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Coastal backpacking trip on Nootka Island, British Columbia

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This is a remote coastal backpacking tour on Nootka Island with beautiful beaches, fewer hikers, interesting history


The Nootka Island backpacking trip offers a wide variety of terrain and scenery, packed into a fun and challenging 43 km's of classic coastal hiking.


  • Nootka Island
  • Beaches
  • Mammal, bird and marine wildlife
  • Gold River
  • Starfish Lagoon
  • Calvin Falls

You will take a float plane from Gold River to our access point at Starfish Lagoon on Nootka Island. You will experience amazing sandy beaches, interesting sandstone formations and true old growth rainforest. You finish our journey at Yuquot or Friendly Cove where Captain Cook first made contact. The group will visit the local First Nations family, the historic church and the coast guard lighthouse. The area around Nootka Island is believed to have been inhabited for thousands of years. There is evidence to suggest that human presence at Yuquot at Friendly Cove dates back at least 4,000 years.

The area’s inhabitants were first called Nootka by James Cook in 1778. As was the case when cultures with different languages met, communication was reduced to gestures and drawings, which were often misinterpreted. Although there is some debate over the origin of the term “Nootka”, the best guess is that it comes from “nootk-sitl” meaning to go around or make a circuit. It probably was used by the inhabitants to indicate that Nootka was an island, and not to their name.  The people who claim Nootka Island and who maintain a presence at Yuquot are the Mowachaht (“place where the deer come from”).

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Local Guides
  • Small group
Availability July - August
Duration 6 days
Departs From NANAIMO, BC
Difficulty Moderate / Challenging
Group maximum 10
Minimum age 10 years
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up No


1 682
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • International number: +1 778 348 1676

Availability & Prices (2024):
$2304 CAD/person

July 16-21
July 27-August 1

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What's Included

Find out what is included and what to bring.


  • Meals/snacks/beverages while on the expedition
  • Charter flights or water taxi
  • Camping fees
  • Cooking gear
  • Camp stoves
  • Tents
  • Meal preparations
  • Tarps
  • Major first aid supplies
  • Emergency radio or satellite phone
  • Accommodation in tent campsites along the route

Suggested Clothing

  • Clothing suited to a variety of temperatures and weather conditions
  • Rain gear
  • Hat
  • Warm socks
  • Hiking boots
  • Sneakers
  • Swim suit
  • Towel

What to bring

  • Warm sleeping bag (required) *Rentals are available
  • Sleeping pad (required) *Rentals are available
  • Backpack (required) *Rentals are available
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Daypack
  • Canteen
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Contact us for more Information about this tour


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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


Guide information:All tours meet or exceed the industry standard for guides to client ratios. Tours with 5 or more guests will have two guides. Tours with fewer guests will typically have a single guide and may have a second guide. All guides are certified in wilderness first aid and guiding experience and certifications relative to the tour type.

Restrictions: Moderate level of fitness is recommended.  Be prepared to carry packs of at least 40 pounds. This tour has long hiking days a variety of different terrain and off-trail hiking.

Transportation: Trips originate and end in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Transportation between Nanaimo and the trailhead is included.

Weather: Average summer temperatures are between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.

Arrive in Nanaimo the day before. This denotes the day or days spent on Vancouver Island before the listed start date of the trip.

This morning we will pick you up from your accommodations in Nanaimo and bring you to our base of operations where final pack checks and equipment are sorted out. Next, we have a 2-3 hour drive to the west coast of Vancouver Island and the community of Gold River.

After arrival in Gold River, we will immediately fly by floatplane to Louie Bay on Nootka Island. Our pilot usually flies us over Friendly Cove, at the end of our hike, and along the stretch of the coast, we will be hiking for a bird’s-eye view of our journey. After landing in Louie Bay, a short hike will bring us to the west coast of Nootka Island and our first campsite on a beautiful sandy beach.

Today’s hike is a full day with a wide variety of rainforests and beaches, from sand to small boulders, forming our path. Our goal is Calvin Falls, a fantastic spot to enjoy on a warm day. This is our longest day kilometers wise at approx. 15 kilometers.

Beano Creek is our destination today. Beano often has a perfect swimming hole to enjoy after a day of hiking. We will cover approx. 10km’s today, all on the “beach”. Of course “beach” can have many meanings!!

Today’s hike more than any other will be dictated by the access to available water at camp. We have a special camp in mind. Flexibility is the key today.

Our final fuller day of hiking will take us just short of Friendly Cove. The terrain today is varied as we climb in and out of the rainforest onto pocket beaches. Each small beach has it’s own special character and are full of stunning views and possibly treasures from the sea (Japanese glass fishing balls anyone!) Tides will dictate some of our route and options.

We will arrive at the village of Yuquot and Friendly Cove before noon. Yuquot is the traditional village of the Mowachaht which has lived in the region for over 4000 years. Spain and England alternately occupied the area. It was during Cook’s third voyage around the world in 1778 that he was forced to make repairs to his vessels in Nootka Sound. In recognition of the friendliness accorded him and his crew, he named the area Friendly Cove.

Of special interest here are the lighthouse and the elegant little church with a spire that rises above the surrounding brambles. The church is no longer used for services because of the relocation of the Mowachaht to Gold River, but serves as a museum of replica house posts.

In the late morning, we will be returned to Gold River by floatplane or boat before returning to Nanaimo and the ferry.

Payment Details

Deposit and taxes
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.
A 30% deposit is required to hold your reservation.
Balance of payment is due 75 days before trip commencement.


The 30% deposit on your tour holds your tour space and guarantees your spot on the tour. Your deposit is non-refundable in most circumstances. If you pay the balance before the 75-day due date, the balance, less the non-refundable deposit, is refundable except under circumstances outlined in the Cancellation Policy (provided upon booking). Your final balance payment is due 75 days before departure, and becomes non-refundable 60 days before departure. If you fail to pay the balance by the 75-day due date, you forfeit your deposit and lose your reservation. If you cancel within 60 days before the tour departure date, you forfeit your entire trip cost. This is necessary to guarantee that tours run when there are insufficient bookings after cancellations, and to cover the significant costs and commitments to run a tour.