A pleasant drive and day trip is the route to the small town of Port Renfrew.

Take a beautiful and scenic drive of approx. 100km (one way) to the West Coast town of Port Renfrew.

Fishing, whale watching, bird watching, hiking and exploring tidal pools on low tide are some of the activities found in and around Port Renfrew.

The most notable attraction is called Botanical Beach where exposed tidal pools show a large variety of marine fauna & flora.


The Botanical Beach parking lot is the western terminus of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, located at

Kilometer 47. This parking lot provides access to nearby Botany Bay and Botanical Beach itself.

Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew, BC Visitor in VictoriaBotanical Beach affords visitors with access to uniquely rich tide pools and shoreline trails with fantastic geological features. The extensive variety of marine flora and fauna in this colourful intertidal zone includes red, purple and orange starfish and sea urchins, white gooseneck barnacles, blue mussels and green sea anemones and sea cucumbers. Coralline algae, periwinkles, chitons and sea stars can also be seen at Botanical Beach.

Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew, BC Visitor in Victoria

Tide Pool at Botanical Beach

The region is so biologically significant that the University of Minnesota installed the first marine research station in the Pacific Northwest at Botanical Beach in 1901. Since then, the area has been used for research by a number of universities in BC and Washington.

A low tide of 1.2 meters or less is best for viewing these tide pools (Port Renfrew tides).

Impact of human activity on the intertidal area is of growing concern. When visiting Botanical Beach, please look in the tide pools only – do not touch the marine life. Do not remove, collect or disturb any tide pool life, shells, plants, flowers, kelp, etc. – they are all part of a vulnerable ecosystem that Botanical Beach was established to protect. Even touching the water in a tide pool with sunscreen on your hands can create an “oil slick” that could kill the vulnerable creatures in this sensitive ecosystem. Photographs make great souvenirs.

The Botanical Beach day-use area offers parking, pit toilets, visitor information and picnic areas. While hiking on the trail, cars can be left overnight in the Botanical Beach parking lot.

Port Renfrew is also very close to many world-class trails and parks:


The West Coast Trail is an internationally acclaimed hiking trail that retraces an old telegraph route that once connected Victoria with Cape Beale near Bamfield. Once used as a safety route for survivors of coastal shipwrecks, the trail takes the hiker along the wild and remote west coast of Vancouver Island through cedar, hemlock and spruce forests, along cliffs, beaches and sandstone ledges and over suspension bridges spanning rivers and flowing streams.


The Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) is fighting to preserve this stand of old-growth forest near Port Renfrew, with its burly cedars, large Douglas Fir, and home of Canada’s gnarliest tree.


The San Juan and Gordon Rivers converge at the foot of Port San Grey whole in estuary (II. Chester) Juan bay. The proximity to the Pacific and local high relief results in a mild and wet maritime climate. This has created ideal conditions for vegetation to grow and the result, after millennia, is that the San Juan Valley has deep rich soils. The presence of the giant Red Creek Fir is a testament to these superb growing conditions. Said to be Canada’s largest standing Fir Tree, the Red Creek fir is estimated to be 750 years to 1,000 years old.

Height – 73.8 m (242’)
Circumference -12.55 m (41’2”)
Crown – 22.9 m (75’)

Located 2.5 km outside of Port Renfrew, the Red Creek fir is accessible by four wheel drive only.