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Paddle the Nuchatlitz Islands

Tahsis, British Columbia


Route Type



Added by Christina Clarke

Rugged and remote islands, sandy beaches, windswept trees, towering rock formations, turquoise waters, hidden sea caves, and an abundance of wildlife. All this, and you can jam a veritable cornucopia of delicious food and drink into your kayak. What more do you need?!

Give yourself at least 5 days to explore this incredible marine park as the options for exploring, sightseeing, and camping are as numerous as they are incredible. For the inexperienced, a guide would be recommended. For those with knowledge of marine navigation, weather, and paddling, pick up a chart and plan your trip! Check local government websites for fire restrictions, weather, and tides.

Your trip begins with a water taxi from Tahsis, BC, to Rosa Island (you can also access from Zeballos, BC). Rosa is an incredibly beautiful small island with two beaches and camp spots under the canopy of trees. Set up camp and secure your food (hanging food is a must as bears are plentiful, or in the case of Rosa, there are some very active and slippery mink).

You can spend the afternoon exploring the tiny collection of islands and shallows to the South of Rosa. We spotted loads of eagles and large rafts of otters. Take in the turquoise and emerald green waters, long pebbled and sandy beaches, and beautiful wind battered trees. Back at camp, we went to retrieve some cold beers tied in a mesh bag under water and realized we had lost a few from the rocks and barnacles. Let this be a lesson to all of us. Let us never repeat this.

The next day set out North West across the Gillam Channel for a day trip to Catala Island where you can spend the day exploring sea caves, beaches, wildlife, and island trails. Back to Rosa for the night, take off early the next morning (to catch some shortcuts granted by the high tide and to give you enough time) to reach Benson Point on Nootka Island. You should arrive to a neat little shack with a tarp to give you some much needed relief from the sun and a good cooking spot.

The next morning, set out across the Nuchatlitz Inlet and paddle along the rocky shore line. You can time the tides to ride a fun tidal current into an unnamed lake in Louie Bay - we paddled the length of the lake to its end where the Nootka Trail begins, though we stayed safely in our kayaks as the trail had been recently shut due to a cougar attack. Leaving the lake was a bit more of a challenge. A few with some white water experience managed to overcome the opposing current as the lake continued to fill with the rising tide. Another pair of us got out of our boats and walked them to the sandy mouth of the lake. At the deepest point, we were at our waists and clumsily (while laughing) walked over the rocks on the shore line to avoid the current. The next target was to enter the tidal flats to the west near tongue point and we discovered a neat little shack and an old twisted metal shipwrecked on the beach. We slowly meandered back to our Benson Point campsite for an evening by campfire under a full moon.

The next morning slowly meander along the shore line, stopping at interesting islands along the way, before spending your last night on Rosa. Back to Tahsis by water taxi the next morning. By noon, you can enjoy one of the finest veggie burgers I've ever come across from the Tahsis Supermarket/Ocean View Restaurant.

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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