- Howe Sound Campsites
- Sea to Sky Video
- Concept Plan
- Provincial Parks
- HS Map
The Sea to Sky Marine Trail is part of two major trails networks in BC and Canada: The TransCanada Trail and the BC Marine Trails Network. In June 2015 the new trail was officially opened. This included six new campsites (still under partial construction). There are also several access points to the trail and new signage to encourage paddlers to experience this increasingly popular outdoor recreational area. Three existing provincial parks and a regional park are also part of the trail system.
Many members of BC Marine Trails Network Association and Sea Kayak Association of BC have worked on this project, surveying sites and clearing and preparing the landings and camping areas.
You can find information on the campsites by searching the BC Marine Trails map. By typing in one of the new recreational site names (i.e. Zorro Bay) or a name of a provincial park in the map search box you can access campsite information. Check the for local tourism activities.
Howe Sound Campsites
There are six new recreational sites that have been established in Howe Sound. Our BC Marine Trails map will provide similar or more information on each site. Click on the site links below:
Sea to Sky Video
Steve, the Sea to Sky Marine Trail site steward, created this video to give readers a great on-site view of Howe Sound, launch sites, and campsites. Steve is a director of the BC Marine Trails and a member of the Sea Kayak Association of BC.
BCMTN Map Disclaimer: The accuracy of the information provided on this site is not guaranteed. The information may be incomplete or incorrect. It is not intended as a substitute for detailed official Canadian marine navigation charts or other authorized maps and guides. Paddlers should seek information and advice from as many sources as possible, especially before departing for an unfamiliar paddling area.
Ocean paddling is a high-risk activity requiring skill and judgment. Weather and sea conditions are constantly changing. Even with the highest level of experience, it is not always possible to identify or control all risks and the potential for injury or loss of life cannot be eliminated. There are many uncontrolled hazards on foreshores and in rough coastal terrain that could result in serious personal injury.
Users of the information presented on this site assume all the risks associated with its use.
The concept of the Sea to Sky Marine Trail network started with the need to connect the Sea to Sky Trail land route’s southern terminus in Squamish with the Trans Canada Trail in West Vancouver. Developing a connecting land route to Sea to Sky Trail standards was too hard as the east side of Howe Sound is mostly cliffs over water with the railway and Highway 99 dominating the lowest elevations. The Howe Sound Crest Trail was felt to be too strenuous,being almost mountaineering. The obvious alternative was a water route.
As the concept evolved it became apparent that this was much more than just a solution of convenience. For many years recreational use of Howe Sound waterways has been much less than other local bodies of water. The pollution from some specific sources such as the Britannia mine site, the Woodfibre pulp mill and the chemical plant in Squamish had contaminated the waters to a serious extent. As these sources have been largely addressed, the ecosystem began to rebound. The presence of pods of dolphins, grey whales and orcas highlight the recovering health of the marine environment.
This created the opportunity to develop a major new recreational amenity right in Vancouver’s back yard.
A Marine Trail is not a single linear route but rather a network of options. Canoe and kayak travel is slow and Howe Sound is very big. With paddling speeds of four to eight kilometres per hour (or slower with strong headwinds) the journey the length of the Sound is a multi-day event, so a paddler needs somewhere secure to spend a few nights. For years, there were only three water-accessible official public camping sites: Halkett Bay Marine Provincial Park on Gambier Island, Plumper Cove Marine Provincial Park on Keats Island and Porteau Cove Provincial Park on the eastern shoreline.The most crucial task was to create new water accessible campsites located within a reasonable distance of each other. Months of field research, supported by the SLRD, Recreation Sites & Trails BC and the BC Marine Trails Network Association, identified several potential sites. Following the checking and inventory of the campsites, Recreation Sites and Trails BC took the lead on securing them with official Recreation Siie status.
by the late Gordon McKeever, Sea to Sky Project Manager for Trans Canada Trails
Local Tourism Links:
1. Tourism Squamish: Water Activities
2. Tourism Bowen Island: What to Do on Bowen Island
There are six recreational campsites and three provincial campsites on the Sea to Sky Trail, currently. The three provincial sites are Halkett Bay Marine Provincial Park, Plumper Cove Marine Provincial Park and Porteau Cove Provincial Park. Please view more information on this BCMTNA page.
The BC Marine Trails Network Association is a 'Leave No Trace Canada' member and abides by the principles set out. Please visit the LNT website to review principles for outdoor ethics. Some examples of LNT principles for paddlers are:
- Camp on a durable surface.
- Pack out what you pack in. "Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter." (LNT website - see link above)
- "Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 15 to 20 centimeters deep at least 70 meters from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished." (LNT website)
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 70 meters away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Minimize campfire impacts. We are not advocating fires in the Howe Sound campsites.
- Respect wildlife. Stay a good distrance from wildlife.
The Sea to Sky Marine Trail is a multi-jurisdictional project. There are at least ten significant stakeholders, mostly provincial, regional or local governments and many other interests throughout the network.
The major Stakeholders include:
• Recreation Sites and Trails BC – six new Recreation Sites
• BC Parks – Halkett Bay, Porteau Cove and Plumper Cove Provincial Parks
• Squamish Nation
• Squamish-Lillooet Regional District – Area D – Two Recreation Sites along the northwestern shore of Howe Sound
• Sunshine Cost Regional District – Area F – Five Recreation Sites along the western shore
of Howe Sound and Gambier Island and one major park - Sir Thomas Lipton at the hed of Gambier Island's West Bay, also McNair Creek access point
• District of West Vancouver– Horseshoe Bay access point
• District of Squamish– Oceanfront access point
• Town of Gibsons– access point
• Bowen Island – Snug Harbour access point
• Trans Canada Trail Foundation– this Marine Trail is part of their national project. Read more about the Sea to Sky Trail on a BCMTNA blog article.
• BC Marine Trail Network Association- this Marine Trail is part of their coast-wide project. BCMTNA volunteers/directors have contributed significantly towards surveying, ground checking all parts of Howe Sound's coastlines, including the seven recreational sites. They are also involved with site deveoplment and stewardship (i.e. clearing of boat runs, levelling of tent of sites, signage, etc.) of the seven sites. They have agreed to host Sea to Sky Trail information on their website.