Serving The West Coast of British Columbia
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We carry excellent, waterproof maps by John Baldwin in our office for $20.
They are for the Nootka Island Trail, the Hesquiat Trail, and the Tatchu Trail.
Nootka Island Trail
Air Nootka is recognized as the official carrier for transporting hikers to the Nootka Island Trail. We offer a convenient and reliable service that provides easy access to the trailhead than any other transportation option. Your flight will leave from the base in Gold River, fly down the Muchalat Inlet to Nootka Sound, and then out to the west coast of Nootka Island.
We will fly you over the length of the Nootka Island Trail, so you can see the marvels that await you on your hike. You'll be dropped off at Louie Lagoon, also known as Starfish Lagoon, which is the start of the trail. The trapped waters of Louie Lagoon yield an excellent protected landing area, only accessible by floatplane. A 45 minute hike along a flagged path through the rainforest brings hikers to the rolling surf of the Pacific Ocean at Third Beach. Many people like to plan to spend at least a day at the spectacular Calvin Falls, while others plan some time at the end of the hike to visit Friendly Cove (Yuquot).
Distance and Duration: 35km with options 4-6 days.
Note: Mowachaht/Muchalaht Trail Fees
There is a $45 fee per person (cash only), payable to the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation Band which allows access to cross their three reserve sites on Nootka Island and their facilities at Friendly Cove. You can pay this fee at the boat ramp (see boat launch attendant) in Gold River or while crossing the first nations land..
The Hesquiat trail is becoming very popular with hikers wanting to experience the beautiful West Coast wilderness. Air Nootka will drop you off on the beach at Escalante for the start of your trip. The hike ends at the historic Cougar Annie's Gardens where you will get a guided tour with Peter Buckland. Pick up is at Hesquiat Lake.
The following is an except from Philip Stone's chapter on the Hesquiat Peninsula from his book Coastal Hikes - A Guide to West Coast Hiking Trails in British Columbia and Washington State.
"What sets the Hesquiat Peninsula hike aside from most treks is that almost the entire 50km hike is along the shore. There are only a handful of short sections of forest concentrated at both ends and the fact that there are very few significant cliffs or other obstacles. The geology of the shoreline is remarkable throughout with expansive tidal shale rock shelves, wild sculptured conglomerate and sandstone formations, endless boulder fields and stunning sandy and pebble beaches that run for miles. Much of the land on the Hesquiat Peninsula is now Provincial park from Escalante Point all the way around to Hot Springs Cove which is part of Maquinna Marine Park. This region is the ancestral home of the Hesquiat First Nation who are part of the west coast Nuu-chah-nulth people. The Hesquiat have an indelible relationship with the land and sea of their territory. Points of interest along the route include the beaches at Escalante, Estevan Point lighthouse, Hesquiat village, beaches around Anton's Spit and Cougar Annies's Garden in Boat Basin. The Hesquiat trail is one of the least trodden paths along the coast of Vancouver Island, but destined to become one of the most popular.
Distance and Duration: 50km with options 4-6 days.
Permits/Fees: $30 per person for Cougar Annie's Gardens. Payable wit Visa or Mastercard. Please email prior to your hike to set up the tour time. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tatchu Trail is a newer coastal hike which begins with Air Nootka dropping you off at Rugged Point in Kyuquot Sound. From there it is a 4-5 day hike through the spectacular beauty of the remote coastal wilderness. You will end your experience in Port Eliza in the Esperanza Inlet. This hike is becoming popular with those who have hiked other west coastal hikes and it is on par with the degree of difficulty found on the Nootka Island Trail and the Hesquiat Trail.
Distance and Duration: 32km with options 4-6 days.
Cougar Annie's Garden
A day trip to Cougar Annie's Garden allows for a trip into the past, to imagine what life on the rugged west coast was like for the infamous Ada Annie Jordan. She moved to the island from Vancouver in about 1915 and eventually cleared 5 acres for her homestead, gardens, and farm. She made her living in part by the sale of her plants and bulbs by mail-order. She outlived all 4 of her husbands and had 11 children all born on her property where she lived until her 90's. Air Nootka will drop you off at Hesquiat Lake. From there you can walk around the old home site and the remains of her once thriving garden.
Note: Cougar Annie's Gardens are maintained by a charitable organization. There is a drop-in guided tour for $30 per person. Check www.boatbasin.org
Hot Springs Cove
Hot Springs Cove is a truly special place. We drop you off at the Maquinna Marine Park Wharf where you begin with a magical 30-45 minute walk along well maintained boardwalk through old growth forest to the hot springs themselves. Once there you can spend the day soaking in the natural rock pools which vary from very hot at the top where the water comes out in a small waterfall to comfortably warm nearer to the ocean. There are shelters, a changing area, and outdoor toilets for your convenience.
Special Rate of $150 per person (2 person minimum per flight) from September through the end of May.