Located on the remote and robust west coast, which is adjacent to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, is Nootka Island. The 510-square-kilometre island was named after a Nuu-chah-nulth language word that means “go around, go around, or all along the mountains” by Europeans.
The island of Nootka is steeped in history and contains many adventures in its pockets. So let’s see what things you can do on this pretty island. Follow this travel guide for a fun and exciting experience on this island and have a gala time.
Facts about Nootka Island
Following are some facts about this amazing island:
- Nootka Island is commonly referred to as the “Birthplace” of British Columbia, one of Canada’s provinces.
- This island is part of British Columbia, one of Canada’s provinces.
- The name of this island was derived from a Nuu-chah-nulth language phrase that means “go around, go around, or all along the mountains,” which refers to Vancouver Island’s mountains.
- The traditional food for people living on this island is from the sea.
- When European traders and explorers visited the island of Nootka, they welcomed the guests and traded goods such as metal pots and tools for the Europeans’ furs.
Why Visit Island of Nootka
Nootka Island is steeped in history and pristine nature. For outdoor adventurers and explorers, Nootka island is a paradise filled with exciting activities. Activities include sailing along with stunning coastlines and bays, and opportunities to see killer whales, Pacific white dolphins, dall’s porpoises, seals and even bald eagles.
If you are planning a vacation to Nootka Island, do check out one of the finest hotels Nootka Island Lodge for your stay. I guarantee you will not be disappointed at their services, offering their customers with the much needed comfort, hospitality, and ambiance.
Thrilling Things to do in Island of Nootka
Nootka Island is a package of adventure and outdoor activities. The following are some thrilling things you can do on this gorgeous island.
1. Visit Yuquot the Friendly Cove
Yuquot, also known as Friendly Cove, is an important historical site on the island of Nootka. It is a small hamlet on this island and the birthplace of British Columbia where Europeans and First Nations met in British Columbia. Additionally, for generations Yuqot has been the summer residence of Chief Makinna and the Mowachat tribe, with some 1,500 indigenous people living in his 20 traditional wooden tenements.
More than 4,000 years ago, the rich marine life and natural resources, mild climate and beautiful surroundings attracted indigenous people and James Cook became the first European to set foot on island of Nootka.
2. Know the Nootka Sound
Nootka Sound is one of the main attractions on Nootka Island. Situated on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, Nootka sound was essentially a Pacific inlet that is also known as King George Sound in the Pacific Northwest. Nootka Sound separates Vancouver from the Nootka Islands and is a good port.
Nootka Sound is six miles (6 miles) wide, allowing ships to anchor safely and protected from the open sea. This secure location was perfect for a coastal trading post to facilitate access to China.
3. Get Adventurous at Inlets
Other inlets on Nootka Island, in addition to Nootka Sound, offer a wealth of outdoor activities for outdoor enthusiasts, such as kayaking, paddle boating, and fishing.
3.1. Esperanza Inlet
Esperanza Inlet is at the entrance of the northwest side of Nootka Island, and was considered to be at the area southeastern region of Catala Island. Furthermore, a line from Tachu Point to Blind Reef is what characterizes the Esperanza inlet.
3.2. Nuchatlitz Inlet
Nuchatlitz Inlet is on the pristine west coast of Vancouver Island, and is a perfect place to study intertidal life. The tide pools found here throughout the maze of islets and reefs makes it a good study point.
4. Go Hiking
Hiking is another famous attraction of this island that oozes adventure and thrill. The 35-kilometre Nootka trail offers an edge of the earth experience with a bountiful coastline, untamed paths, and wild forests.
Furthermore, the Nootka trail is in the remote area of the Nootka Island. It is on the western edge of the island that winds through the three First Nation reserves, and the rest considered to as the crown land. That being said, the following are some well-known hiking trails of Nootka island you can follow.
4.1. Starfish Lagoon
The first trail starts from Starfish lagoon and leads up to the first beach. It is about 1 kilometer long and takes at least 45 minutes of hiking to reach. The coastal line trail leads to the northwest where golden sand and rock pools await.
4.2. Calvin Falls
From First Beach to Calvin Falls is another hiking trail which is 11 kilometers long. The trail is full of adventure and a true hiking experience; it begins with steep slopes and leads to a trail of tricky terrain, alternating between untamed forest and rocky pocket beach sections, with an odd bit of sand strips.
