Wreck Beach, Vancouver’s infamous clothing optional beach is a summer hotspot, but have you considered a winter walk along this iconic stretch of sand? Situated in Pacific Spirit Regional Park below the cliffs of the UBC Endowment Lands, Wreck Beach features 7.8 km of magnificence! Winter is one of my favourite times to explore this natural treasure. The naked sunbathers, musicians, artists, drummers, fast food vendors and crowds are on their winter hiatus leaving ample opportunity to explore and discover this stunning stretch of shoreline.
There are numerous access points to Wreck Beach, each with its own unique feel created by the season, tides, driftwood and man-made structures. One of my favourite additions is the bright red ladder strategically placed to assist wayward travellers over fallen trees. Maybe this is Vancouver’s version of the Parks Canada Red Chairs Experience Program ? Trail 6 to the main sandy beach is certainly the most popular path to the beach. Personally, I prefer to avoid both the crowds and stairs at Trail 6 and often choose to begin my day at Acadia Beach. Should you decide on this route be sure to check your tide tables! The rocky shoreline from Acadia Beach to the main beach area is best explored at low tide. Along the forest edge small waterfalls, creeks, and lush foliage will delight and leave you wanting more.
As you approach Wreck Beach Trail 3 you will be transported back in time with your first glimpse of the World War 2 Instrument Towers. Now covered in graffiti, these relics of yesteryear serve as a reminder of days gone by. Instead of holding guns, these towers housed Coast Artillery Search Lights designed to illuminate night targets for the guns positioned in the upper Battery Observation Post. Recent history also survives on the towers, notably a relic from the Eric Hamber High School graduating class of 1976. A clash of cultures, so to speak.
Don’t be surprised by cold weather nudists. The sheltered area near the bottom of the now closed Trail 5 is a winter favourite for those brave enough to shed their parkas year round. Rounding the headland, you can continue to the main beach section known as Trail 6. During the summer months, the infamous Wreck Beach Community Spirit and party atmosphere will be waiting for you here. Winter is definitely calmer, but no matter what season you visit, naturalists and nudists alike will agree that the beach combing and scenic views from Wreck Beach are second to none. One tip – stay for the sunset, you will be will rewarded!