Scott Provincial Park is a rugged coastal rainforest located on the northwest
tip of Vancouver Island.
San Josef Bay,
Cape Scott Provincial Park
records that this region was first inhabited by the Kwakwaka'wakw people, formerly
known as the Kwakiutl. Settlement attempts by hardy Danish pioneers in 1897 and
1910 were defeated by violent winds and rainstorms. The park was established in
1973, and is named for Cape Scott, the site of the lighthouse that has safely
guided mariners since 1960.
Cape Scott Provincial Park is a wilderness area, preserving a truly magnificent
area of coastal British Columbia. Visitors to the 21 849-hectare park can expect
to find little development except trails. The park is characterized by 40 miles
(64 km) of scenic and rugged ocean frontage from Nissen Bay in the north to San
Josef Bay in the south. Rocky promontories and jagged headlands are scattered
along the remote and wide sandy beaches. Nels Bight is the most impressive of
the 9 beaches in the park, at 2,400 metres long and over 200 metres wide!
highest point in Cape Scott Provincial Park is Mount St. Patrick overlooking San
Josef Bay, which rises 415 metres above sea level. Eric Lake in the southeast
is the largest body of fresh water in the park, at 44 hectares. Hansen Lagoon,
which cuts deep into the park from Hansen Bay, is an important stopover for Canada
Geese and waterfowl travelling the Pacific Flyway migratory route.
of San Josef Bay, Cape Scott
Upland areas of the park contain a variety of flora and fauna and are forested
with red and yellow cedar, lodgepole pine, hemlock and true fir. Various species
of birds exist along the coastline and the open uplands of the park protect larger
mammals, including deer, elk, wolves, bear, cougar and sea otter.
to Cape Scott should be well prepared for adverse weather conditions - all year
round. Annual rainfall is between 375 and 500 centimetres, and prolonged sunny
periods are a rarity, even in summer. High winds, rain and generally stormy conditions
can be expected at any time of the year. There is no best time to visit the park,
although mid summer is generally preferred. A storm once blew so hard that it
turned the lighthouse here sideways!
Cape Scott Provincial
Park, Vancouver Island
There are opportunities for wilderness camping, hiking and wildlife viewing within
the park. Trails range in length from two to thirty kilometres, and from a pleasant
stroll to a challenging and demanding test of skill and stamina. The incessant
rain results in muddy and difficult conditions on primitive trails that provide
some of the most tortuous terrain of any trail in British Columbia, but the visual
and emotional rewards are beyond comparison, especially on a clear day.
Trails in Cape Scott Provincial Park
are 11 designated camp pads located at Eric Lake, available on a first-come, first-served
basis. There is no longer a campsite at Donaldson Farm. Wilderness camping is
not restricted to particular sites, though no facilities other than food caches
at Guise Bay, Nels Bight, San Josef, Nissen Bight and Eric Lake; pit toilets are
provided. Campers are urged to camp on the beach whenever possible to minimize
damage to the fragile environment.
Camping Pads at
Eric Lake Campsite, Cape Scott
A backcountry fee for overnight camping is in place from May to September. Self-registration
vaults are located at the San Josef River boat launch and trailhead. If you should
choose to erect a temporary shelter from the elements, please dismantle it entirely
when you are through with it and return the site to its natural state so that
others may enjoy the surroundings as you have.
are no designated swimming areas at Cape Scott Provincial Park, however the beaches
at Nels Bight and San Josef Bay are popular destinations for swimmers. Please
be aware of sometimes intense surf conditions and possible riptides. There are
NO LIFEGUARDS on duty at provincial parks.
Sea Stacks, San
Josef Bay, Cape Scott
Canoeing and kayaking are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in San Josef
Bay, where there is a BC Parks boat launch.
BC Parks' boat launch is accessed
via San Josef Heritage Park, but it is a BC Parks facility. It is for canoes/kayaks
and small car-toppers only. The San Josef River is tidal at this spot so don't
plan on using the launch at low tide or you may be hauling over gravel bars.
experienced kayakers can make the trip from Port Hardy and around the Cape, finishing
in Winter Harbour or Coal Harbour. San Josef Bay has also become a popular spot
for surf kayaking, particularly in the spring and fall when waves are larger.
are 2 small campgrounds just outside the park, each located less than a kilometre
from the trailhead parking lots. There are boat launching ramps for cartop boats
and canoes at both of these campgrounds.
Eric Lake, Cape
Scott Provincial Park
camping facilities are provided by the Regional District of Mount Waddington at
Quatse River Park near Port Hardy, and Kwaksistah Campsite at Winter Harbour.
Cape Scott Provincial Park is located on the extreme north western tip of Vancouver
Island. Hiking trails provide the only access into Cape Scott Provincial Park.
A parking lot is provided at the Cape Scott and San Josef Bay trailheads, near
the southeast corner of the park. Travel to the park from Port Hardy is via Holberg
on 67 kms of public highways and well-maintained gravel logging roads. Full amenities
are available at Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Holberg and Port Alice.
Scott Trail to Nissen Bight Cape
Scott Trail to Nissen Bight
||Glen Lyon Inn & Suites, Port Hardy
||Welcome to a waterfront Port Hardy hotel with modern deluxe hotel rooms and Banquet Rooms on beautiful Northern Vancouver Island. All rooms and suites face Hardy Bay, offering spectacular million-dollar views. From your balcony, watch the fish jumping at the mouth of the Glen Lyon River during spawning season, and listen to the ocean at night. Family restaurant and lounge. Near Port Hardy town centre, bus and ferry. Adjacent to Marina.
||North Shore Inn, Port Hardy
||North Shore Inn is located in downtown Port Hardy, at the northernmost end of Island Highway 19, two blocks from the bus terminal, a 7-minute drive from the Ferry Terminal (Prince Rupert/Inside Passage), and 10 minutes from the Airport. All rooms have an ocean view, and children under the age of 12 stay free when accompanied by adult. There's also a popular Japanese restaurant on the premises.
||Pioneer Inn & Riverside RV, Port Hardy
||Closest accommodation to the ferry terminal. The quiet, park-like setting across from Quatse River offers suites, rooms, and large two room kitchen units. Services include free local calls, complimentary in-room coffee, cable TV, and licenced dining room. The 25 RV sites offer full hookups, hydro, water, sewer, and cable. A laundry and dry room are available.
||RV, Camper & Trailer Rentals, Courtenay
||Rental of RVs, motor homes, travel trailers, tent trailers, truck campers, and utility car trailers on Vancouver Island. If you don't have a suitable towing vehicle, we offer delivery of rental trailers to various campsites so you can relax and meet your rental trailer at your chosen location. Located in Courtenay in the Comox Valley on Central Vancouver Island (Fly into Comox).