How to get there?? The turn off to Snag Lake, Clayquot Witness North Trail Head are situated about 50km West of Port Alberni , on the right hand side of (Tofino/ Ucluelet) Highway 4#. After that it is about a 7 km drive up the right side of the Kennedy river on a gravel road. You then turn left and cross over the Kennedy river, you're able to drive a further 2km or so before coming to a wash out which happened back in about 1995. From here it's a 20 min walk to the trail head where you can stop at the hut and check out the good topo map to find out more about the route. To get to the lake is not an easy task, unless you don't mind a good little bush wack. Beware, there are alot of very loose and unstable boulders, so be extra cautious.
Late one   Saturday night I was thinking to myself, where should I go for a hike the next day. My decision ended up being the Clayquot Witness Trail. The trailhead was only an hours drive from my house, also I had never been up there before and was curious to see the trail that had been built a few years back by a group of volunteers trying to save the Clayqout Valley. At first there had been a lot of effort that went into building the trail that spanned for over 25kms, construction of kms & kms of cedar boardwalk had been built to protect the tree roots and virgin surroundings. The trail starts close to Snag Lake  [#]   that is located up the Kennedy river approximately 10 kms northwest of highway 4 that goes to Tofino. Snag Lake also has an interesting story to tell about itself. The lake was formed back in the early sixties by a large landslide  [#]   crashing down from a rock face situated on the north side. This brought down house sized boulders  [#]   filling the valley floor  [#]   from one side to the other, which in turn formed a dam plugging the river, creating what is now known as Snag Lake. This is also how Snag Lake got its name, because of the  [#]   dead trees sticking out of the water. It looks just like it would if you were down in the Mississippi on the BYO somewhere fishing for bass. At the trailhead you will see a little wooden shelter  [#]   that someone built while they were working on the main trail. Inside, it has a   [#]   good topo map for all to look at. It gives you a good idea about the trail ahead and also how much time to give yourself to travel from one campsite to another.
The start of the trail  [#]   is a short walk through the logging slash to the top of a rock bluff where you get your first good look at Snag Lake and the damage the rock slide had caused to the valley floor. From here  [#]   to the first campsite that is called the trail builders campsite, you will be walking on the cedar boardwalk, that's if you can stay on it  [#]   without falling and killing yourself. The trail is in bad need of repair. All of the cedar boardwalks have started to rot and fall apart. If you decide to travel on the lower part of the trail I would recommend bringing your hob nail boots (cork boots). The cedar boardwalk is very slippery  [#]   and there is no room to the side in most spots. After the first campsite the boardwalk starts to dwindle to muddy spots only, thank goodness. There is a nice spot halfway down Snag Lake  [#]   where you are able to take some nice pictures of the lake or just take a break. The trail at km 3 starts to head inland  [#]   from the lake, soon you will come across the next campsite which is called Midi campsite. Here you can stop for a drink of water from the creek that runs out of the first Solstice Lake. You now start heading uphill towards the lakes. The grade isn't too bad, just a steady plod uphill for 1.5 km. At the top you will start to get some nice views of the Kennedy headwaters and a beautiful limestone face that looks like it has some good cave potential. I'll have to go check it out some day, though it looks like it will be a good bush bash to get to. Soon after seeing the cliff you come up to the North end of Lower Solstice Lake. The trail takes you left and around the lake to another campsite  [#]   at the other end. This is km 5 and a good place to stop for lunch. After a short walk up to Upper Solstice Lake  [#]   you reach the high point of the Witness trail. It's all down hill from here on in until you start to leave the Clayquot Valley towards the end of the trail. From this point the trail heads downhill at a gradual pace through nice stands of virgin timber with the odd big cedar tree here and there. At 7.5 km into the hike you come up to the Murrelet campsite which is just a short distance from the Murrelet Lakes. The first of the Murrelet Lakes you'll have to walk down the gravel washout to be able to get close and get a good view,  [#]   this is due to the trail staying about 50 meters inland from the lake and the bush being is too thick to see it. The second lake you can see it from the trail, but its shores are bushy with few open spots. I did find a nice spot  [#]   at the south end of the lake which had a large log to perch myself on so I could take in the beautiful views. To ensure I have plenty of light, I always give myself a turn around time. Unfortunately I have come to that time.Cheers: Quagger