Located at the west end of Hwy 28, a scenic one-hour drive from Campbell River, Gold River shines between the Gold and Heber Rivers that flow into Nootka Sound. Originally created to support the logging industry, this relatively new community has seen its share of changes since 1965. Today, Gold River is better known as an amazing natural recreational paradise with its boundless opportunities for ocean adventures, hiking, caving, mountain biking, and historical exploration both around Gold River and on Nootka Island.
As a great starting point for a Nootka Sound adventure, the deep-sea dock, located at the terminus of the Gold River, is home port to the MV Uchuck III, seaplane services, water taxi services, and the launch point for kayak and sports fishing enthusiasts. Gold River is a recognized gateway to some of the most varied and plentiful fishing grounds on the west coast of Canada.
One of the main attractions down at the dock is the historic MV Uchuck III, a converted US minesweeper, that offers regularly scheduled excursions to remote communities throughout Nootka Sound and along the seemingly impossibly rugged West Coast.
A popular destination for visitors to this area is the Village of Yuquot (Friendly Cove), on nearby Nootka Island. Now a National Historic Site, it was where English explorer Captain James Cook first landed on the Pacific Coast in 1778, and traded with the Mowachaht people. Later, the Spanish arrived and built a fort near the village. Many artifacts from these times have been collected and displayed by local First Nations. There’s an interpretive centre in the old church, along with an extensive trail system that helps visitors understand the historical significance of Yuquot.
Gold River continues to impress fishermen with consistently large and lengthy runs of Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, and Chum Salmon. Anglers and kayakers can enjoy the sheltered waters of Nootka Sound or venture off-shore for truly wild, west coast, fishing or marine wildlife adventure.
On land, boundless opportunities also exist for wildlife viewing as whales, black bears, eagles and elk thrive in this pristine Canadian wilderness and the area’s warm summers inspire camping, kayaking and hiking in the bordering Strathcona Provincial Park and Gold Muchalat Provincial Park.
Each year, hundreds of new visitors discover why the North Central Island is considered ‘The Cave Capital of Canada’. 17 kilometres from Gold River, the Upana Caves are easily accessible and offer novices a safe, self-guided introduction to the sport of spelunking. They are celebrated as the deepest caves north of Mexico.
Whether you are seeking a day-trip or longer excursion, there is plenty to do in and around Gold River.