*For Your Information: We carry excellent, waterproof maps by John Baldwin in our office. For $20 we have maps of the Nootka Trail, the Hesquiat Trail, and the Tatchu Trail.
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Serving The West Coast of British Columbia
Air Nootka's recognized as the official carrier for transporting hikers to the Nootka Trail. We offer a convenient and reliable service that provides more efficient access to the trailhead via Gold river 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 Trail, so you can see the marvels that await you on your hike. You'll be dropped off at Louie 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 open Pacific Ocean at Third Beach. Here begins your adventure that can take anywhere between 3-7 days. 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). Guide books are available on the Nootka Trail as well as web information.
(You can also be dropped further along the trail to make it a half trail.)
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 at Escalante for the start of your trip and pick you up again at Hesquiat Lake at the end. You will end up at the historic Cougar Annie's Garden.
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: Ask permission before entering the Indian reserve near Hesquiat.
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 with all the spectacular beauty of the remote coastal wilderness. You will end your experience in Port Eliza in Esperanza Inlet where you could be picked up by the MV Uchuck III (if no return flight). Make sure to check with their schedule to co-ordinate the end day of your hike. 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 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 land 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. We will drop you off at Hesquiat Lake and from there you can walk around the old home site and the remains of her once thriving garden.
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 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 change-room, and outdoor toilets for your convenience before getting ready for the return walk and flight out again.