By seaplane; Direct flights to Manson’s Landing on Cortes Island are available during the summer months from Vancouver (1 hr) and Seattle (2 hrs). By airplane; Air Canada runs daily flights to Campbell River (on Vancouver Island) and Powell River (on the mainland) from Vancouver and Seattle. From Campbell River airport, take the airport shuttle service to the ferry terminal in downtown Campbell River. From the Powell River Airport take a shuttle to Lund and then a water taxi to Cortes. You must make arrangements in advance for this service. Pacific Coastal Airlines also flies from the Vancouver Airport South Terminal to Campbell River.
Arts: Cortes Island is a community rich in arts and culture. Crafts stores and galleries offer drawings, paintings and sculptures by local artists. Pick up a copy of the Cortes Arts & Culture Lane brochure from island outlets; a visitor guide to Galleries, Museums and Studios on Cortes Island.
Cortes Island Museum, on Beasley Road next to the firehall, provides a fascinating glimpse into the cultural and natural history of Whaletown and the surrounding area. Varied displays include Windows on Whaletown and the work of naturalist and author Gilean Douglas. The museum is open from late spring until early fall.
Spawning Salmon: Several streams on Cortes Island are the spawning grounds of Chum salmon. They can be viewed in the Gorge Channel and Squirrel Cove in November as they journey to the rivers of their birth to spawn and complete the circle of life.
Smelt: Thousands of smelt come to spawn on the southwestern tip of the island in Smelt Bay Provincial Park. Smelts are a green-and-silver, sardine-sized fish that frequent these waters in huge numbers and attract salmon. Not difficult to net, they make a tasty meal.
Shellfish: There are numerous lagoons with abundant shellfish and shorebirds. Manson’s landing provincial Park is the most accessible, and shellfish may be legally collected here and at Smelt Bay, Squirrel cove and the beach south of the government wharf in the Gorge Harbour. Watch for posted signs, check the legal limits and keep away from oyster and clam leases, which are marked with red concrete blocks at their corners.
Berries: Cortes Island is a dream destination for berry picking. Blackberries, salal, huckleberries, salmonberries and thimbleberries abound on the island in season.
Boat Moorage: There’s a well-equipped marina in Gorge Harbour, and government wharves are maintained at Cortes Bay, Whaletown, Squirrel Cove, Mansons Landing and Gorge Harbour. Two yacht clubs supply member moorage at Cortes Bay. Quadra, Cortes and Redonda Islands provide a gateway to that sailing enchantment, Desolation Sound.
Fishing: Salmon Fishing in the region is legendary. The waters around Quadra and Cortes Islands have yielded some of the largest salmon ever caught on BC’s west coast. Although much of the activity is centred in nearby Campbell River on Vancouver Island, there’s plenty of action around Quadra and Cortes Islands. Spring salmon migrate from April through to September. Bluejacks and Coho salmon arrive in May, followed by Tyee in July, August and September. Charter boat operators are available for fishing or wildlife viewing excursions.
Freshwater Fishing: If the fish aren’t biting in the saltchuk (‘chuk’ is a Native word for water) just turn your attention to the fish in Hague Lake. The freshwater lake is partly incorporated in Manson’s Landing Provincial Park, a rarity in the Marine Provincial park system.
Outdoor Adventure: Hiking and Biking on old logging roads, many of which are overgrown, will take the adventuresome into seldom visited habitats. Carrington Bay and Von Donop Inlet provide a maze of trails, and Gunflint Lake and Hague Lake are surrounded mostly by parklands, with a series of marked trails at the end of Quais Bay Road and across the road from the Cortes Motel. When hiking on Cortes, please remember that most small roads lead to private residences, so take care when choosing your path.
Smelt Bay Provincial Park on the southwestern corner of the island provides a heavenly setting on this picturesque island, and your reward for going to the effort to reach Cortes Island is a great provincial park campground. Follow the island road 13 miles (21 km) from the ferry dock to the park, located near Manson’s Landing Provincial Park. For a great beach walk, head south to the tip of Sutil Point from Smelt Bay Park. Identify gulls, eagles, cormorants, herons and oystercatchers while you pick up treasured shells and driftwood along the shore. The multitude of sealife provides fine dining for humans … and seals, sea lions, seabirds and otters too.
