The Broken Group is known internationally for awesome kayaking and wilderness camping enjoyed by organized adventurers seeking escape to the remote and desolate islands within the park. Natural features of this tranquil group of islands include lagoons, sandbars, blowholes, arches and secluded anchorages. Ancient native middens, village fortifications, stone fishtraps and archaeological sites stimulate the imagination of visitors to this traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth people.
Kayakers usually begin their exploration at Gibraltar Island and make their way through the chain, stopping at campsites on Gilbert, Clarke, Turret, Willis, and Hand Islands. All of these sites are easily reached within a day’s paddle (or less) of each other. Camping is also allowed on Gibraltar Island and Dodd Island. The larger of the forested islands are Effingham, Turret, Turtle, Dodd, Jacques, Nettle and Gibraltar Island.
Camping was discontinued on Benson Island in May 2009 out of respect for its cultural significance. Archaeological research dates traditional use of Benson Island for over 5,000 years. Tseshaht First Nation’s oral traditions name this site as their origin place where the first Tseshaht man (Naasiya’atu) and woman (Naasayilhim) were created. It became the site of their principal village of Ts’ishaa. It is from this village that the Tseshaht derive their name, as Tseshaht literally means “people of Ts’ishaa”. Visitors are encouraged to visit Benson Island during the day and return to designated campsites for the night.
Numerous kayak operators lead tours through the Broken Group Islands – see Premier Listings below. Canoe and kayak access to the Broken Group Islands from Bamfield or Ucluelet is not recommended due to the exposed passages. Boaters and ocean paddlers can access the Broken Group Islands via Toquart Bay in northwest Barkley Sound. The unsigned road turnoff is located about 12 km northeast of the junction of Highway 4 and the Tofino-Ucluelet Highway.
A BC recreation campsite is located at Toquart Bay on the North side of Barkley Sound providing a boat launch for access to the islands. The popular Torquart Bay Recreation Campsite sees a lot of traffic from kayakers heading over to the Broken Islands. There are about 15 oceanside open tent sites, as well as RV areas, a cement boat launch, and lovely south-facing sand beaches. There is a parking fee for those who wish to park at the site but not camp there. From Port Alberni follow the Pacific Rim Highway 4 for about 50 miles (80 kms). Turn left at the sign for Torquart Bay on to the Maggie Lake Forest Service Road and follow it for 15.5 km.
The MV Frances Barkley will transport paddlers, kayaks and canoes to Sechart, on the fringe of the Broken Group Islands. The passenger and cargo vessel is based in Port Alberni, and travels between Port Alberni, the Broken Group Islands, and the fishing ports of Ucluelet and Bamfield during the spring, summer and fall. In the course of a day’s trip the sturdy wooden packet freighter drops mail, groceries, supplies, and the occasional passenger along the way at float homes and the Sechart Whaling Station. If you must visit here in July and August, be sure to reserve space for your kayak or canoe on deck well in advance.
At times you’ll definitely feel the motion of the ocean swells, but the better part of the journey through Barkley Sound is not exposed. The trip makes a pleasant outing in itself, or can be a link for paddlers to the Broken Group Islands.
Visitors should note that paddlers are increasingly being blamed for the trashiness around many of the more popular campsites. Except at the seven designated camping sites, garbage and toilet facilities are nonexistent, which should be a major consideration for visitors. Plan how you’re going to deal with these factors in advance of your journey here so as not to further tarnish an already dire situation.
Practice random acts of kindness by removing litter where you find it as well as packing out all of your own refuse. Consult books such as How to Shit in the Woods by Kathleen Meyer to learn new approaches to the delicate subject of backcountry hygiene. Consider adventuring here in any month other than July and August, particularly if you value solitude.
Location: Travel to the Broken Group Islands from Bamfield, Torquart Bay, Ucluelet or Port Alberni. The MV Frances Barkley is based in Port Alberni and serves Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands.
View map of the area
Majestic Ocean KayakingMajestic Ocean Kayaking
1167 Helen Road Ucluelet BC V0R 3A0 postalMailing Address: Box 287 Ucluelet BC V0R 3A0 homePhone: 250-726-2868homeFax: 250-726-2860workfaxToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
Kayak the Majestic West Coast waters of British Columbia. Our ecotourism adventures will take you to Barkley Sound, the Broken Group Islands, Pacific Rim National Park, Clayoquot Sound and the Deer Group Islands. We provide Part-day, Full-day, and Multi-day trips. Camp on pristine beaches, eat gourmet food, hike through dense rain forests, and learn about the rich variety of Pacific Coast seashore life. Rental kayaks available.
Whale’s Tail Guest SuitesWhale’s Tail Guest Suites
The Whale’s Tail Guest Suites are beautifully maintained, modern, private, clean, quiet and roomy travel apartments located in the ocean-front fishing village of Ucluelet. Full condo-style units with complete kitchens are provided with your choice of one, two and three-bedroom suites. The front desk is located one block north at the West Coast Motel on the Harbour, 279 Hemlock Street.
