Campbell River is the starting point to explore the spectacular Discovery Islands archipelago. Quadra Island, Cortes Island and the outer Discovery Islands offer a mix of beaches, coves, rocky headlands and countless areas that are best experienced from the seat of a kayak or canoe. If you’re a seasoned kayaker or canoe enthusiast there are plenty of areas in which you can self guide with ease, if you’re a beginner there are several kayaking outfitters in the area that make it easy for you to explore and get out on the water with a professional and experienced guide. If a canoe trip is what you’re after, there is no better place to go than Strathcona Lodge, where you can explore easily on your own, or book a guide who will take you out on a canoe excursion that it truly unique.
Although the maze of islands accessed from Campbell River can be a kayakers paradise, these islands experience high volumes of water at varying tides, with waters being forced through these small areas it can create standing waves and whirlpools, planning ahead is key. If you’re going out without a guide, plan ahead; making sure you have the proper gear and information, along with strong paddling skills that will ensure you make it though locations like Surge Narrows, Okisollo Channel, or the Seymour Narrows. While these areas would be for the experienced paddler, if your skills are less advanced you can enjoy calm, protected waters in areas like Rebecca Spit Provincial Marine Park on the east side of Quadra Island, or the small forested island and bare rockets inlets of the Brenton Islands.
Campbell River is home to one of the most extensive fresh water canoe routes on Vancouver Island. The Sayward Forest Canoe Route is a multi-day navigational challenge, covering 12 lakes and several portages along a 48km loop. This trip is not for the faint of heart, a trip of a life time and the bragging rights to say you did it!
For those that are looking for scenic day trips, you can put your canoe in at Upper Campbell Lake, McIvor Lake, or adventure further into the Strathcona Provincial Park and launch at Buttle Lake and other locations. If you’re looking for a day trip look into the Main Lake Provincial Park also known as Village Bay Lake routes on Quadra Island.
The options for fresh and salt water exploration options are abundant in the area, we encourage anyone planning a trip that is looking into water adventure to contact our Visitor Services team to find out more about kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, floating yoga, paddle tours and so much more. They will have the most current information to help you plan your next trip!