Mansons Landing Provincial Park has blessed Cortes Island with a sublime picnic and fishing location. A wide, sandy beach beckons to those who just wish to spread a blanket beside the driftwood backrest and dig into the cooler. Manson’s Landing is a great place for paddling, swimming and sunbathing. Bring your own canoe or kayak, or rent one on the island.
Ha’thayim (Von Donop) Marine Provincial Park is a joint venture between the Klahoose First Nation band and BC Parks. The undeveloped marine wilderness protects saltwater lagoons, tidal passes and the old-growth forest Coast-Salish people call Ha’thayim. Von Donop Inlet is a long, narrow sheltered anchorage on the northwestern tip of Cortes Island, accessed only by private boat from Heriot Bay on Quadra and Whaletown on Cortes Island. Popular with cruising boats, wilderness camping is permitted, and opportunities for rugged hiking and exploration abound.
Hague Lake Regional Park on the eastern shore of Hague Lake has a sandy beach and is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Trail maps are available for hiking the trails through the stands of Douglas-fir, cedar and spruce.
Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park, the Galapagos of Georgia Strait, provides a local highlight with day tours to the island. Whether you go in your own boat or on one of the organized trips, you’ll experience the uncanny phenomenon for yourself. Mitlenatch is the summer home to a seabird colony of nearly 4,000 pairs of birds, the largest seabird colony in the Strait of Georgia.
Read Island Provincial Park on the southern tip of neighbouring Read Island protects old-growth and second-growth forest, bog and fertile lowlands, and variety of wildlife. Park visitors will find plenty to do, including kayaking, wilderness camping, scuba diving, and swimming in the ocean or in fresh water at Rosen Lake. Access from Whaletown or Manson’s Landing.
Desolation Sound, British Columbia’s most celebrated marine destination, borders on Cothe sound. Desolation Sound Marine Park possesses a magical magnetism that draws boaters and paddlers from distant shores. Most boaters congregate in popular anchorages at Prideaux Haven, Tenedos Bay, and Grace Harbour, but with a little more imagination you’ll find plenty of isolated bays and campsites throughout Desolation Sound’s more than 37 miles (60 km) of coastline. One of the prime attractions of these waters is their warmth in summer months, which makes them ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Boaters and paddlers will discover an environment nearer in spirit to the protected waters of the southern Strait of Georgia. What Desolation Sound provides that the southern Gulf Islands don’t is an astonishing breeding ground for shellfish, principally oysters. Whoever penned the time-honoured expression When the tide is out, the table is spread must have been inspired by these nutrient-rich waters.
Hollyhock: Canada’s leading Educational Retreat Centre is located on Cortes Island. Visit Hollyhock for a workshop, conference, retreat, or vacation, and taste island elixir… Gourmet vegetarian meals, naturalist guided walks, meditation and yoga, relaxing bodywork sessions, outdoor hot tubs, kayaking, sailing adventures, and more.
Quadra Island, to the west of Cortes, is the largest and most populated of the Discovery Islands. Quadra is a popular destination, best known for its natural and beautiful wilderness scenery, its excellent salmon and freshwater sportfishing, mild temperate climate, rural lifestyle, and friendly people.
Campbell River on Vancouver Island is the closest large community to Cortes Island, and the port of departure for the scenic 10-minute ferry ride to Quadra and the connecting ferry to Cortes. Campbell River is big, as Vancouver Island cities go, and hosts a busy arts and culture scene. Campbell River is located in a region rich in natural resources, with towering West Coast forests that have fostered a growing forestry industry and provide great scope for outdoor adventure.
Island Hopping: Travelling between the Southern Gulf Islands and Northern Gulf Islands can be accomplished in small hops. Each of these islands is a world unto itself, each with its own history, culture and colourful characters – each island deserves at least a day or two for exploring.
