Province wide campfire bans in place, Campers know before you go camping.

Soak in the Sunshine Coast Along BC’s Salish Sea Route – Saltery Bay to Lund

Indigenous cultures, artistic communities, sea-inspired activities, spectacular coastlines and old growth forests make up British Columbia’s Salish Sea Coastal Route. This blog covers the Sunshine Coast part of the drive, from Saltery Bay north to Lund. Click here for the Sunshine Coast blog from Langdale to Egmont which also includes ‘Getting There’ from the BC Mainland.

Paddling Along the Coastline of Desolation Sound | Destination BC/Andrew Strain

Saltery Bay

After a 50-minute ferry ride across Jervis Inlet from Earl’s Cove you arrive at Saltery Bay on the Malaspina Peninsula. It was named in the early 1900s when it was the base for a salmon saltery and fish packing plant. Nearby are Mermaid’s Cove and Saltery Bay Provincial Picnic Park, a popular stop for, yes, a picnic. Mountain bikers can explore the 48-km Elephant Bay Loop. Between Saltery Bay and Powell River lies Lang Creek Estuary, a superb location for salmon fishing and beach casting when the fish run in autumn. There are several hiking trails and forest recreation sites along the way too. Palm Beach Regional Park off Hwy 101 before Brew Bay is open year-round and bids adieu to summer with the Sunshine Music Festival on Labour Day Weekend.

Powell River | Province of BC

Powell River/Texada Island

Powell River is the ancestral home of the Sliammon First Nation. The city of Powell River lies along the shores of the Georgia Strait at the heart of the Malaspina Peninsula and faces west to Vancouver Island. Inlets and Powell Lake separate this area from the rest of the BC mainland, making it a magical place to visit.

It’s an area steeped in Indigenous culture, logging and BC heritage (check out the educational forestry museum). Late winter sees the Powell River Film Festival in the classic Patricia Theatre, Canada’s oldest continuously running cinema. The townsite has over 400 buildings dating to the original 1910 town plan and, in 1995, was designated as a National Historic District of Canada. Stroll around for yourself or book a heritage walking tour or take in an Indigenous experience, such as the Tla’amin Nation Cultural Tours where you can meet skilled craftspeople and learn about traditional practices. Music gatherings include the Townsite Jazz Festival in April and the PRISMA Festival & Academy Festival in mid-June, which unites renowned guest artists with top international music students for two weeks; spectators are invited to watch the symphonies and orchestras that take shape here. Mid-July means outdoor entertainment with a unique logger sports event.

Tacos and margaritas at Mexican and Latin influenced Costa del Sol in Powell River | Sunshine Coast Tourism/Shayd Johnson

Local produce can be purchased at the Townsite Public Market and Coast Berry Company, a blueberry, strawberry and honey farm and café, and the Powell River Blackberry Festival and street party is in August. For an educational outing visit the Tla’amin Salmon Hatchery.

From kayak and canoe rentals and dive trips to day tours and eco resort indulgences, there are numerous tour opportunities and 32 lakes in the Powell River area. Golfers and cyclists should head southeast to Myrtle Point Golf Club and explore the roads through Paradise Valley agricultural area.

Aerial View of Desolation Sound, including Mt Denman and the Coast Range Mountains | Destination BC/Andrew Strain

Beachgoers can check out Willingdon Beach Municipal Campsite on the northern edge of town (open year-round), Mowat Bay Park at the bottom end of Powell Lake, or, northeast of town, Haywire Bay Regional Park, operated by the Regional District. Travellers to Vancouver Island can take a ferry from Powell River to Courtenay.

Southwest across the water from Powell River is Texada Island, the largest of the Gulf Islands, with Courtenay, Vancouver Island beyond that. Each July the sandy beaches of Gillies Bay on Texada are home to the community event of Sandcastle Weekend. Other entertaining gatherings are the Texada Island Fly-In (air and car/bike show), the Texada Island Blues & Roots Festival, the Sunshine Music Festival and the Run the Rock 8 km and half-marathon/marathon. Said to be the toughest marathon in Canada it attracts runners from around the world. For a calmer outing visit Texada’s beaches to experience their vast intertidal zones or chill out and watch some skimboarding.

For more on Powell River read the blog Powell River, Insulated By Nature.

Lund

At the most northern end of Highway 101 is Lund, a quaint village known for craft harbour, fishing (Lund Seafood Festival in May), sea touring and being the gateway to Desolation Sound, the deep-water area at the northern end of the Salish Sea. Lund sits on Tla’amin land in the qathet Regional District and is home to the Coast Salish people. Its first European settler was Swede Charlie Thulin who, in 1889, named the harbour after a city in his home country.

Visit art studios such as Tug-Gumh Gallery or indulge yourself at Nancy’s Bakery or the Lund Resort at Klah Ah Men, an award-winner in Indigenous tourism.

The Harbour at Lund | Destination BC/Andrew Strain

East of Lund is Okeover Arm Provincial Park and Okeover Inlet, a superb spot for harvesting oysters and clams (tidal water licence required). Diver’s Rock Regional Park and Copeland Islands Marine Provincial Park are just north of Lund. The latter is made up of a small chain of island, islets and rocks in Thulin Passage and is a prime area for wildlife viewing and wilderness camping; there are also some anchorages for small vessels. For an unforgettable experience book a water taxi or snorkel/dive trip to Savary Island, southeast of Lund—it has some of the warmest waters north of the Baja and sandy shores to relax on. Lund Water Taxi offers services to Savary and Cortes Islands, Sarah Point (start of Sunshine Coast Trail) and Desolation Sound. They also have bicycle and kayak transfer services.

