Strolling the Shorepine Bog Trail

Shorepine Bog Trees
The shorepines in the bog look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

It’s a short 800 meter boardwalk through some of the most surreal “Dr. Seuss-like” landscape. Stunted pines that are twisted into bizarre shapes, small carnivorous plants that survive in this acidic and nutrient poor habitat by consuming insects, and water-logged sphagnum moss are all part of the scenery along the Shorepine Bog Trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Western Bog-laurel (Kalmia microphylla ssp. occidentalis)
Western Bog-laurel (Kalmia microphylla ssp. occidentalis) has beautiful pink flowers.

I love revisiting this short trail over the course of the summer for a number of reasons. On each visit I often notice something in bloom that I missed on a previous walk. Many of the plants produce small flowers that can be difficult to see and you really need to lie down on your belly to get the perspective needed to appreciate them. From a standing position they are not as obvious.

Northern Starflower (Trientalis arctica)
Northern Starflower (Trientalis arctica) has a single star-like white flower.

I also like walking the loop because it takes a little effort and time to truly get a feel for the place. If you’ve completed the loop in 20 minutes you’ve done it too fast (unless the black flies are biting!). Sitting on one of the many benches and admiring the bonsai shorepines and then getting into a meditative state examining the intricate details of sphagnum moss or a delicate bog flower is time well spent.

Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum)
The leathery rolled inward leaves and white cluster of flowers of Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum) are distinctive.

At this time of year there are many flowers already in bloom. During my recent walk I found Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum), Northern Starflower (Trientalis arctica) and Western Bog-laurel (Kalmia microphylla ssp. occidentalis) flowering. I’m definitely going to take another stroll around the Shorepine Bog Trail in the coming weeks to become reacquainted with some of the beautiful plants that call it home.

Shorepine Bog Boardwalk
The Shorepine Bog trail winds its way through stunted "bonsai-like" pine trees.


  1. It took me over two hours last time I was there – I was looking for the pitcher plants. I did eventually find one.

  2. When did you see them? I remember photographing the pitcher plants back in 2006 – there was a small group of “introduced” Cobra Lilies (Darlingtonia californica) from Oregon. Here’s my picture of them:

    Cobra Lilies (Darlingtonia californica)

    Cobra Lilies (Darlingtonia californica)

  3. I saw them in the summer of 2008 – I had to look really carefully to find one and the one that I did find was not as big as yours.

  4. Are the bog-laurel flowers at flat as they appear in your picture? They look about as 3-dimensional as a dinner plate.

  5. I would describe the flowers as being like shallow saucers – if you look at the profile of the flower to the far right of the image you can see the more typical shape. The ones in the center do look pretty flat but I think that that’s partly due to perspective/camera angle.

    Thanks for the comment!

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