There is an abundance of natural life that you will experience as you hike the Sunshine Coast Trail. If you are lucky you may even spot some animals! Please remember at all times that you are travelling through these animals’ homes, and act respectfully.

Some of the interesting flowers and plants you may encounter along the trail:

BlackberriesWild OrchidsSalmonberry

The non-green plants like Orchids (small), Coral roots, Indian Pipes (5 -25 cm) and other relatives pop up fast from the shaded humus of mature forests. They get nutrients via fungi from the roots of nearby conifers.

Manzanita (little apple — Spanish) bushes are found on sunny bluffs near the ocean. These dense chaparral shrubs (1-2 M) are related to the Arbutus trees and have similar pealing red bark, jugged shaped flower in clusters and woody berries. The greyish-green leaves are 2-5 cm long.

Tiger Lilies, Death Camus, Chocolate Lily, Nodding Onions and many other lilies grow along the SCT.

There are several kinds of purple and pink Penstemons with snap dragon shaped flowers. They are most common on exposed rocky areas. Those on Tin Hat Mountain are shrubby and grown in dense mats.

Berries: Salmonberries and Blackberries are common in this area, and you will find them aplenty during the summer months, especially in areas that are lower altitude and exposed to the sun. Be bear aware in these areas, as they are favourite hangouts for our furry friends! Blueberries and Juniper Berries are common in the higher climbs; know what you are looking for, and any of these can provide a tasty snack!

Some of the wildlife you may encounter:

deer on the Sunshine Coast TrailEagleHarbour SealOrca

Black bears: Black bears are common around the upper Sunshine Coast, and it is not uncommon to see them along the Sunshine Coast Trail. However, they don’t want to encounter you at a close range any more than you want to encounter them, so if you make noise as you hike, you are unlikely to see them. Please be sure to secure your food properly at night when camping to avoid encouraging unwanted visitors.

Sea mammals: Sea lions and seals are commonly spotted from the Lands End and Fairview Bay trail sections, which run close to the water in parts. Keep your eyes peeled for bobbing black heads, and curious sets of eyes. From time to time hikers spot Pacific White-Sided Dolphins slicing through the waters.

Birds: expect the forest to be quiet in midday.

Marbled Murrelets: The old growth forest on Mount Troubridge is a nesting area for the marbled murrelets. These plump, stubby-winged sea birds nest in the thick moss of major branches of these great trees. You might see them swimming and diving, or flying from their nests to their feeding areas.

Great Blue Herons: These large wading birds build huge twiggy nests in alder groves near their feeding tide pools. You may see them flying, with crooked necks from the nests to the pools. Please be quiet around their nests.

Bald Eagles: We are fortunate in this area to have many resident eagles. These majestic birds are commonly seen from viewpoints, especially in the coastal areas.

Timber Wolves: Wolves are now more common in the area, travelling long distances along new logging roads. You’re not likely to see them, but you will see their scat with evidence of their last meal and footprints. The smaller rear paw prints are superimposed on the front print.

Cougars: Cougars do live in this area, but it is highly unlikely that you will actually see one of these stealthy creatures.