Hike to the Canso Bomber Plane Wreck

Details

Distance

1.9 miles

Route Type

Point-to-Point

Added by Steve Robert

This hike provides an opportunity to visit the site of a Royal Canadian Air Force Canso 11007 that crashed shortly after takeoff on February 12, 1945. The plane still remains on the side of a hill and is surprisingly fairly intact despite the damage sustained from the crash. It had a crew of 12 on board, as well as 3,400 litres of fuel and four 100-kilogram depth charges intended for enemy submarines. All on board survived the crash. It's been in the bush for almost 69 years since.

The trail to the Canso Plane Crash Site is located exactly 15 telephone poles south of the turnoff to Radar Hill. There is no parking allowed along the highway, so the closest parking is at the Radar Hill turnoff a few hundred meters from the highway.

Since you are parking in Pacific Rim National Park, you will be required to purchase day passes for the number of users in your vehicle. These can be purchased from a machine at the lower Radar Hill parking lot or at the Visitor Centre at the Highway #4 junction to Ucluelet.

Once you have parked in the lower Radar Hill parking lot, walk back towards the highway and walk south, counting the number of telephone poles until #15. Be very careful walking alongside the Highway as there is very little space between the road's shoulder and the speed cars in some sections. You will find the start of the trail on your right in the woods. Be careful as there is one other trailheads that does not lead to the plane and people got lost there before. When you are close, there is a very small drawing of a plane on the telephone pole.

The first section of the trail is very easy as the wide trail heads into the forest. Within minutes, the trail begins to climb gradually but is still not that difficult. Within 1km, you reach an old, abandoned building. Walk up the stairs and inside the building as the graffiti, ripped walls, and dangling wires come across as very creepy. Go left inside the building, past the spray painted words saying the "Trail is this way", and exit out of the back of the building.

Follow the trail away from the building as it begins to descend quickly from the building through a much narrower section. Near the bottom, you enter the bog and this section is extremely muddy. During the drier summer months, there are still sections of mud that cover your shoes. During the earlier spring, you can expect the mud to be knee high in sections.

Continue following the markers through the muddy bog. There are several different coloured markers and the string on the trees marks the boundaries of the trail area, all lead in the same general direction. Eventually, you pass a small pond that is almost perfectly circular. This pond is actually a crater that was created when the rescuers removed the bombs from the plane and, instead of trying to move them out through the difficult terrain, decided to detonate them near the wreckage. Just beyond the pond, the tail end of the plane begins to come into view between the trees as it lays on the side of the mountain.

Let someone know where you go - people got lost here before and everything in the bog area looks the same. I never get lost but that day, 20 minutes after I left the plane, I came back... to the plane. If that happens, don't panic, just start the trail one more time and pay attention. Try to remember where you come from and you will find the exit.

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Survival
Photography
Hiking
Forest
Scenic

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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