POPULATION: 805 (2011)
MUST DO: Find Devil’s Bath and Eternal Fountain Limestone Formations; Visit the Salmon Hatcheries
In 1917, 60 acres were cleared along Neroutsos Inlet on Quatsino Sound for a pulp mill and townsite to be called Port Alice. For nearly 50 years the village grew around the mill until, in 1965, it was completely rebuilt seven kilometers away on Rumble Beach.
British Columbia’s first ‘instant’ municipality is one of Northern Vancouver Island’s gateways to the wild and wonderful west coast. Known as the place ‘Where the Eagles Soar’, Port Alice offers the best for the outdoor enthusiast.
The village features one of the most challenging nine-hole golf courses on the island, a boat launch and yacht club. There’s scuba diving, great hiking, superb mountain climbing and lots of wilderness camping sites.
Being on the west coast of Vancouver Island, you can bet the fishing is great. In addition to the salmon in the Sound, there’s some great freshwater catches to be made. Two nearby lakes, Alice and Victoria, have some large rainbow, cutthroat and bull trout fishing. The lakes have recreation sites and boat launches.
Nearby rivers, such as the Caycuse and the Marble, offer summer and winter steelhead runs. Marble River, also a provincial park, offers hiking, and white-water kayaking. There’s another nearby provincial park, this one on Quatsino Sound.
For the caver, Devil’s Bath, Eternal Fountain and Vanishing River are within easy driving distance.
IF YOU GO
BY ROAD: From Port Hardy, take Hwy. 19 (the Island Highway) south. Turn right on the Port Alice turnoff. The distance is only 53 kilometers; however, the twisting Port Alice road will slow you down. From the south, take the Inland Island Highway north to where it connects with the Island Highway at Mud Bay. Continue north through Courtenay and Campbell River. At Campbell River, stay on the Island Highway (Hwy. 19), north to Port McNeill. Just north of Port McNeill you will find the Port Alice turnoff on the left. The 400-kilometer trip should take about seven hours.
BY AIR: Scheduled airline connections are out of Vancouver to Campbell River or Port Hardy. Floatplane service is also available.