Outdoor Adventure

Hiking Tall Trees in Prince Rupert

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 the Tall Trees Trail in Prince Rupert. Image by Shayd Johnson.

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.

Find more outdoor adventure in Prince Rupert.

Shayd Johnson

Julia Crawford

Julia is a freelance writer and editor based in Gibsons, BC. Originally from Prince Rupert, she now lives on the (occasionally sunny) Sunshine Coast. When not working, you can find her seeking out the best tacos, basketball culture, and stories wherever her travels take her.

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