Prince Rupert’s Tall Trees Trail is a quintessential west coast hike. This popular out-and-back
trail winds through lush, coastal rainforest before giving way to spectacular ocean vistas.
Tall Trees Trail rewards hikers with stunning views of Prince Rupert’s waterways, lush
rainforest, and unique coastal vegetation.
While moderately challenging — the hike itself is roughly eight kilometres with 450 metres
of elevation gain — the payoff is big. On a clear day, you can see across Prince Rupert’s
harbour to Metlakatla and beyond. In the distance, rugged peaks rise from the ocean’s
edge. If you’re lucky, you might just spot bald eagles or whales — just make sure to bring a
set of binoculars with you.
Here’s what you need to know before hiking Tall Trees Trail.
Hiking Tall Trees Trail
Distance: 7.7 kilometres
Elevation 450 metres
Located a 15-minute drive out of town along Highway 16, it’s possible to conquer Tall Trees in
a little over three hours and be back in time for happy hour at Wheelhouse Brewing. Recent
upgrades to the trail have made it an accessible and popular hike for both locals and
visitors, though the trail is by no means crowded.
From the trailhead, the first few kilometres of the hike winds through dense coastal
rainforest. The path itself is wide and relatively flat with a gentle incline. Meandering creeks,
lush ferns, mossy banks, and the eponymous tall trees form a quintessential coastal
rainforest backdrop. It’s possible to pause a few kilometres in and make the return hike back
for a rewarding yet short hike.
Continuing on, the trail starts to climb steadily up the side of Mount Oldfield. The incline
increases as you gain elevation over a series of switchbacks through the forest. There are a
few sections that cross narrow creeks and some treefall, though the hike itself is relatively
well-maintained and -used. Near the top, the incline mellows and the hike follows a
relatively flat ridgetop before cresting to a meadow. The meadow itself is not sub-alpine,
but rather something uniquely coastal: dense low-lying bushes are bordered by gnarled,
weathered trees with lichen-draped branches.
At the top, hikers can look northeast to Butze and Galloway rapids, or southwest over Prince
Rupert’s harbour, dotted with ships and small islands and its surrounding peaks. Hikers will
also find remnants of the original Mount Oldfield trail here. There is an existing section linked by boardwalks that continues for another three-and-a-half kilometres through dense
bush, but it’s not maintained or recommended for hiking.
When to Hike Tall Trees Trail
Tall Trees is best tackled from May to early October. Heavy rainfall can impact trail
conditions, so make sure to check the forecast ahead of time and be prepared with proper
outdoor gear. We recommend waterproof shoes even in drier months. On weekends, you’re
likely to share the trail with a few other hikers, but if you’re looking for solitude, we
recommend starting earlier in the day. Planning to time your hike for sunset? Just make sure
there’s enough daylight left to comfortably make the trek back down.
How to Get to Tall Trees Trail
Head east on Highway 16, a few hundred metres past the welcome sign to town, and look
for a small parking lot on your right. Parking is free.
Leave No Trace
When hiking trails in Prince Rupert, always leave them in a better state than when you
arrived. Pack out what you pack in and dispose of waste properly. Respect local wildlife.
Leave No Trace principles offer guidelines for how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly while
also minimizing your impact on the landscape.