POPULATION: 300 (2011)
MUST DO: Picnic at West Bay Park; Walk the the lovely Leiner River Estuary Trail down to the ocean.
This small community at the end of a gravel road north of Gold River attracts anybody looking for rugged outdoor adventure.
While all services are available, accommodations are limited. That hasn’t stopped people from visiting the village, 30 kilometers from Friendly Cove where, in 1778, Captain James Cook made contact with the Mowachaht Indians. Cook was the first European to set foot on what was to become British Columbia. Catch up all the local history at the village’s museum.
The area is rugged and the port town is perfect for exploration of Nootka Sound and nearby islands. You can deep sea fish for salmon, snapper, cod and halibut. You’ll always land something! The Sound is also very popular with scuba divers, canoers and kayakers. Serious hikers will want to explore Rugged Mountain, while nearby caves attract spelunkers. Guided tours can be arranged.
Beachcombers will lover the area, particularly West Bay Park. If you want to explore Nootka Sound, hop aboard the Uchuck III, a working vessel serving a number of nearby small communities. There’s hot springs in the area; however, you will have to charter a floatplane to access them.
Tahsis is also the finishing line for the annual Great Walk. In June, hundreds of people walk – some run! – the 63-kilometer grave road between Gold River and Tahsis. Billed as North America’s toughest walk, the fund-raising event attracts people from around the world vying for the coveted ‘Burning Boot’ certificate, signifying completion of the gruelling walk.
IF YOU GO
BY ROAD: From Port Hardy, take Hwy. 19 (the Island Highway) south to Campbell River. Turn right at the intersection with Hwy. 28 (the Gold River Hwy.) Once in Gold River, connect onto the gravel road. The trip from Port Hardy takes about seven or eight hours. From Nanaimo, take the Inland Island Highway north to where it connects with the Island Highway at Mud Bay. Continue north to Campbell River, where you will connect with Hwy. 28 (the Gold River Hwy.).
BY AIR: Scheduled airline connections are out of Vancouver to Campbell River or Port Hardy. Floatplane service is also available.