Cabins at Terrace BeachCabins at Terrace Beach
Enjoy a private beachfront cabin nestled in the clutches of a Pacific Rim rainforest, on the edge of the Wild Pacific Trail, where rugged shoreline meets the ferocious Pacific Ocean. Nature is everywhere, from huge expanses of sandy beaches, to intricate marine life in tidepools and giant cedars, hemlocks, and spruces. Located in Ucluelet at Terrace Beach, The Cabins is pet friendly.
Reef Point CottagesReef Point Cottages
The charming and cozy Reef Point Cottages are located in Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island offering an exciting, intimate and self-indulging experience for those who want to explore British Columbia’s most spectacular and natural landscape. Our accommodations include view and waterfront cottages with various sizes from studio to two bedrooms.
Terrace Beach ResortTerrace Beach Resort
Jason Priestley and family invite you to visit our secluded beachfront cabins in Ucluelet, nestled between the two main sections of Pacific Rim National Park – the Broken Group Islands to the south and Long Beach and Tofino to the north. Pet friendly Terrace Beach Resort connects to The Wild Pacific Trail. Outdoor hot tubs on the decks of several units.
Archipelago Wildlife CruisesArchipelago Wildlife Cruises
For an experience unlike any other, step aboard our luxurious 53-foot motor yacht, the “Raincoast Maiden”, to view whales, bears, sea lions, eagles and other wildlife in comfort. We offer a relaxing wildlife cruise with a personal touch. With a spacious cabin, washroom, comfortable seating inside and out, guests can sit back and take in the abundant wildlife and magical scenery with a taste of luxury. Truly a nature cruise of a different nature!
More than just wildlife viewing, our interpretive and very personal tours include a scenic cruise through the sheltered waters and breathtaking scenery of the Broken Group Islands and an optional gourmet meal while at anchor. Romantic Evening Cruises and Private Charters are also available. We will share our love and enthusiasm for the area and make your West Coast experience an unforgettable one.
Cameron Ocean AdventuresCameron Ocean Adventures
Cameron Ocean Adventures operates off the pristine Canadian shores of beautiful Ucluelet, home to Vancouver Island’s #1 trail, the Wild Pacific Trail. Cameron Ocean Adventures offers adventures in the waters of the Broken Group Islands and Barkley Sound in Pacific Rim National Park.
Experience first-class sport fishing for salmon and halibut, whale watching on the largest vessel in Ucluelet, and year-round custom charters with professional guides aboard clean, safe, luxury motor yachts that depart right from the convenient Ucluelet Harbour.
Join us for an experience you won’t forget.
Mills Landing Cottages & ChartersMills Landing Cottages & Charters
Mills Landing is a private oceanfront cottage resort located on the edge of Barkley Sound. Our cedar cottages are fully self-contained and very comfortable. Mills Landing offers accommodation, moorage, fishing charters, whale watching, nature adventures, and marine tours of the Broken Group Islands near Bamfield. Perfect for anglers wanting access to the best fishing on Vancouver Island, and for those looking to get away from it all.
Mills Landing ChartersMills Landing Charters
Mills Landing in Bamfield provides guests first class access to one of BC’s most beautiful, and productive fishing locations at an affordable price. Waterfront cedar cottages, premium fish processing, Grady Whites, Islander reels and the best in customer service keep our guests returning annually. Check us out once, chances are you’ll be back again!
Pachena Bay CampgroundPachena Bay Campground
Pachena Bay Campground is nestled in an old-growth rainforest next to an expansive, sandy beach that directly faces the open Pacific Ocean. The campground is at the mouth of the Pachena River, next to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations community of Anacla, and just 5 kilometres from the picturesque town of Bamfield.
Enjoy unparalleled wilderness adventures, go beachcombing on pristine shores, hike through old-growth rainforests, and watch soaring eagles and other local wildlife along the way. Enjoy some of the world’s best sportfishing, kayaking, diving or eco- and cultural tourism adventures. The campground has been smartly upgraded to welcome RVs and campers, as well as tenting.
Hello Nature Adventure ToursHello Nature Adventure Tours
Located in the quaint fishing village of Ucluelet, close to Barkley Sound, the Broken Group Islands, and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, our kayaking and hiking tours range from short half-day tours to week-long adventures. Whether you are an experienced or novice sea kayaker and/or hiker looking for a new and exciting adventure, or someone who is not really sure what the west coast of Vancouver Island is all about, we promise we will find the right experience for you.
Hello Nature Adventure Tours Video
Kayaking and hiking are great ways to explore the beautiful beaches, peaceful coves, offshore islands, wildlife and the native forests that make up our coastline. Participate at your own pace by sampling a half-day trip, full-day trip, or come on a guided overnight trip and allow us to take you to all of our favorite places.
Ucluelet CampgroundUcluelet Campground
Ucluelet Campground is located in the historical fishing village of Ucluelet, at the southern edge of the Pacific Rim National Park. The private campground offers 125 sites for tents, trailers and RVs, some with beautiful harbour and mountain views. Amenities include full-service, partial-hookup and no-service sites, clean shower and washroom facilities, fire rings, picnic tables, and water stations.