nootka totem

A remote coastal hike with beautiful beaches, fewer hikers, an interesting history, and a fabulous assortment of mammal, bird and marine wildlife. The Nootka Island backpacking trip offers a wide variety of terrain and scenery, packed into a fun and challenging 43km’s of classic coastal hiking.

We will take a float plane from Gold River to our access point at Starfish Lagoon on Nootka Island. You will experience amazing sandy beaches, interesting sandstone formations and true old growth rainforest. We finish our journey at Yuquot or Friendly Cove where Captain Cook first made contact. We will visit the local First Nations family, the historic church and the coast guard lighthouse. The area around Nootka Island is believed to have been inhabited for thousands of years. There is evidence to suggest that human presence at Yuquot at Friendly Cove dates back at least 4,000 years. The area’s inhabitants were first called Nootka by James Cook in 1778. As was the case when cultures with different languages met, communication was reduced to gestures and drawings, which were often misinterpreted. Although there is some debate over the origin of the term “nootka”, the best guess is that it comes from “nootk-sitl” meaning to go around or make a circuit. It probably was used by the inhabitants to indicate that Nootka was an island, and not to their name. The people who claim Nootka Island and who maintain a presence at Yuquot are the Mowachaht (“place where the deer come from”). This trek, on Vancouver Island’s rugged west coast, promises and delivers a great wilderness experience.

Cost: Cdn:  $1695 + 5% GST [Federal Tax]

Click to Calculate Cost in your Currency

Book Now

A non-refundable deposit of 30% of the trip fee is required to hold your reservation.The balance of the fee is due 60 days prior to commencement date of the trip. As a significant portion of our trip costs is already committed well in advance of each trip, there is no refund after 60 days. If payment is not received when due, Sea to Sky Expeditions reserves the right to treat the reservation as cancelled. Sea to Sky Expeditions will refund both deposit [less a small administrative fee] and full balance of payment, if we can replace your spot with another participant, less any non-refundable moneys from third party deposits. Cancellation notice must be received in writing. Please note that all tours in B.C and the Yukon. are subject to a 5% GST federal tax. No one may depart on a trip unless all payments and necessary documents (including medical and liability release forms) are received by Sea to Sky Expeditions. Due to the nature of operating in the wilderness and international destinations, prices are subject to change [rare]. Where necessary to change a price, we will try to provide as much notice as possible, and offer you the choice of another trip, or to cancel, with full refund. Our prices are quoted in Canadian dollars. If you choose to pay by credit card, we have to process the payment in Canadian funds. Your credit card company will automatically change it to your currency based on their exchange rate. If you paid your deposit in Canadian funds, please continue to make all further payments in Canadian funds to avoid any confusion in the daily changing exchange rate. Sea to Sky Expeditions reserves the right to alter itineraries or cancel any trip prior to departure for any reason whatsoever, including insufficient booking levels or logistical problems that may impede trip operations. A trip cancellation due to insufficient booking levels will generally occur at least 30 days prior to departure. Sea to Sky Expeditions is not responsible for expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip (i.e. non refundable airline tickets, visa fees, equipment, etc.).


A complete itinerary along with maps, clothing and equipment list, will be issued upon registration.

Included:  Transportation from the point of origin and return, any charter flights or water taxi, camping fees, cooking gear, camp stoves, tents, meal preparations, meals/snacks/beverages on the expedition, tarps, major first aid supplies, emergency radio or satellite phone, and professional guides. We can provide sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and backpack if required.

Excluded:  Transportation to point of origin, transfers, accommodation and food other than included in the itinerary, and personal equipment.

  • Gratuities are not included. Our guides make every effort to ensure your holiday is all you expected and more. Recognition of a job well done is always appreciated; $10-20/day per guide is recommended. 

 Day 0:  Arrival in Vancouver. This denotes the day or days spent in Vancouver before the listed start date of the trip.

Day 1:  This morning we will pick you up from your accommodations in the Comox Valley and bring you to our base of operations where final pack checks and equipment are sorted out. Next we have a 2-3 hour drive to the west coast of Vancouver Island and the community of Gold River.
After arrival in Gold River, we will immediately fly by floatplane to Louie Bay on Nootka Island. Our pilot usually flies us over Friendly Cove, the end of our hike, and along the stretch of coast we will be hiking for a bird’s-eye view of our journey. After landing in Louie Bay, a short hike will bring us to the west coast of Nootka Island and our first campsite on a beautiful sandy beach.

Day 2:  Today’s hike is a full day with a wide variety of rain forest and beaches, from sand to small boulders, forming our path. Our goal is Calvin Falls, a fantastic spot to enjoy on a warm day. This is our longest day km wise at approx. 15km’s.

Day 3:  Beano Creek is our destination today. Beano often has a perfect swimming hole to enjoy after a day of hiking. We will cover approx. 10km’s today, all on the “beach”. Of course “beach” can have many meanings!!

Day 4: Today’s hike more than any other will be dictated by the access to available water at camp. We have a special camp in mind. Flexibility is the key today.

Day 5: Our final fuller day of hiking will take us just short of Friendly Cove. The terrain today is varied as we climb in and out of the rainforest onto pocket beaches. Each small beach has it’s own special character and are full of stunning views and possibly treasures from the sea (Japanese glass fishing balls anyone!) Tides will dictate some of our route and options.

Day 6:  We will arrive at the village of Yuquot and Friendly Cove before noon. Yuquot is the traditional village of the Mowachaht who have lived in the region for over 4000 years. Spain and England alternately occupied the area. It was during Cook’s third voyage around the world in 1778 that he was forced to make repairs to his vessels in Nootka Sound. In recognition of the friendliness accorded him and his crew, he named the area Friendly Cove.
Of special interest here are the lighthouse and the elegant little church with spire that rises above the surrounding brambles. The church is no longer used for services because of the relocation of the Mowachaht to Gold River, but serves as a museum of replica houseposts.
In the late morning we will be returned to Gold River by floatplane. We will lunch in Gold River or Campbell River before returning to Nanaimo to catch an early evening ferry back to the mainland. We should arrive at the ferry terminal by late afternoon with the intent to catch the 5:55pm ferry back to Horseshoe Bay. A private charter will be waiting to take you back to the Accent Inn where you will likely arrive around 8:30pm.

Vancouver Many of the major North American carriers fly into Vancouver or alternately, Seattle. Check with your travel agent for options. There is a bus service, Quick Shuttle , from Seattle’s airport to hotels in Vancouver. These run daily and are reasonably priced. For more information, in North America, phone 1/800/665-2122 or 1/604/940-4428 – Fax 1/604/940-4429. Check the link regarding shuttles and other airport information.

Share This: