Gold River is located 89 km (55.5 miles) west of Campbell
River on Hwy 28. Situated on the edge of Strathcona Provincial
Park, the largest provincial park on Vancouver Island, Gold River
is an outdoor person's adventure paradise.
Chinook Salmon Fishing
Gold River's claim to fame is that for years it has been the most
consistent area on Vancouver Island for fishing the prized Chinook
salmon. Chinook, also referred to as Tyee or King salmon, range
upwards to 27 kilos (60 lb.) and offer you a real fishing challenge.
For other outdoor pursuits, the list includes hunting, caving, hiking,
kayaking, windsailing and scuba diving that are all excellent. But
the real recreational secret for you has to be the superb ocean
fishing found in Nootka Sound and outside of Tahsis Inlet. Besides
salmon, there are very abundant Halibut, Red Snapper, Ling and Rock
to Sea Drive'
To get to the fishing grounds by road you have to travel to on the
'Tree to Sea Drive.' In Gold River look for the 'Road to Adventure'
sign by the Info Centre, then take this beautiful trip towards Tahsis.
You'll travel across a gravel forest service road, officially called
the Head Bay Forest Road, through a temperate rainforest down to
the sea at Muchalat Inlet about 25 minutes away.
July to late August
The prime time to try and catch Chinook salmon is from early July
to late August. If you don't have a boat don't worry, there are
numerous guides who work out of Gold River offering various fishing
charters for all budget types.
If you're planning on staying near the fishing grounds near Nootka
Sound make sure you stay at Cougar Creek Campground. This forestry
campground is located off the Head Bay Forest Service Road (Tahsis
Road). Well-situated in the centre of Nootka Sound, Cougar Creek
offers you a great access point to launch your boat. Telephone (250)
Sometimes you might find that the Cougar Creek campsite is full,
so please try Moutcha Bay Marina, RV Park & Campground. The
facility is located at the head of Tlupana Inlet in Nootka Sound.
Moutcha Bay Marina offers guiding, eco-tourism, windsurfing and
a full-service RV Park, campground and marina.
Operated by the Cyr family since 1983 Nootka Island Lodge offers
accommodation and boat moorage along with your choice of salmon,
halibut and bottom fishing trips.
Gold River was fortunate in March of 2008 with the announcement
of a new green energy producer helped financed by the pop singer
Jewel. The Green Island Energy facility is housed in the old pulp
mill site and will burn wood bio-waste to produce electricity. Jewel
has been a leader in the promotion and production of clean energy
in both Alaska and British Columbia.
Capital of Canada'
The north part of Vancouver Island, all around Gold River, is part
of a geological creation called the Quatsino Formation. During transformation,
the uppermost geology of the Quatsino Formation ended up being mostly
made up of limestone. What was eventually created was a lot of caving
opportunities throughout Gold River, making it the 'Caving Capital
One set of caves that are close to Gold River are the Upana Caves.
To get to Upana Caves travel 18 km (11 miles) northwest on the 'Sea
to Tree' Drive (Head Bay Forest Road). Please carefully look for
and turn at Branch Road H-27. The parking lot for the Upana Caves
is located just as soon as you turn onto Branch Road H-27.
Forest Products (WFP)
If you are interested in the Upana Caves and other recreational
areas, please go to the Western Forest Products office in Gold River.
WFP produces a self-guided tour map of the Upana Caves as well as
a very valuable map showing all the WFP forest service roads on
For rock climbing there are Crest Creek Crags that are only 10 km
(6 miles) from Gold River in Strathcona Park. The crags found at
Crest Creek are good for all levels of rock climbing with access
to over 100 climbing routes.
Gold River also has a few good walks around the community. A favourite
walk is beside the Heber River Canyon. This trail has always been
well received for the nice viewpoints. Access to the trailhead for
the Heber River Trail is off the Matchlee Drive Bridge, Maquinna
Drive or the Ucona Road Bridge.
Viewpoint & Waterfall
If you follow Hwy 28 past Gold River, the road travels along Gold
River to the ocean at Muchalat Inlet. About halfway along is a stunning
view of the Gold River Canyon and a large waterfall at the Tsuxwin
Viewpoint. The Tsuxwin Viewpoint features a picnic site strategically
placed near the side of river cascading down a 600-foot drop.
Strathcona Provincial Park
To access Strathcona
Provincial Park from Gold River you have to turn towards White
Ridge Provincial Park. From here you'll drive on a required 4x4
backroad past Kunlin Lake plus a short hike into Donner Lake. From
here there are views of the 2,195 metre (7,201 feet) high Golden
Hinde, the highest mountain on Vancouver Island.
Ridge Provincial Park
In White Ridge Provincial Park you can find karst topography comprised
of white limestone surface outcrops found throughout the area. The
park is internationally known for its surface outcrops of brilliant
stone features offering lots of caving and rock-hounding opportunities.
For camping there are lots of places around Gold River for you to
stay. You can try the Peppercorn Trail Motel & RV Park on Mill
Road and the Lions Campground both on the Gold River. There are
also the Tuta Marina and Campground. Telephone: (250) 283-7550 and
the Yuquot Campground. Telephone: (250) 283-2015.
One favourite is the rustic forestry campsite at Muchalat Lake north-west
of Gold River on the forestry road to Woss. Here you can find a
boat launch, small dock and gravel beach on Muchalat Lake. There
is good swimming, waterskiing, windsurfing and fishing plus 20 large-size
campsites suitable for trailers.
Nicknamed the 'Gold River Run,' Hwy 28 goes from Campbell River
to Gold River travelling through Strathcona Park. This highway is
pure heaven with Vancouver Island's best section of curves, straight
sections and beautiful mountain scenery along Upper Campbell Lake
making an excellent trip, especially if you love motorcycle riding.
To service the various coastal communities on the West Coast of
Vancouver Island, the M.V. Uchuck III sails through Nootka
and Kyoquot Sounds. The M.V. Uchuck III offers a weekly service
from Gold River to Zeballos with stops
along the way at Tahsis and Friendly Cove throughout the summer
months and will give you a-close look at BC's West Coast.
Referred to as 'North America's Toughest Pledge Walk' the Great
Walk brings out young and old from all over Canada and the USA to
help raise money for various charities on Vancouver Island. Sponsored
by the Tahsis Lions Club, the Great Walk is a pledged walk that
goes from Gold River to Tahsis - a distance of around 63.5 km (40
Just a reminder, the countryside around Gold River is quite remote
so be prepared for any hazard or possible dangerous situations.
Please practice good wildlife and environmental habits, pack out
what you pack in, plus be very bear and cougar aware.
on Gold River