“The Broughton Archipelago is a magical area, and is a kayakers’ haven, with potential to spend weeks and weeks exploring its hidden charms. This part of the coastis dotted with hundreds of islands, creating an endless variety of passes and channels in which to explore. It is a place where you’ll definitely want to have your camera handy.
The Broughton Archipelago consists of a maze of islands and inlets that are located at the southern extremity of Queen Charlotte Strait. These waters are home to eagles, blue heron, and a multitude of sea birds, as well as mink, otter, seals, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins, orca, minke, and humpback whales.
Along the shore of this magnificent coastal rainforest you may also view raccoons, deer, wolf, cougars, grizzly and black bear feeding at the water’s edge.
The area is rich in First Nations history. There are many indications of their habitation and use of the area, including pictographs, beaches that are thousands of years old formed from shellfish middens, and camping areas, some of which you can camp at” (Quoted from Paddlers Inn, Broughton Archipelago)
Johnstone Strait is a 110 km channel along the mid to north east coast of Vancouver Island. Johnstone Strait gets some of its fame from the orcas that reside here during the summer months. One of the islands in the strait is Hanson. A small land based whale research station is located there. Companies, such as, Spirit of the West, which has a nearby base camp, also does trips to the station. Visitors land on a beach and hike up to a viewing station to observe the Killer Whales in action. Very interesting!
BC Marine Trails Resources
- The BCMTNA map is your primarily source of information for the Broughton Archipelago. Our sponsor – Paddlers Inn Broughton Archipelago – has a water taxi to transport you from Telegraph Cove and great accommodations in a prime location for paddling.
- Resources: A variety of resources to help you find or plan a paddling trip.
- One of our main sponsors in this area is the Paddlers Inn Broughton Archipelago. Their website has a wealth of ideas on paddling the Broughton Archipelago. Highly recommended!
- Spirit of the West Adventures has a base camp in the heart of Johnstone Strait. Their 6-day kayaking tour offers you to paddle one of the most amazing kayak routes in North America. We begin this tour from a remote lodge set in the Broughton Archipelago where we spend our first night. Or try our lite version or 4-day version of the same trip. Or come join us on a kayaking adventure of a lifetime. This four-day base camp style kayaking tour finds us in the heart of the Johnstone Strait in the realm of the killer whales. We begin this tour on Quadra Island and boat up to our private camp located directly across from the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve.
A Few Ideas
There are a number of ways to explore the Broughton Archipelago: independent paddling from campsite to campsite (or campsite to an Inn!), water taxi to a lodge/Inn or a guided trip with an outfitter. There are three main launch sites in the area: Telegraph Cove, Alert Bay, and Mitchell Bay (on Malcolm Island). There is also a launch in Port McNeill. Given the significant crossings and the winds in the area it’s recommended you are an experienced paddler (or part of an experienced group) or participate in a guided trip.
- Echo Bay – this is a Provincial Marine Park with 30 tent sites. It is also near the Paddlers Inn Broughton Archipelago (1.2 km as the crow flies). This community has a population of 3!
- Billy’s Museum - Bill Proctor is the oldest remaining member of the local community. He has spent his whole life in the area. Visit the museum from the Paddlers Inn Broughton Archipelago.
- Burwood Islands – Burwood Group north has eight tent sites.
- Benjamin Islands (a day trip from Paddlers Inn) - Paddling west from the lodge and along the north shore of Baker Island “this route” is quite protected and quiet. The Benjamins offer paddlers several island passages and seldom visited small beaches, as well as a view of Fife Sound which leads out to Queen Charlotte Strait. Possibility of seeing whales, dolphins, and porpoise. The return trip is about 22km / 5 hrs. Easy paddling.
- Spirit of the West Adventures has a base camp in Johnstone Strait. Kayak with the Orcas. Recommended by the BCMTNA webmaster, who has been on this trip!! I was very surprised when a pod of Killer Whales emerged from the kelp right in front of me, sitting on shore at the camp.
- Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park - Kayakers/canoeists have no designated areas. Check BC Marine Trails map for possible campsites.
Articles/Books for Broughton Archipelago
- The Wild Coast 3: A Kayaking, Hiking and Recreation Guide for BC's South Coast by John Kimantis