How to See the Best of the Sunshine Coast Trail (2, 3, 4, and 5 Day Itineraries)

four options to section hike the 180 km hut-to-hut trail on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

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A 180 kilometre trail may not be on everyone’s to-do list, but a section hike of the Sunshine Coast Trail should; just completing 75 kms made it one of my favorite trails in British Columbia!

I previously thought spending anything less than five days on the trail wouldn’t be worth the effort of getting there (it requires two ferry crossings and plenty of driving). However, after experiencing the Sunshine Coast off the trail (amazing resorts, small town ‘island’ vibes, world renowned kayaking, and superb Provincial parks), I realize that a shorter section hike of the SCT can complement many travel plans!

See how to complete the best parts of the Sunshine Coast Trail with 2 to 5 days.

 

2 Days

Without completing a lot of mileage, a short out-and-back hike from the logging road access point to Tin Hat Hut (and slightly further to the summit) provides 360 degree views and an incredible spot to catch the sunset. Also, as long as there is not a Provincial or regional fire ban in effect, there are fire pits to use to add to the experience.

Note! There aren’t any reliable water sources at Tin Hat Hut so it is recommended to fill up at kilometre 86.7. You can also expect cell reception from this hut.

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Day 1 LOGGING ROAD ACCESS TO TIN HAT HUT (LOCATION ON THE SCT IS KM 90)

2.5 kilometres (hiking along the logging road meets the SCT at kilometre 88), 1-2 hours

Day 2 TIN HAT HUT TO EXIT AT LOGGING ROAD ACCESS POINT

2.5 kilometers, 1 hour

 

3 Days

With an additional day, you can complete 46 kms of the SCT and stay at Tin Hat Hut on the first night and Elk Lake Hut on the second night. Elk Lake Hut is more rustic—only partially enclosed—with floor to ceiling windows above a lake that has a swimming dock and a a canoe. The final day is long due to passing a hut in order to exit on the third day.

Note! It now becomes a point-to-point hike where you need to decide on transportation back to your car. Hitchhiking on the Sunshine Coast is common, but getting a ride to a logging road could be an added challenge (especially if you were planning to catch the ferry that day). Sunshine Coast Shuttle is a convenient option that takes you from your end point (where you leave the car) to your starting point and is priced based on distance.

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Day 1 TRAILHEAD TO TIN HAT HUT (KM 90)

2.5 kilometers, 1-2 hours

Day 2 TIN HAT HUT TO ELK LAKE HUT (KM 110)

20 kilometers, 6 hours

Day 3 ELK LAKE HUT TO EXIT ON DIXON ROAD (KM 134.7)

24.7 kilometers, 7.5 hours

 

4 Days

The distance covered on the four-day option is the same as the three-day option, but the long last day is split into two days by staying at another great spot: Walt Hill Hut. Note that you will need to arrange transportation back to your car as stated in the previous itinerary in order to complete the point-to-point hike.

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Day 1 TRAILHEAD TO TIN HAT HUT (KM 90)

2.5 kilometers, 1-2 hours

Day 2 TIN HAT HUT TO ELK LAKE HUT (KM 110)

20 kilometers, 6 hours

Day 3 ELK LAKE HUT TO WALT HILL HUT (KM 122)

12 kilometers, 4 hours

Day 4 WALT HILL HUT TO EXIT ON DIXON ROAD (KM 134.7)

12.7 kilometers, 2.5 hours

 

5 Days

With five days, you start from Inland Lake, a local spot to camp and bike, and make your way to Confederation Lake Hut. You experience 75 kms of the SCT, including everything from the above itineraries. Note that you will need to arrange transportation back to your car as stated in the Day 3 itinerary in order to complete the point-to-point hike.

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Day 1 INLAND LAKE TO CONFEDERATION LAKE HUT (KM 74)

10 kilometers, 3.5-4 hours

Day 2 CONFEDERATION LAKE HUT TO TIN HAT HUT (KM 90)

16 kilometers, 7 hours

Day 3 TIN HAT HUT TO ELK LAKE HUT (KM 110)

20 kilometers, 6 hours

Day 4 ELK LAKE HUT TO WALT HILL HUT (KM 122)

12 kilometers, 4 hours

Day 5 WALT HILL HUT TO EXIT ON DIXON ROAD (KM 134.7)

12.7 kilometers, 2.5 hours


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