Telegraph Cove

Telegraph Cove is considered one of Canada’s most picturesque villages by tourists and travel journalists alike. In the summer months, the small harbour becomes busy with boaters, campers, kayakers, and wildlife enthusiasts.

Telegraph Cove sits at the entrance to Robson Bight (Michael Biggs) Ecological Reserve. Beginning in late June, as many as 200 Killer Whales (Orcas) follow the annual salmon runs to the ecological reserve. Upon their arrival each summer, the whales rub their bodies against the barnacle-encrusted rocks at the mouth of the Tsitika River, an unexplained phenomenon that continues to puzzle scientists.

The 2.4 hour journey from Campbell River to Telegraph Cove is made more than worthwhile by the unprecedented access to rugged, isolated wilderness and the opportunity to enjoy the most remarkable aquatic environments on Vancouver Island.


Telegraph Cove is built on a series of wooden pilings and the tiny village has a signature boardwalk running through the center.

Fast Facts

Telegraph Cove is the starting point to some spectacular wildlife watching boat trips that travel through the cluster of neighbouring inlets. Orca (Killer) whale and Grizzly Bear sightings are standard fare.


Telegraph Cove was once home to ORCA-FM, an “All-Whales-All-The-Time” radio station. Whale calls were picked up by an underwater microphone in the Robson Bight ecological reserve. While ORCA-FM was on the air, listeners within a 15-km radius of the reserve could tune in to hear real-time whale calls.

Local Attractions

The Whale Interpretive Centre raises public awareness of local marine life and the threats they continually face. The centre host one of the best collections of marine mammal skeletons in all of BC. With a dedicated “kids corner” and guided tours, and interactive activities, the Whale Interpretive Centre offers something for everyone.


Blinkhorn Trail is a strenuous trail 3.5k trail through dense rainforest to an impressive ocean viewpoint. Follow the trail markers up a steady incline to overlook the Johnstone Straight, where Orca whales are often spotted.

Stubbs Island, located off Telegraph Cove, has grown in notoriety as an important diving site. Offering terraced ledges, cascading underwater cliffs, and orcas and dolphins for swimming companions, Stubbs Island diving can’t be missed.  

If you prefer to keep your head above water, Stubbs Island Charters has lead Telegraph Cove tourism for nearly 30 years by offering some of the world’s greatest whale watching tours.

Just across the Johnstone Stright, the world-renowned Great Bear Rainforest is the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world, and is home to the legendary “Spirit Bear” (Kormode Bear), a rare white-furred subspecies of the black bear. Take a boat ride through glacial fjords to natural hot springs, spot Orca whales, visit local villages, and take guided tours to see bears. Guided kayaking tours and ferries are available to deliver you to this spectacular wilderness.

Outdoor Activities

Telegraph Cove is known for its bear watching and whale viewing, and your stay here isn’t complete without sighting at least one of these incredible creatures for yourself. Those visiting in the summer months also have the change to see dolphins, sea otters, river otters, seals, sea lions, and more. Pack your binoculars!

Cultural Tours

First Nation guides offer cultural tours teaching the legacy of the Kwakwaka’wakw people at Alert Bay and Yukusam (Hanson) Island. Tour highlights can include Namgis burial grounds (home to many beautiful totem poles), Alert Bay Bighouse, U’mista Cultural Centre, and even traditional song and dance performances.