Meares Island is located directly across from the Village of Tofino, within the haḥuułii of the ʕaḥuusʔatḥ nation. Home to some of the most breathtaking old growth trees – ranging from 800-1,500 years old – the island encapsulates the very essence of a coastal rainforest: great carpets of dense moss and sprawling seas of ferns cascade across the forest floor, giant, ancient cedar trees tower above, and all around the tranquil ecosystem teems with life. Overhead, the iconic Lone Cone Mountain looms.
Historically, Meares is one of the most important islands on the coast, having hosted one of the largest environmental protests in Canadian History. The Clayoquot Protests (also known as the “War in the Woods”), which began in 1985 with the goal of halting the unauthorized logging of Meares Island, culminated in 1993, when 856 people were arrested. Prior to the protests at Fairy Creek, this event was the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian History. Importantly, both the ʕaḥuusʔatḥ and Tla-O-Qui-Aht nations played crucial roles in stopping MacMillan Bloedlel from logging Meares, and played leading roles in the designation of Clayoquot Sound as a UNESCO Biosphere Region, which stopped – among other things – deforestation in its tracks. The reason that this region remains intact and that visitors are able to enjoy its pristine nature is that Clayoquot Sound is, first foremost, the home of the ʕaḥuusʔatḥ and Tla-O-Qui-At nations, and has come to be recognized as such.
Culturally speaking, the ʕaḥuusʔatḥ people have called Meares home since time immemorial. The fishing village of Maatsquii, located on the south-western coast of the island, would have once housed thousands of people. Nearby creeks and streams provided fresh water, returning runs of chum and coho salmon were an abundant source of food, and the forest provided the cedar needed to build lodges, canoes and house-poles, and to weave baskets, clothing, fishing line and countless other daily utilities. Like all of our villages and sites of cultural importance, a deep and resonant sense of place can be perceived the moment you enter the space, and leave a lasting impression and feeling of perspective that will stick with you long after you leave.
Campground & Hostel
The Lone Cone Hostel & Campground is a ten minute boat ride from Tofino, offering guests a more remote experience with the convenience of being just minutes away from anything and everything that you could possibly need. Our 25 campsites are thoughtfully positioned to maximize privacy and optimize views looking out over a breathtaking white-sand beach. Amenities include, among other things, a communal kitchen equipped with Barbecues, two stone fire pits, a communal gazebo, beach volleyball, hot tub, and paddle boards.
The Lone Cone Campground & Hostel is presently closed for the 2022 season as the site is undergoing an assessment for ground penetration regarding Maatsquii’s former residential school.
Lone Cone Mountain
Lone Cone is the closest and most prominent mountain directly across from Tofino’s waterfront and the only sizeable mountain in the area with a maintained trail. The summit, at 742 meters, offers unparalleled views of Clayoquot Sound from above, making the trek up rewarding and worth the effort.
With a total elevation gain of 730 meters over a distance of 3.3 km, the trail sees hikers from sea-level all the way to the mountain’s summit – an ascent that is steep and gruelling, but with no technically challenging obstacles requiring the use of mountaineering equipment. Expect to be climbing over logs and using your hands as you navigate tough, rooted ground. At a leisurely pace with plenty of breaks for food, water and pictures, the trail should take 3-4 hours ascending and 2-3 hours descending – including an hour at the summit, plan to give yourself 6-8 hours to complete the hike. Appropriate footwear (a durable hiking boot with good ankle support) is strongly recommended, as the trail is rugged and the beginning of the hike is muddy.
The Lone Cone trail is closed for the 2022 Season due to health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic.