Nootka Island Trail

Discover Vancouver Island

If you are looking for a place with less foot traffic than the West Coast Trail, this place is for you.  It is harder to get to which is one of the reasons there is less foot traffic, but for people looking to be in a very remote place, this is it. This trail is 35km (22 miles) long  and mostly along the ocean. You will be on gravel beaches, sandy beaches, forest cliffs and sometimes working your way through mud. The only place you are likely to see other people is Beano Creek. Here there are cottages set up for those coming in to watch the surf break and come to a more remote part of the island.


The area around friendly cove has been occupied by natives for over 4300 years- The Mowachaht tribe.

On August 8, 1774  Santiago, a Spanish navy ship under Juan Perez anchored in the inlet.  According to legend, no one landed on shore, however natives paddled out to the ship and trade furs.  Perez named the entrance to Nootka Sound Surdidero de San Lorenzo.

In March of 1778, Captain James Cook brought two ships, The Discovery and the Resolution, through Nootka Sound and named it King George’s Sound.  Then Esteban Jose Martinez arrived in 1789 and gave Nootka Sound the name Puerto de San Lorenzo de Nuca. To the small village at Friendly Cove he gave the name Santa Cruz de Nuca.

Friendly cove soon became a hub for the sea otter fur trade for the Spanish who also granted access to the Portuguese. The Spanish were rivals with the Russians who had established a trading system in Alaska.

Time of Year:

Its best to go May through September. Be prepared for any weather. July and August will be your driest months. Fog can set in at any time, though would be most common during morning hours.


No reservation is necessary, though you must pay a $45 fee


Its camping most of the time, but there are huts near Bajo Beach.


See Starting Points

Time and Distance:

4-6 days

Starting points:
Nootka Island is about 40 Kilometers by boat or plane from Gold River which is the nearest town. You can fly with Air Nootka (airnootka.com) or take a water taxi (ssavey@yuquot.ca) to the north end of the trail. From Friendly cove (the south end), return by float plane, water taxi, or you can take the M.V. Uchuck III (Mvuchuck.com).