A pretty seaside community located in a narrow inlet and surrounded by smooth, pebbled beaches, Maple Bay is one of the finest natural harbours on the West Coast of British Columbia, and bustles with marine activity all year round.
The sheltered haven of Maple Bay is situated halfway up Sansum Narrows, and separates Vancouver Island from Saltspring Island, the largest and nearest of the southern Gulf Islands.
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For panoramic views of Maple Bay and beyond, take to the trails in Maple Mountain Centennial Park. The park offers a wide range of trails for walkers and hikers, and range from 70 to 140 minutes. The Green Trail is easiest, the Orange Trail has a somewhat steep and rocky first half but then becomes an easy walk, and the Blue Trail has the best views but is very steep for much of the hike. The Pink Trail has the greatest elevation changes and is therefore the most demanding of the hikes.
Diving in the protected narrow inlet of Maple Bay is so good and so close to shore that the late Jacques Costeau considered it one of his favourite diving spots in the world!
Diving around Vancouver Island.
Marine Activities: A playground of sea activities, Maple Bay offers a snug haven for boaters and kayakers, and a great beach with clean changing rooms for swimmers – providing breathtaking scenery for all. The natural beach is wonderful for collecting shells and driftwood, and for exploring sealife.
Mount Tzouhalem: The 536-metre Mount Tzouhalem north of Genoa Bay has hiking and biking trails for all ages and levels of ability, including wonderful wildflowers and spectacular views. The moderate hiking trail follows the ridge of Mt. Tzouhalem, providing 180 degree views of Cowichan Bay and Duncan. You’ll be able to see Mt. Whymper, Mt. Prevost and the Malahat. Access to the trail is from the end of Khenipsen Road. The trailhead is passed the gate with the chain strung across.
Golf: Golfers have a few golf courses in the area to choose from; Cowichan Golf and Country Club in Duncan (20 minutes from Crofton), Duncan Meadows Golf Course (15 minutes from Crofton), Mount Brenton Golf Course in Chemainus (10 minutes from Crofton), and Arbutus Ridge Golf Club in nearby Cobble Hill. Vancouver Island Golf Vacations.
Fishing: Sansum Narrows and Maple Bay are excellent places to fish for salmon, sea bass, and cod. The better spots are Arbutus Point and Octupus Point, and Maxwell Point and Bold Bluff Point off Saltspring Island.
Quamichan Lake just 3 km west of Maple Bay offers year-round fishing. Access to this popular lake is off Maple Bay Road, via Trunk Road to Indian Road.
The Maple Bay Yacht Club in protected Bird’s Eye Cove, offers protected moorage with excellent facilities and a licensed lounge in a friendly rural setting. The yacht club enjoys reciprocal privileges with most yacht clubs of the Pacific North West.
Maple Bay Marina, in Bird’s Eye Cove at the extreme south end of Maple Bay, features a full chandlery, a restaurant and a pub. Over the past decade, Maple Bay Marina has established a well-deserved reputation for providing excellent service, value, and friendly atmosphere second to none.
Crofton Beach in Osborne Bay Regional Park, between Maple Bay and nearby Crofton, offers warm saltwater swimming to pass the time between bouts of picnicking. Follow the signs to Crofton and you’ll find the beach.
Events: Needless to say, boats and boating are a big part of life around here. In May, owners and fans of classic wooden boats gather for Maple Bay’s annual Wooden Boat Festival, and two months later, devotees of the Chris Craft brand of boats arrive en mass for the Chris Craft Rendezvous.
Nearby Crofton provides a ferry service to Vesuvius Bay on Salt Spring Island, the most visited of the Gulf Islands chain. Art galleries and craft studios are plentiful on Saltspring Island, along with an impressive selection of shops and restaurants. While a few of Saltspring’s attractions can be seen in a whirlwind two hour drive, a thorough exploration of Saltspring could take weeks. Allow at least a full day or more…the serene island offers a tranquil respite for solace-seeking travellers. You can continue your journey by catching a second ferry from Fulford Harbour to Swartz Bay (Victoria).
Visit Genoa Bay, a serene cluster of waterside homes with a full-service marina, art gallery, restaurant and Bed & Breakfasts, or take a side trip to the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery.
Only 10 minutes from Maple Bay is Duncan, the City of Totems, and home to the Quw’utsun’ Cultural & Conference Centre. You can learn all about the past, present and future of forestry at the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre.
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