Campbell River Whale Watching & Adventure ToursCampbell River Whale Watching & Adventure Tours
1561 Galerno Road
Campbell River, BC
As Campbell River’s largest tour operator, we offer excursions on and off the water. With a spacious 14-passenger van, we run Guided Hikes, Winery, Distillery, and Brewery tours. We also have 7 marine vessels that include Zodiacs and covered boats, meaning we have something for all comfort levels!
Grizzly, Whale, and Wildlife tours are available ranging from 3 hours to a full day where you can expect to see Humpback Whales, Orca, Dolphins, Porpoise, Eagles, Sea Lions, Black Bears, and Grizzly Bears!
We are the only company on Northern Vancouver Island that is Carbon Neutral, and protecting the environment is something we deeply care about. For every guest that joins us, 1 square metre of old-growth forest is protected. Join us to create memories that last a lifetime! Boasting 6 consecutive years with a certificate of excellence, you can expect to have a fantastic experience with us!
Coast Mountain ExpeditionsCoast Mountain Expeditions
Kayaking Base: Quadra Island BC workMailing Address: Box 25 Read Island Surge Narrows BC V0P 1W0 workPhone: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
In 1987 we built our off-grid kayaking lodge in the Discovery Islands with a dream of crafting life-changing multi-day sea kayaking experiences. We still live where we paddle, and our passion for exploring our remote corner of British Columbia has only grown stronger.
Guided trips combine skills instruction, wilderness adventure, and meals prepared from our own garden produce, local sea foods, and home baking. Our kayaking tours explore sheltered routes amid marine parks, abundant wildlife, and rainforest islands – all with spectacular views of the highest peaks of the rugged Coast Mountains.
BC Oceanfront: Ed Handja Personal Real Estate Corporation & Shelley McKay Personal Real Estate CorporationBC Oceanfront: Ed Handja Personal Real Estate Corporation & Shelley McKay Personal Real Estate Corporation
ROYAL LEPAGE Advance Realty Campbell River 972 Shoppers Row Campbell River BC V9W 2C5 postalPhone: 250-286-3293homeFax: 250-286-1932workfaxToll Free: 1-888-286-1932workCell Phone: 1-250-287-0011 Ed CellcellCell Phone: 1-250-830-4435 Shelley Cellcelledhandja@bcoceanfront.comINTERNETVisit Website
Live, Work & Play Coastal Style
“BC Oceanfront” – ROYAL LEPAGE Advance Realty Campbell River’s Residential and Coastal Experts specializing in marketing and selling local residential, recreational, unique oceanfront and commercial real estate throughout Vancouver Island, Discovery Islands, the Outer Islands and the BC Mainland Coast. Our real estate listings include homes to small oceanfront and lakefront recreational lots, private islands, remote island acreages, fishing lodges, wilderness / adventure resorts and vacation homes, oceanfront / lakefront cabins, marinas, remote & timbered acreages, and development investment properties on the west coast of BC and Vancouver Island – BCO has the Coast covered!
As an experienced BC realtor, Ed Handja successfully markets and locates real estate on the British Columbia coast for his clients. He’s lived and worked on the coast all his life, traveling from Indian Arm and the Gulf Islands on the southern BC coast, to the Khutzeymateen Valley in the northern most part of British Columbia. Ed is familiar with the west coast of Canada and understands the logistics and considerations required when dealing with the remote and unconventional real estate on the islands and west coast of BC.
Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & VacationsWildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations
Wildcoast provides memorable kayak vacations for adventure travellers that combine spectacular scenery, scrumptious food, and abundant wildlife encounters, including whales, dolphins, bears and eagles. Kayak with Killer Whales at our Orca base camp in Johnstone Strait, or take one of our kayak expeditions to Desolation Sound or the Discovery Islands. Our top-rated service caters to both local and international clientele. All kayak tours are fully inclusive and no kayaking experience is required. Only have a day? Visit our storefront for paddleboard and kayak Rentals or Day Tours in the stunning vistas surrounding Quadra Island.