Water enthusiasts and hikers are keen on Inland Lake Provincial Park and the Sunshine Coast Trail from Powell River to Sarah Point, approximately 47 km north of Lund. There is 13 km of wheelchair accessible trail around Inland Lake.

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

The Sunshine Coast region is home to the traditional and ancestral territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, shíshálh, Tla’amin, Klahoose and Homalco Nations. Visitors are encouraged to learn about how they can engage in cultural exploration.

Read our suggested drive along the Salish Sea Coastal Route or learn about winter activities on the Sunshine Coast.

Check out the first part of this tour up the Sunshine Coast by reading the blog Soak in the Sunshine Coast Along BC’s Salish Sea Route – Langdale to Egmont

For places to camp in British Columbia go to the Camping Map.

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtags #campinbc #explorebc.

Treasure Hunting in British Columbia’s Gold Country

Gold Country GeoTourism Field Guides
Gold Country GeoTourism Field Guides

The thrill of a modern treasure hunt comes alive with Geocaching in Gold Country – an area of BC’s interior rich in cultural and geographic diversity. Geocaching combines outdoor recreation, technology, and a good old-fashioned treasure hunt. Location coordinates can be entered into a GPS, or a smartphone app can set you on your way, or you can explore with a lower-tech version of Geocaching called Letterboxing. Your purpose? To visit places of historical, cultural, and geographic significance and bring BC’s past to life.

Marble Canyon, Gold Country, BC
Marble Canyon, Gold Country, BC

Gold Country started a Geo-Tourism initiative in 2008, and in 2010 launched a more ambitious project with the publication of their first book, Gold Country GeoTourism Adventures: Field Guide Volume 1. This book details 72 caches – hidden containers containing a log book, some trade items, and collectable stickers unique to each cache – hidden throughout Gold Country. In 2012, a second book, Gold Country GeoTourism Adventures: Field Guide Volume 2 was published, providing another 72 opportunities for exploration.

Gold Country provides a wide variety of terrain to explore and Geocaching helps provide inspiration – whether it is a day trip, a weekend away, or a more extended visit. Each Geocache listed in the Field Guides (or on the Geocaching website www.geocaching.com) is given a score between one and five for both overall difficulty (how challenging it is to find the cache) and terrain difficulty (how challenging it is to access the cache site – think length of hike, steepness, exposure, etc.). Each geocache is also given a unique code, making it easy to search and plan your route.

Logan Lake Shovel, Gold Country, BC
Logan Lake Shovel, Gold Country, BC

Gold Country Geocaches range in difficulty from what are referred to as simple “park and grab” style caches to ones that require significant off-road driving and extended uphill hikes. One of the benefits of geocaching in Gold Country is that each cache is located at a point of significance to the area. In fact, in Volume 1, each geocache is sorted into one of five categories: Pioneers & Early Settlers, Geological Wonders, Views & Vistas, Gravesites & Mystical Places, and Historic Churches. In Volume 2, the caches are categorized as Settlers & Pioneers, Geological & Views, Rails & Trails, Feature Film, or Agriculture.

Cornwall Hills Park Lookout, Gold Country, BC
Cornwall Hills Park Lookout, Gold Country, BC

As you travel from cache to cache in Gold Country you can consult your Field Guide, which provides information about the nearest community, parking, and any access information and restrictions. The Field Guides also provide an excellent background description of the cache’s significance. I have learned some truly fascinating history and geology through Gold Country’s caches.

I have had many excellent experiences in Gold Country, but a few of my favourite geocache discoveries are:

  • The Cache Creek Mélange: A site of geological wonder that I first visited as part of a university Geology trip. The Cache Creek Mélange exposes the movement of tectonic plates in a way not often visible, accessible, or understood by the average person.
  • Lytton Reaction Ferry: This Pioneers & Early Settlers site is fascinating as it provides a great view and history of the Lytton Reaction Ferry. This free ferry (yes, you should definitely take it across the river!) has no motor and instead uses a rudder, a fixed cable, and the current of the river to cross the mighty Fraser with up to two cars and twelve passengers per trip.
  • Marble Canyon:  Marble Canyon, on Highway 99 between Cache Creek and Lillooet, is a spectacular destination. A provincial park campsite offers a great place to spend the night, the towering limestone and dolomite cliffs are uncommon in BC and offer excellent rock climbing, and the hunt for this geocache takes you on a short hike to the base of an impressive waterfall.
  • Logan Lake Shovel:  This one is not hard to find, as the Logan Lake Shovel is also the home of the Logan Lake Visitor Centre! The impressive thing about hunting for this cache; however, is the sheer size of the 235-ton ore hauling truck and the enormous bucket on the mining shovel, from which the cache takes its name. Make sure you climb the steps and sit in the shovel’s cab!
  • Cornwall Hills Park & Lookout:  This is one of my absolute favourite Gold Country geocaches! The Cornwall Hills Park & Lookout requires a 4×4 to get to it, but it is so worth it to make the trek up the gravel road to the 2036 metre summit where an old fire tower provides 360-degree views stretching as far as Mount Baker in Washington state.

Geocaching in Gold Country offers something for everyone, from history buffs to adventure seekers. Just keep in mind that once you are there, a whole new world of possibilities will be opened to you, and you will likely find yourself wishing you had planned to spend more time in Gold Country.

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

If this blog was of interest to you, check out our suggested drive:
Following the BC Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo & Beyond

For campgrounds in this area and elsewhere in British Columbia go to the Camping Map.

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc

Published: March 16th, 2017

Connect With Us