Hiking and Biking
With the famed West Coast Trail becoming so crowded that people planning to hike it need reservations a year in advance, the Nootka Island Trail offers a 35-kilometre hike through the same kind of wild, pristine wilderness, but without the crowds.
Most start at the north end of the trail, arriving there by seaplane, or get a boat or water-taxi to drop them off at Louie Bay, just south of the Nuchatlitz Inlet. Consisting almost exclusively of beach walking, the hike allows for viewing of black bears, wolves, cougars, eagles, sea otters, whales, and sea lions in a natural and unspoiled setting.
Other highlights of the trail include showering under Calvin Creek waterfall; swimming and body surfing in the ocean; exploring ancient middens and mounds where long houses once stood; investigating the life in tidal pools, and beach-combing for treasures deposited from across the ocean.
Hikers arrive four or five days later at Yuquot, or Friendly Cove where the MV Uchuck III makes bi-weekly pick-ups. Be prepared to pay a fee of $45 for access to the trail. The fee includes free camping and use of the facilities at Yuquot. Payment is made before departure or upon arrival at Yuquot.
Challenging and not a trek for the unfit or faint of heart, the Nootka Island Trail offers immense satisfaction for those who hike it.
If you’re looking for something a little less strenuous that only takes a few hours, nearby Strathcona Provincial Park offers numerous improved trails to explore. These trails are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. This is a great way to get out with the entire family and experience the quiet beauty of the wilderness.
Crest Mountain Trail is a very steep and grueling 4 hour hike up to the summit of Crest Mountain. From the top you can see 360 degrees to all the other peaks within Strathcona Park including Upper Campbell Lake and the Elk River Valley.
The trail head starts at Drum Lakes with a small pullout for parking and an information sign with a map. The trail crosses over a wooden bridge that separates Lower Drum Lake from Upper Drum Lake.
Peppercorn Trail starts at the Gold River bridge and meanders alongside the river to a subdivision in the village. The trail is an easy walk with some steep sections but not too hard for the faint of heart.
There are trails circumventing Antler and Star Lakes also with small pullout areas for parking. Both trails offer exquisite views of the lakes and surrounding hillsides. Patches of old growth forests surround both lakes. Both trails are used by mountain bikes also.
Mountain biking enthusiasts soon discover the unending trails in the mountains surrounding Gold River, where locals have constructed trails with jumps and obstacles. Although the interest has waned and some of the trails have been taken over by Mother Nature, you can still enjoy some remote riding on Antler Lake loop and the Scout Lake trail system.