The Tofino Bomber Hike
The Tofino Bomber Hike isn’t an official hike on the Pacific Rim National Park website and won’t be found in major guidebooks, despite crashing over 70 years ago. While not a very difficult trail, the extremely muddy marshland sections lead to people saying it wasn’t accessible on foot. This rough terrain plus having to walk down a stretch of highway to find it is part of the reason it’s been left off official trails (it is formally registered as an archaeological site, though). It’s become more and more well known over the years, partially due to the rise of social media.
The Tofino Bomber History
On Feb 8th, 1945, near the end of World War II, this Royal Canadian Air Force Canso Bomber, Flight 11007, took off from Tofino. It was part of a routine night patrol on Vancouver Island’s coast in case of a Japanese military invasion. Soon after taking off, an engine failed and the pilot tried to turn back but they didn’t make it. The pilot slowed down as much as possible to avoid slamming into a hill and the crew of 12 all survived with only minor injuries and were even able to put out the fire.
They spent the night in the wilderness and were found by a rescue party in the morning. A RCAF team came later to collect the equipment, weapons and radar gear, along with detonating the 4 400kg bombs onboard – luckily they didn’t go off during the fiery crash. The plane was too large and stuck to retrieve, staying as a reminder of WWII and the Canadians who took part. Even after all that time, it still remains in decent shape, making it an amazing sight to see in person or from the air.
How to Get to the Tofino Bomber
When driving, you begin at the Radar Hill lower parking lot, about 10km south Tofino. You then head south on foot down the highway, counting 15 telephone poles (about 500m). The path is more clear these days as it’s popularity grows, but you’ll also see a little trailhead sign with an airplane doodle and arrow pointing you in the right direction. The hike takes about an hour, the trail’s marked by previous explorers. Around 10-15 minutes in, you’ll find an interesting abandoned building worth checking out. Always keep an eye out for pink/orange flags to keep you on the right track. There are also a few small metal yellow signs to watch out for. There is a section that can be tricky to find, so check above for a rope strung in the trees to lead you. When you’re getting close, there will be an open area and a deep pond, which was created when they had to detonate the bombs they couldn’t safely retrieve. Soon, you will see the tail of the legendary plane.
We hiked the Tofino bomber trail through the forest and through the mud to find an abandoned WWII plane crash 🛩🌲. . . . . . . #explorecanada #tofino #tofinobomber #bombertrail #cansobomber #vancouverisland #peoplewhodofunstuff #wanderlust #canada🍁 #abandonedplaces #planecrash #wwiibomber #hikecanada
Note this trail is very muddy any time of year, so make sure you’re prepared and have the right footwear. It’s around 2 km one way and is moderately difficult, but can be confusing with many hikers getting lost. Do not attempt within four hours of sunset to be safe and make sure you have a flashlight and charged phone just in case.
If you’re planning to visit the Tofino Bomber this summer, check out the Google map of the trail from Tofino Hiking and share this post with the friends you’d bring along with you!