Combers Beach & Spruce Fringe Trail
Combers Beach Trail leads through Sitka Spruce forest to sandy Combers Beach. Spruce Fringe Trial is an offshoot path that walks further through the forest. The trees may not be as lush as on other Pacific Rim National Park trails but how often do you get to walk through a Krummholz Tunnel?
Sandy Beach Dog-friendly Pay Parking !! Watch for winter tide surges
Combers Beach. Combers Beach Trail is a short trail that goes directly to the beach.
Or you may take a longer route along the Spruce Fringe Trail and walk through a Krummholz Tunnel. Both trails offer a boardwalk through a Pacific Rim Naitonal Park forest for solid footing.
Combers Beach is a favourite of many. Picnics, weddings and get togethers are all part of the scene.
Walk along the Combers Beach Trail boardwalk through Sitka Spruce Forest to get to the beach.
Remember to look up along your walk. That’s a favourite thing of ours to do. Enjoy the treetops against a blue sunny sky.
And now a message from the Pacific Rim National Park Sitka Spruce:
Sitka’s Last Stand
“In 1918 Sitka Spruce made up 7% of all BC coastal timber over 250 years old. Today it accounts for just 2% of this forest base. Old-growth forests are more than just old trees, they are intricate, self-renewing ecosystems. As natural forests of old trees are replaced by plantations of young trees the face of the landscape is changing. Here the only human change is the boardwalk path.” [From the Pacific Rim National Forest Interpretive Plaque.]
Closer to the sea, the trees contort and huddle together against the weather. The ocean’s influence has created the spruce fringe but also limits plant growth and form. Strong winds, laden with salt spray and abrasive sand have shorn off the seaward tips of the trees, pruning them into a tight wedge. Behind this living windbreak, other spruce are able to grow tall and straight.
Inside the Krummholz Tunnel, the dense tree canopy block the light so few plants can grow on the forest floor. Instead some shrubs have grown as tll as the trees!
As you enter the Krummholz Tunnel check out the cool life forms:
1. Salal growing tall and thin to reach the sun
2. Cedar tree branches that have grown into solid trunks.
3. Hemlock tree branches that weave into the forest canopy.
4. Sitka Spruce with it’s cool bark and looking most like a usual tree.
What does Krummholz Mean?
Krummholz is German for “crooked wood”. It describes a tree that has been altered by wind borne salt, sand or snow into a shape unusual for it’s normal growth. May of these trees may look small but be very old. So show a little respect for these hard working trees! You may find Krummholz style trees in windy ocean areas and subalpine environments.
Directions & Parking
Directions from Tofino Village. Drive south along Pacific Rim Highway and turn right at the sign for Combers Beach and Spruce Fringe Trail. Turning off the highway you will drive directly into a parking lot and the beginning of the Combers Beach Trail. Spruce Fringe Trail is an offshoot of the Combers Beach Trail and takes you through a Krummholz Tunnel. There will be a kiosk to pay for parking if you don’t already have a park pass.
Combers Beach, Pacific Rim National Park, BC, Canada
Combers Beach Trail and Spruce Fringe Trail lead through Sitka Spruce forest to sandy Combers Beach. The trees may not be as lush as on other Pacific Rim National Park trails but how often do you get to walk through a Krummholz Tunnel?
Sandy Beach Dog-friendly Pay Parking !! Watch for tide surges