Category   Gold River Highway 28, Vancouver Island, BC
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Gold River Hwy 28

Highway 28 crosses and runs alongside the Elk River in Strathcona Provincial Park, BC
Highway 28 runs the width of central Vancouver Island, linking Campbell River on the east coast with Gold River and Nootka Sound on the west, including access to Strathcona Provincial Park in the middle.

The mountains and islands of central Vancouver Island have a mysterious sense about them, as if they're always trying to hide some secret. It's true: you do have to travel farther afield here in order to penetrate its cloud-laced valleys, coastal rain forest, and the open ocean waters of its two sounds, Nootka and Kyuquot.

Some of this landscape's mysteries lie tucked away inside the vaulted domes of underground caverns. Afloat in a sea kayak on an open sound, or deep inside the Quatsino cave system, be prepared to experience a blend of connectedness and jubilation, isolation and terror, when adventuring here. One thing is guaranteed: at the end of the day, you'll sleep well.

Highway 28 continues past the community of Gold River to the head of the Muchalat Inlet. The sheltered waters of Muchalat Inlet run like a long corridor through steep-sided fjords, where landing places are scarce. Once in Nootka Sound, however, a much more weather-beaten landscape begins to reveal itself. Bligh Island Marine Provincial Park (part of the Spanish Pilot Group) sits at the mouth of Muchalat Inlet.

The MV Uchuck III stops nearby at Friendly Cove (Kyuquot) or will drop off kayakers beside Bligh Island by prior arrangement. There's much to explore in this group of six islands, scattered where Muchalat Inlet converges with two adjacent inlets and their channels. The waters in this region can get choppy, so small craft must cross with care. Large Bligh Island is named for a much-maligned British Navy captain who sailed here with the equally well-known Captain Cook in 1788. A cairn at Resolute Cove on the southeast coast of the island commemorates the landing.

Many visitors to the west side of Vancouver Island may never have had the chance to boat in the wind, the rain, and the ever-rolling seas that characterize the world of the outside waters, as the open ocean here is often called. One of three freighters (or 'coasters') that ply the waters of Vancouver Island's Barkley, Nootka, and Kyuquot Sound is based in Gold River. Exploring the outside waters aboard the Uchuck III as the former World War II minesweeper makes a weekly two-day round-trip voyage to the fishing hamlet of Kyuquot can be an adventure.

For many passengers, particularly in storm season, the high (or low) point of the journey is the two-hour stretch each way spent tossing about on the open ocean waters between Port Eliza and Kyuquot. From the moment the 136-foot-long freighter leaves the dock in Gold River and begins its 10-hour journey the big question is whether your constitution can handle the rise-and-fall motion of the ship in high seas. (At such times it helps to remember that the word uchuck translates as healing waters).

Location: Highway 28 originates from Highway 19 just north of Campbell River and leads west for 57 miles (92 km) to Gold River. Highway 19 to the north of Campbell River leads to Port Hardy. Highways 19 and 19A lead south of Campbell River to Courtenay.

The following communities, parks and regions are accessible via High 28:

  • Campbell River
    The young and vibrant community of Campbell River on the east coast of central Vancouver Island is beautifully set between Strathcona Park to the west and the Discovery Islands to the east, a metropolitan town located on the frontier of a BC wilderness, inhabited by few people but many animals. Long known as the Salmon Capital of the World, Campbell River is a natural destination, in more ways than one.

  • Gold River Visitor Information Centre
    Gold River
    Carved from wilderness in the 1960s, the resource-based community of Gold River is located in central Vancouver Island, in the heart of historic British Columbia. This area is the traditional territory of the Mowachaht and Muchalaht people of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation. The name Gold River appears on maps dating back to 1871, after the Chinese took gold out of the area in the 1860s.
  • Tahsis
    The unspoiled coastal village of Tahsis is situated at the head of Tahsis Inlet, a deep fjord on the wild west coast of Vancouver Island that cuts northwards off Nootka Sound. With road access via Highway 28 and Gold River, Tahsis provides access to numerous wilderness hiking trails, some of the best ocean kayaking on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and world-class sportfishing, as massive runs of salmon migrate down the west of British Columbia.

  • Government Wharf at Muchalat Inlet
    Nootka Sound
    Steeped in history and surrounded by the natural beauty of the west coast of Vancouver Island, Nootka Sound is a paradise for sport anglers and outdoor adventurers seeking to explore and enjoy the magnificent wilderness. The mountains and islands of north and central Vancouver Island seem mysterious, as if they're always trying to hide some secret.

