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Tex Lyon Trail - Get Ready for the North Coast Trail

Updated on September 9, 2017
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Live the Adventure

That's the theme that greets travelers to Port Hardy, the northern most town on Vancouver Island. There's lots to do on the north end of the island and if you like your hikes a little rugged with lots of up and down and scrambling around, the Tex Lyon trail is for you.

The picture at the right is the notes that I took on my mobile phone when my husband and I -- accompanied by our two Manchester Terriers, Packet & Jericho -- did this hike in mid-April of 2012. We had started this hike before and tried to keep track of our progress by memory the previous fall, but when there began to be some minor disagreement over whether or not we had done 5 rope assists or 6 before we got to the 1 K mark, it was decided that someone would have to take notes as we went along this time.

Tex Lyon Trail

(description taken from the Vancouver Island edition of the Backroad Mapbook Road & Recreational Atlas)

This is a difficult, challenging costal trail that hugs the coast of Beaver Harbour, east of Port Hardy. From the trailhead in Beaver Harbour Park, the trail cuts 7 km (4.2 miles) through the forest and along the rocky shorelilne to Dillion Point

We couldn't agree more!

The above description of the Tex Lyon trail has been updated since the first edition of the Backroad Mapbook that we purchased when we arrived on Vancouver Island. The first time we tried the hike there was loud mutters that verged on becoming outright complaints about what one person describes as moderate, when our knees and legs were seizing up on us.

For our most recent hike we were better prepared mentally - although we had not seen the revised description and we set aside an entire day for the hike. Tides play a big role in the difficulty of this hike. Walking along the beach can cut out quite a few of the up and down sections found early on in the hike as well as cutting off a goodly stretch of forest walking near the end. Be aware that during high tides in the winter you could be stuck on the wrong side of the log bridge for quite a little while, especially during a storm.

Tex Lyon trailhead.  A beautiful sunny day at about half tide.
Tex Lyon trailhead. A beautiful sunny day at about half tide. | Source

Consider Weather AND Waves When Hiking

As you can see, weather and tide can play a big role in deciding when you want to attempt the Tex Lyon trail. The picture of the trailhead bridge above, shows the after effects of the storm surge that I recorded standing in almost the same spot a few months earlier.

First Obstacle

Having successfully navigated the log bridge at the trail head, this narrow gorge appears around the next bend.
Having successfully navigated the log bridge at the trail head, this narrow gorge appears around the next bend. | Source
This teaser view happens early in the hike.  The views as well as the trail's difficulty both increase as you go.
This teaser view happens early in the hike. The views as well as the trail's difficulty both increase as you go. | Source

Frequent Stops to Rest are Important.

Hand created rest stops are appreciated by arthritic knees and legs.
Hand created rest stops are appreciated by arthritic knees and legs. | Source
Thought provoking sign could probably be better positioned on the trail - but at least it gives fair warning in enough languages!
Thought provoking sign could probably be better positioned on the trail - but at least it gives fair warning in enough languages! | Source

How's that again???

Believe it or not, this warning sign is posted at the 2 1/2 kilometer mark of the hike. We've spend more than a few minutes pondering how on earth you would get a young child or an infirm person to this point in order to monitor them closely!

It is good to see that the WARNING part of the sign is posted in a large range of languages though. BC Ferries delivers loads of European tourists to Port Hardy daily during the summer and we wouldn't want to lose any of them before they return home.

No rope assists any more!

My husband is removing a branch from the slope before Packet and I attempt it. Since I had a Manchester Terrier attached to the belly strap of my pack, going down this hill would have been easier with a rope to hang on to.
My husband is removing a branch from the slope before Packet and I attempt it. Since I had a Manchester Terrier attached to the belly strap of my pack, going down this hill would have been easier with a rope to hang on to. | Source

Plan your steps carefully.

Packet was detached from my pack and chose an alternate route across the creek  that took him three touch and launch maneuvers.  From my vantage point it looked like only one of those touches actually used the bridge.  Not for me!
Packet was detached from my pack and chose an alternate route across the creek that took him three touch and launch maneuvers. From my vantage point it looked like only one of those touches actually used the bridge. Not for me! | Source

Nearly there.

A beautiful old camping spot close to the end of the trail, surrounded by towering trees.
A beautiful old camping spot close to the end of the trail, surrounded by towering trees. | Source
End of the trail. Well worth the hike, especially on a beautiful day like we did it on.
End of the trail. Well worth the hike, especially on a beautiful day like we did it on. | Source

Don't forget your matches!

We finally made it to the end of the trail. There was some discussion about whether we had actually walked 7 km and my hubby thought we could probably have continued along the beach a bit further but all the legs involved (including the canine ones) said maybe another day, we still have to get back out after all!

So a fire was built and we relaxed for a bit, only to discover that we had some of the strongest cell reception we've ever enjoyed since coming to the north Island -- some one called and wanted to check in at the campground we manage!

We encouraged them to find a site and check themselves in, we would be back in an hour or so. A couple of phone calls later, we turned the cell phones OFF and just enjoyed the day before turning around and doing it all over again. We got back to the campground at 6:45 pm, just 15 minutes off our anticipated return time.

How stiff were we in the days following the hike? That's for another hub.

Please Mom???

Packet  found a new toy and was determined to bring it home with him.  He actually dragged this halfway down the beach back towards the trail but gave up when Jericho wouldn't help him.
Packet found a new toy and was determined to bring it home with him. He actually dragged this halfway down the beach back towards the trail but gave up when Jericho wouldn't help him. | Source

Vancouver Island Adventures

Explore Vancouver Island North

North Coast Trail - Four or five days of the Tex Lyon - well, maybe not quite so challenging but you have to consider the 50 pound-ish pack you'll be carrying as well.

Whale Watching From Vancouver Island


© 2012 Debra Hine

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