Beautiful British Columbia has so many amazing places to explore. From Tofino to the Okanagan, the Kootenays to the Cariboo and beyond, there are endless panoramic vistas to hike, bike and paddle to.
One section of BC that truly captivates adventurers is the Sunshine Coast. Aptly named, this sunny stretch of coastline just north of Vancouver is known for its warm, welcoming and artistic vibes. With the Salish Sea lapping at its shores and mountains blanketed in evergreens flanking its interior, the beauty of Desolation Sound (pictured above) and more—it’s no wonder this slice of heaven draws adventurers from across the country.
Here are our five favourite ways to get outside and explore the Sunshine Coast:
Sunshine Coast Tourism
For an epic multi-day trek, bring your hiking boots to the Sunshine Coast Trail, Canada’s longest hut-to-hut hiking trail. The entire 180-kilometre path stretches from Sarah Point at the northern end of Malaspina Peninsula to Saltery Bay in the south. Along the way, you’ll find unique flowers and plants such as orchards, manzanita and edible berries. Wildlife including black bears, sea lions and dolphins can be spotted from the trail. Most hikers set out on legs for two to six days and tuck into some the 14 available huts to sleep.
Camp Next to the Ocean Powell River Sea Kayak Ltd./Cabana Desolation Eco Resort
There are 16 provincial parks with campsites on the Sunshine Coast. If you want to wake up to water views, we suggest pitching a tent at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, which offers paddlers access to the Sechelt Inlet; Saltery Bay Provincial Park, where you can fish for salmon or cod; or Inland Lake Provincial Park, where you can swim and canoe. For those craving something more remote, the campground at Copeland Islands Marine Provincial Park, northwest of Lund, is only accessible by boat. And if you'd prefer a bit more comfort while still enjoying ocean views and serene nature—check out Cabana Desolation Eco Resort.
Bike the Coast
Competitive cyclers should head to Powell River for the two-day BC Bike Race. Families can tackle the inclusive Powell River Bike and Skate Park and trail riders will be enthralled by the Duck Lake Trails. If you’re in it for the long-haul, don’t be dismayed: the entire Sunshine Coast is a lofty 160-kilometre ride. Day-trippers can cycle through Gibsons, stop at the Friday Farmer’s Market and pedal north into Sechelt. Or, take three to five days to bike from Langdale to Skookumchuck Narrows on an epic multi-day adventure. There are plenty of places to camp, eat and drink along the way.
Kayak Until Dusk
Powell River Sea Kayak Ltd.
There’s a plethora of options for kayakers throughout the Sunshine Coast. Learn how to tackle the waves with Powell River Sea Kayak in Powell River, Sunshine Kayaking in Gibsons, Halfmoon Sea Kayaks in Sechelt or one of Alpha Adventures’ three locations. Pender Harbour’s peaceful, protected water makes a pleasant day trip, and you can rent kayaks on-site. Other kayakers flock to Sechelt for access to the Narrows, Sechelt and Salmon Inlets. And if you’re up for an overnight adventure, 11 tent-pad campsites in Desolation Sound offer marine access.
Canoe Through the Best Bits
If you crave an ambitious canoeing route, the Powell Forest Canoe Route should be on your adventure bucket list. This 57-kilometre route passes through eight lakes and includes five portages. Stunning coastal mountains, redcedar and Douglas-fir forests and fjord-like waters are well-worth the effort. Typically, paddlers put in at Lois Lake and travel counter-clockwise to Powell to avoid a steep uphill portage. However, it is certainly possible to travel clockwise as well. The route isn’t circular; it’s more shaped like a horseshoe. Most canoers take five days to complete this route and camp some of the 20 recreational campsites along the way. However, if you have a few extra days, spend them exploring the area on foot or add on a side-trip that doesn’t require any portages.
Discover more about the Sunshine Coast: sunshinecoastcanada.com
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