4.3. Beano Creek
The next stop from Calvin Falls is Beano Creek. This trail is at least 10 kilometers long and takes about 5 hours of hiking. The trail is fairly pleasant with packed sand around Calvin Falls and rock shelves, it only adds to the experience. Furthermore, this trail can lead to the ancient First Nation village of Aaas, the Bajo Point.
The Beano Creek trail includes two kilometers of pea shingle as well as a couple more creek crossings, which can be pretty draining, because hiking through these path as well as during through the creeks may cause your feet to sink in the soft ground with every step.
4.4. Sunrise Beach
The final hike stop is from Beano Creek to Sunrise beach, which is 8.8 kilometers and can take almost 10-12 hours to reach the beach. The hiking trail winds through an alternating path between forest and beach, with short scrambles and a muddy bog area.
Once you push past the overgrown bushes and wet section of shoreline and a few more climbs, you’ll reach Sunrise Beach. Along the way, you can enjoy some amazing viewpoints such as the rocky tidal inlet and Maquinna Point.
5. Nootka Lighthouse
Nootka lighthouse is a square with great historical, architectural, and community values. It is galvanized-steel heritage lighthouse tower, located in the region that has been dominated for over 4,300 years by Nootka Sound First Nations peoples. The lighthouse later became an important site of early contact between First Nations people and European explorers, as well as a center of trade and diplomacy.
Architecturally, the lighthouse tower was originally built to support the lantern gallery and a wooden day sign. Even today, the lighthouse holds a prominent value and is well-known to local and international mariners where it guides the vessels and is popular with eco-tourists and recreational fishers. Another fun fact about the Nootka lighthouse is, it is also known as Yuquot Lighthouse or the Friendly Cove Lighthouse.
6. Paddle your Kayak and Canoes
Nootka sounds and inlets that surround the island provide a true paradise for the outdoor enthusiast with a paddle experience. The waters are rich with wildlife and adventure, it includes sea otters, seals and sea lions, gray whales and orca whales, eagles, wolves, cougars, bears, and many places that are waiting to be explored; places like small islands, rocky coastlines, sheltered coves, remote beaches and dense and untamed rainforests. You can sign up for kayaking tours from most centers on Vancouver Island, and get expert guides to guide you around the famous Nootka Sound, as well as the currents, the winds, and the best camping spots.
7. Hook Some Fishes
Besides kayaking and paddling, the waters also proffer a great fishing experience. Besides the sea otters, seals and sea lions, gray whales and orca whales, the waters also inhabit the salmon, bottom fish, halibut, cod, and red snapper. There are seven wild salmon rivers in the Nootka Sound area, as well as three hatcheries. These hatcheries includes the large federal salmon hatchery situated on the Conuma River between Gold River and Tahsis. July, August and September are the best months to fish salmon, and fishing for halibut, rockfish and snapper is best from April to September.
8. Reel Back to Provincial Parks
Nootka Island has some amazing provincial parks, each holding a prominent value.
8.1. Nuchatlitz Provincial Park
Nuchatlitz Provincial Park occupies the northwestern tip of this island, which includes several small island groups, archaeological sites and shelters once occupied by the first nations people, thousand of years.
8.2. Catala Island Marine Provincial Park
Big and sturdy forests are overlooked by Catala Island Marine Provincial Park which prevents the strong winds from the Pacific Ocean. The park also encompasses numerous reefs, islands, islets as well as marine ecosystems, and aims to protect them.
8.3. Bligh Island Marine Provincial Park
Bligh Island Marine State Park is located on the eastern side of the island of Nootka at the mouth of Muchalat Inlet. The provincial park also comprises the southern part of Bligh Island and part of the Spanish Pilot Archipelago, that offers locals and tourists with a great boating and fishing destination.
8.4. Santa Gertrudis-Boca del Infierno Marine Prov Park
Similar to the other parks, this beautiful park consists of and oversees several known archaeological sites and pristine West Coast forest, including the coastal marine life and the natural habitat for marine fauna.
9. Camp Out
Nootka island’s hiking trails comprise some amazing tamed spots for camping. Some of the best sites to camp are Third Beach, near the Creeks, Skuna Bay, Calvin Falls, Beano Creek, Pocket Beaches (between Beano Creek and Sunrise Beach), and Sunrise Beach.
Located on the remote and rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, Nootka Island is a large island that comprises about 510 square kilometers of land and thrilling outdoor experiences. I hope this article offers enough information for you to have a good vacation on this amazing island.
If you have had your adventure at this beautiful island, then share your experience and the sites you have explored along your way.