Numerous kayak operators lead tours through the Broken Group Islands – see listings on this page.
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.
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.
Paddling the Nitinat Triangle
The Nitinat Triangle is a wilderness area, heavily wooded with old-growth temperate rainforest. The portage trails are extremely rough, with massive fallen trees, steep banks and muddy, slippery footing. This trip is not recommended for novice paddlers. Paddlers must be totally self sufficient, competent and be able to handle any emergency situation. Familiarity with international distress signals is recommended in such a remote wilderness environment. Starting at the head of Nitinat Lake, a return trip should take approximately four or five days.
The Pacific Rim Explorer by Bruce Obee is a valuable reference on this canoe route along with the essential topographical maps 92C/15 (1:50 000) or the smaller scale map 92C/NE (1: 125 000). The maps are available from Maps BC in Victoria, telephone 250-387-144.
There is logging road access from Duncan via Cowichan Lake to the head of Nitinat Lake. The nearest boat launch is at Knob Point, located on the northwest side of the lake.
All paddlers canoeing the Nitinat Triangle must register and obtain a free park use permit. Please contact Parks Canada in advance to make arrangements. Group size is limited to ten.
The most travelled route is a combination of canoe paddles and portages. Portage conditions are most difficult. Begin by portaging from Nitinat Lake to Hobiton Lake. Do not use the Hobiton River, as it is a salmon spawning stream that is permanently closed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Water levels along its length are erratic, and many obstructions prevent passage. Attempting to line a boat through shallows will damage spawning channels, and areas with water deep enough to paddle are congested with low-hanging vegetation and fallen logs.
The Hobiton Lake to Tsusiat Lake portage is approximately 1.61 km long, with a 400 metre bog in the middle. Considerable climbing under and over large fallen trees is required, with the occasional carry over logs about 2.5 m above the ground. The easiest system for overcoming the terrain is to portage your empty boat to the bog, return for your packs and transport them all the way to the other end. Then move the boat from the bog to the far lake.
The best camping locations are generally on the northwest sides of the lakes, at the mouths of creeks. The creeks are usually indicated by patches of alder or crabapple trees situated among larger conifers. Use a small stove. The fire hazard may be high enough to prohibit open fires. All campers are expected to practice low impact camping.
Note: The Map configuration of this area may suggest a circle route from Tsusiat Falls, into the Pacific and back to Nitinat Lake through Nitinat Narrows. This route is not recommended! Launching through breaking surf is dangerous and difficult to accomplish without soaking your gear or upsetting your boat and ego. The 6.4 km stretch to Nitinat Narrows is fully exposed to the open ocean, and is often foggy. The Narrows section is notoriously dangerous with fast-running tidal currents, eddies, and a history of fatalities.
Only authorized campers in possession of a West Coast Trail Use Permit may camp at Tsusiat Falls.
Nearby Regions & Towns:
Parks Canada – British Columbia
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: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit 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.
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Whether watching whales, dipping into Hot Springs Cove, or kayaking to a rainforest trail, people of all ages have enjoyed our excursions since 1986. We launch out of Tofino in Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, just minutes from Long Beach and Pacific Rim National Park. We look forward to welcoming you aboard for a Clayoquot Sound adventure by Remote Passages.
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.
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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.