Official status to the route along the wildest coast of Vancouver Island will ensure passage through some of the world’s most spectacular scenery and the best kayaking imaginable. It is a route truly made for adventure. Wavelength Magazine presents an exclusive first look at the first of two trail portions to be announced: The West Coast Vancouver Island North section.
Choose a year to explore, or an issue from the sub-menu (2009 and 2010 only):
The West Coast Vancouver Island North section:
Welcome to the end of the world. Officially it’s only the northern end of Vancouver Island, but when you paddle west past Cape Sutil, the northernmost point on Vancouver Island, you pass a magical point where civilization has tried to encroach, but nature continually reclaims. Many ruins are testimony to nature’s dominance here, which you can feel like the morning mist.
A new rival for any hiker’s “must-do” list is the North Coast Trail, which opened in 2008. It adds 35 kilometers to the Cape Scott Trail for a total hike of 48 kilometers – less than the West Coat Trail’s 78 km, but no less imposing for all the challenges hikers will endure.
Brooks Peninsula may seem a distant and imposing stretch of land, and indeed it does have a well-earned reputation as a stormy and dangerous location. But access to both the north and south sides of the peninsula mean the best features can be enjoyed without the danger of a full-fledged crossing. Popular kayaking destinations are the Mission Group Islands near the entrance to Kyuquot Sound to the south, or the Bunsby Islands which lie closer to Brooks Peninsula.
Similar to most other regions, Nootka Sound offers numerous access points to a diverse range of attractions, which vary from the storm-thrashed reefs of Nuchatlitz Provincial Park to the more protected waters of the Spanish Pilot Group.
The Nootka Trail is a world-class wilderness experience by any standard. It meanders the outer shore southward from Louie Bay then east to cover the two most spectacular sides of Vancouver Island’s largest offshore island.
Clayoquot Sound is the most accessible of the regions of the West Coast Vancouver Island North marine trail, but don’t hold that against it.
It was, in a word, a slog. I can find no better way to describe the run friend Carey Lockwood and I took down the yet-to-exist WCVIN in late August 2009. We battled our way down to Tofino against strong southerlies for most of the 15 days.
The Gulf Islands Marine Trails Network:
Coast&Kayak Magazine presents a world-exclusive preview of the new Gulf Islands Marine Trail, a new leg of the BC Marine Trail, to be officially opened Saturday, May 14 at Transfer Beach in Ladysmith.
A look at the features, launches, campsites and points of interest of the southernmost portion of the new Gulf Islands Marine Trail, part of the new BC Marine Trail. This area includes Sidney, Saanich and the surrounding waters including Saanich Inlet.
There is no doubt the Gulf Islands straddle two worlds. The rugged wilderness and unspoiled vistas that define the islands are definitely at odds with those places tamed for residential use. The outer islands share the best and worst of both. If you are looking for untrammeled shoreline and mountainous scenery, Saturna Island is the beacon, made brighter with the inclusion of much of the island into the Gulf Islands National Park reserve.
To call Saltspring Island the heart of the Gulf Islands is to acknowledge not only its domineering physical presence (capped by the highest peaks in the region), but also the cultural spirit reflected in a bustling community of arts, boutiques and bed&breakfasts.
The sandstone formations in these islands are remarkable, not just in appearance but also in history. Back in 1792 some sketches were made of one particular overhanging sandstone gallery by an artist on an expedition commanded by the Spanish explorer Galiano. The namesake Galiano Gallery on Gabriola Island, an overhanging sandstone shelf extending 90 meters / 300 feet, became famous as a result. It’s a local park today, but while the most famous it’s not alone for the dramatic sandstone rocks. Galleries, ledges and fretted “brain rock” sandstone abound throughout these islands.