Nootka Island Trail

This is a wonderful wilderness trek on remote Nootka Island, the place of first contact between the First Nations and Europeans on the west coast. It features beautiful pocket beaches, stunning west coast sunsets and lots and lots of wildlife. It also has perhaps the best spot on any of our coastal hikes – Calvin Falls, where we like to schedule a rest day so we can enjoy a swim and some relaxation.

The shortest of our three coastal hikes at a mere 35km (22 miles) long the Nootka Trail remains remote and wild. If done in good weather it is a fairly moderate hike (though technical through the forested sections); catch some bad weather though and it’s a whole other story. Even in good weather on some parts of the trail we average about 1km per hour! If you want a true wilderness coastal hike on glorious beaches against the backdrop of verdant temperate rainforest but don’t want to do the kilometres required by the West or North Coast trails then the Nootka Trail may be the one for you.


Please bear in mind that this is a wilderness hike and the itinerary is only a suggestion and not set in stone.

DAY ONE – Pick up at your hotel in Vancouver from where we will take a short drive to Horseshoe Bay to catch the ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Once on the Island we head for Gold River (4 hours) from where our friends at Air Nootka will take us on a magical float plane flight to Louie Lagoon on Nootka Island (30 minutes). The flight wends its way through inlets and over islands and beaches following the entire length of the trail and allows us to see our route before we set foot on it. Make sure you have your camera ready for this exciting part of the journey.

A hike of approximately an hour will bring us to our first campsite at Third Beach. We can set up our tents here and get ready for an evening around the campfire. (Distance 2km, 45 mins-1 hour)

DAY TWO – Today we hike from Third Beach to Calvin Falls a distance of some 11km. We may make camp here for a couple of nights as it is one of the nicest spots on the trail. If the weather is with us you might want to swim above or below the falls. (Distance 11km, 4-5 hours)

DAY THREE – Rest Day

DAY FOUR – Moving on from Calvin Falls we will hike to Beano Creek. Along the way we will spend some time at Bajo Point to see if we can spot sea otters. These marvelous creatures were hunted to extinction during the fur trade period but have been successfully reintroduced and are now growing in numbers. (Distance 12km, 4 hours)

DAY FIVE – This shorter hiking day takes us from Beano Creek to a pocket beach before Maquinna Point. There are quite good rock pools here to explore. There is some rugged hiking on this day and the going can be slow. (Distance 5km, 4 hours)

DAY SIX – Our penultimate day will see us get past Maquinna Point and within sight of the church at Friendly Cove (5km, 4 hours)

DAY SEVEN – Our final day on the island sees us finish the trail to arrive at Yuquot or Friendly Cove. This Mowhachaht First Nations village was the point of first contact between indigenous people of British Columbia and white Europeans. We will visit the historic church and graveyard before returning to Gold River on the passenger and freight vessel the MV Uchuck and then drive back to Vancouver. (3km, 1.45 hours)

What’s included

  • All transport from pick up at your downtown hotel to drop off at the end of your tour including ferry to Vancouver Island and car transport to Gold River.
  • Floatplane flight to Nootka Island
  • 7 nights camping accommodation
  • All camping equipment (tent, sleeping mat, headtorch, eating utensils, etc., even includes sleeping bag if needed)
  • 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 6 dinners – see a sample menu
  • Soft beverages during car journeys
  • All park permits and fees
  • All taxes
  • The services of one of our guides for the duration of your tour
  • Incredible scenery

Duration: 7 days
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Min Group Size: 2
Max Group Size: 8
Trip Cost: Adults $1596 CAD + tax 9 (Child and youth prices upon request)
2015 Dates: May 18, June 20, Sept 19

If these dates do not work for you ask about a private tour.

Please contact us to book your trip.

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