This hike was definitely a random adventure that turned out to be a lot of fun. We wanted to look for this plane that we had heard was in the area of Radar Hill in Tofino. We weren’t really sure where exactly to go but knew it was somewhere at the end of a trail. (Note: we found our way ok but some don’t. The trails get a bit convoluted so take great care watching where you came from and make sure you remember how to get back.)

Off we go.

We parked at the bottom of Radar Hill and hiked south along the highway for a few hundred metres. Just after one of the big bends about a kilometre away from the parking area turn into the bush on a fairly well used trail. It should be good single track. You shouldn’t have to duck through many brambles or branches. If you have, then you’ve turned off too early (or late). The trail is around the telephone pole marked 300 with the airplane drawn on it. (Late 2012 the telephone poles were changed. The trail is 15 poles from the Radar Hill parking lot and has a small airplane drawn on it. Thanks to Soccermom for updating us in the comments.)

Continue on up this single track up a hill and down the other side. You will have to go around an old creep abandoned building to do this. You can go inside if you want, there shouldn’t be anything there. At least there wasn’t anything(one?) in it when we were there!

Heading down the other side you’ll get into some pretty muddy territory. It’s quite low and wet in this area so take good boots. I was in trail runners when we did and had to be extra careful but that kept the trail interesting. A couple people ended up in the mud up to their calves, so pick your footing well.

Follow the marked ribbon all the way across the flat marshy area. If you can tell direction we’ll keep heading in the direction of the ocean. You’ll see the land start to slant up before you get to the water in a ridge that runs parallel to the beach. The crash site is on the near side of that ridge. You should come across a couple large pits filled with water that are left from detonating the explosives that were on the plane when it crashed.

[UPDATE]: Please be careful continuing up the hill past the bomber. I wrongly assumed that there would be views of the ocean from the ridge but according to Randy from the comments below that is not the case. There really isn’t much up there and only looks like a trail because of people taking a few steps further every time. Always be careful taking a trail you do not know. If in doubt turn around or go with someone who knows the area. Thanks for the information Randy.

GPS for this trip: Having the gps for the trip  was nice but not required. It would definitely help finding the entrance to the trail off the road and the correct trail on the way there. Most of it is marked fairly well.

Gear for this trip

Colorado 300 GPS – nice to have, not required

Salomon Wings Trail Runners – boots would have made it easier, just pick your footing carefully with runners when it’s muddy.

Food and Water – Never head out on a trip without extra food and water. Even if you are just going for the day, you might find yourself overnighting somewhere.

Cell Phone – A communication device is always a good idea to have when going out into the woods. If you get lost you’re going to be very happy you had it.

Extra Links about the trail:

Trailpeak track: http://trailpeak.com/trail-Canso-Crash-Site-near-Tofino-BC-5053

Flickr Images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rcthink/sets/72157605969155301/