The Nootka Island
Trail, also called the Friendly Cove/Yuquot Trail, rambles between
Louie Bay on the north side of Nootka
Island (Louie Bay Trailhead) and Yuquot (Friendly Cove) on the
south (Friendly Cove Trailhead).
Along the way,
the challenging trail crosses exquisite beaches and tidal shelves,
as well as leading inland to bypass rocky headlands and deep river
mouths. This 22-mile (35-km) trail is gradually becoming a choice
hiking destination, and is a complement to the West Coast Trail.
with the West Coast Trail, the Nootka Island Trail is poorly marked
and infrequently maintained. Be prepared to bushwhack around fallen
trees brought down by the frequent, savage winter storms that pound
this section of coast. In order to avoid an exhausting amount of
bushwhacking, consult tide charts for the most opportune times to
cross beaches. Some rivers must be forded, which must be done at
low tide if crossing at or near the ocean, as with rounding headlands.
Be aware of the potential for rogue when on the rocks.
The best time
to hike Nootka Island Trail is between May and September. Allow
five days to complete the hike one way. Hikers must be completely
self-contained and are advised to carry a handheld marine radio,
as the sole source of help is from the lighthouse staff at Yuquot.
the trail include freshwater showers at Calvin Creek waterfall,
swimming and body surfing in the Pacific Ocean, beachcombing, and
exploring ancient First Nation middens.
There is a
large population of black bears on Nootka Island, and the chances
are therefore good that hikers will encounter them along the beaches.
At present, these bears do not associate hikers with food. Keep
all supplies cached well out of reach of these animals. Other
wildlife that may be encountered or viewed from the trail include
cougars, grey wolves, black-tailed deer, Orca (killer whales), grey
whales, California sea lions, harbour seals, sea otters, bald eagles,
and shore birds.
territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation incorporates much of
the western portion of Vancouver Island, having been inhabited by
the Nuu-chah-nulth people for thousands of years. Friendly cove
juts into Nootka Sound, the site of the historic meeting between
Captain James Cook and the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations people on
March 29 1778. History in this remote area was made again when the
British signed a treaty with Spain at Friendly Cove in 1790.
There is a
trail fee of $45 per person payable to the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First
Nations Band to provide access to their facilities at Friendly Cove
and the traverse of their three reserve sites on Nootka Island.
Campsites on the Nootka Island Trail are located at First Beach,
Skuna Bay, Calvin Falls, and Beano Creek.
Access to Louie
Bay the Friendly Cove Trailhead is by floatplane from Gold
River, Tahsis, Campbell
River or Tofino, or
by the sea on the MV Uchuck 111 from Gold River (Muchalat Inlet)
to Yuquot. Hikers can also reach both trailheads by water taxi from
Gold River or Tahsis to Yuquot
in the south or Louie Lagoon or Ferrier Point in the north.
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