    Nootka Sound is reached via Tahsis on Tahsis Inlet, or from Muchalat Inlet at the western terminal of Highway 28. One mode of travel to ports in Nootka Sound and neighbouring Kyuquot Sound to the north is via the vessel MV Uchuck III, a working freighter based in Muchalat Inlet that provides year-round passenger and freight service.

  • Buttle Lake at Buttle Narrows, Highway 28
    Strathcona Provincial Park
    Strathcona Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in British Columbia, established in 1911. Located almost in the centre of Vancouver Island, Strathcona Park is a rugged mountain wilderness comprising more than 250,000 hectares. Mountain peaks dominate the park, and lakes and alpine tarns dot a landscape laced with rivers, creeks and streams.

    The Buttle Lake and Forbidden Plateau areas offer a variety of outdoor activities, while the rest of the park is largely undeveloped and appeals primarily to those seeking wilderness surroundings. Highway 28 passes right through Strathcona, providing excellent access to the hiking trails and campgrounds in the Buttle Lake area (Buttle Lake Campground and Ralph River Campground). A day-trip to Strathcona gets you into a natural wonderland of vast forests, great lakes, alpine meadows and challenging peaks.

Search Premier Listings
  Reel Obsession Sportfishing, Victoria Listing Details 
Reel Obsession Sport Fishing Charters offers year-round, world-class, fully guided BC salmon and halibut sport fishing charters on Vancouver Island on the west coast of British Columbia, fishing Zeballos, Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet, and Victoria. We offer a variety of charter fishing packages and are quite flexible in customizing your charter fishing experience to suit your needs. Our west coast Lodge produces great fishing all summer long.
  Spirit of the West Kayaking, Quadra Island Listing Details 
Join our sea kayaking adventures around Vancouver Island, Canada's coastal kayaking paradise. Kayak with Killer Whales, paddle Desolation Sound, experience the remote north Nootka Sound, or kayak from the comfort of our 95 ft Mothership, the Songhee. Our sea kayaking trips depart from our base on Quadra Island in the BC Discovery Islands. No experience is required for our kayak tours! Our adventures are for everyone. Our trips are designed to cater to all levels of experience and abilities. Our groups are small, ranging from 8-13 people depending on the trip, in order to provide you with the best experience possible. we provide everything you need to have a great kayaking adventure.
  Strathcona Park Lodge, Campbell River Listing Details 
Guests are drawn from around the world by the lifestyle at Strathcona Park Lodge and the irresistible scenery, wildlife, and opportunities for adventure that begin on our doorstep. We have comfortable, rustic accommodation, delicious buffet meals, kayaks and canoes for rent, and lots of friendly, knowledgeable instructors. We offer guiding in rock climbing, canoeing, whitewater and sea kayaking. Enjoy our backcountry adventures in beautiful Strathcona Provincial Park; alpine hiking, backpacking, mountaineering and camping.
  BC Oceanfront: Ed Handja & Shelley McKay, Campbell River Listing Details 
Live, Work & Play Coastal Style
“BC Oceanfront” - Coast Realty’s Residential and Coastal Experts specializing in selling local residential, recreational, unique oceanfront and commercial real estate throughout Vancouver Island, Discovery Islands, the Outer Islands and the BC Mainland Coast. From homes to small oceanfront recreational lots, lakefront, remote island acreages, private islands and resorts – BCO has the Coast covered!
  Discovery Marine Safaris, Campbell River Listing Details 
Travel along stunning shorelines and inlets in search of killer whales, black bears, pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, seals, and magnificent bald eagles. Our tour boats feature an enclosed and heated cabin, two outdoor viewing decks, and an onboard washroom. Enjoy a Romantic Sun Set Cruise, or embark on our Grizzly Bear Viewing Excursion and observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat far away from human civilization.
  Gold River Chalet, Gold River Listing Details 
Gold River Chalet offers the finest motel accommodation in Gold River, Strathcona Provincial Park and Historical Nootka Sound! Located in the heart of downtown Gold River, Gold River Chalet is nestled in a picturesque mountainous natural setting, yet is close to community facilities. Ample space for boat, truck and RV parking.
  Nootka Marine Adventures, Nootka Sound Listing Details 
Nootka Marine Adventures operates the floating Nootka Sound Resort, moored in idyllic Galiano Bay off Tlupana Inlet, and Moutcha Bay Resort, at the mouth of the Conuma River. Both resorts are located in the heart of the beautiful, sheltered Nootka Sound on the magnificent west coast of Vancouver Island. These all-inclusive resorts offer accommodation, gourmet meals and boat moorage along with your choice of salmon and halibut fishing charters, ecotours and wildlife viewing trips. Nootka Marine Adventures offers accommodations to anglers with private boats, anglers looking for rental boats, or fully-guided sport fishing charters and packages.
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