An exceptional wilderness trip worthy of this wild West Coast jewel
Unique ecology and wildlife, wind-battered beaches, a sense of seclusion – there’s a reason that Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) has been called Canada’s Galapagos.
And while its spectacular coastlines and moss-carpeted rainforests impress, it’s the islands’ culture and history that inspire.
Mythical and mesmerizing, a trip to this wild western jewel is made even more special when experienced in the sea and on the land. Our wilderness camping kayaking tours have been transporting tourists through a magical journey into the heart of Haida Gwaii for more than a quarter century. For experiences unlike any other that are sure to be remembered for a lifetime, let us lead the way.
Why Haida Gwaii?
Located 80 miles off Canada’s extreme northwest coast, the islands that make up Haida Gwaii are an archipelago separated from British Columbia by Hecate Strait. Consisting of two large main islands: Graham (Kis Gwaii) in the north and Moresby Island (Gwaii Haanas) in the south, along with approximately 150 smaller islands, the name Haida Gwaii means “Islands of the Haida people.” The Haida are an indigenous people with a formidable sea-going lineage and a remarkable artistic tradition.
We run our kayak tours in the remote southern portion of Gwaii Haanas National Park, a reserve founded to protect the natural and cultural integrity of the area. Internationally renowned for its beauty, the park itself is extremely well managed in terms of quality of visitor experience and has won acclaim from the likes of National Geographic and Outside Magazine. And UNESCO has declared the village of SGang Gwaay (Skung Gwaii) with its intact totem poles a World Heritage Site.
And why take it in by kayak and tent?
Accessible only by sea kayak, boat or chartered plane, few places in the world offer such an exquisite blend of landscape, cultural history and wildlife. Gwaii Haanas is genuinely a place of wonder. And what better way to experience it than from the water?
There’s little that compares to viewing wildlife from your own self-powered craft. Watch sea lions lounging on rocky haul-outs. Glance overhead and catch gulls, petrels and tufted puffins perching on cliffs. Share the channels and straits with passing humpbacks and orcas as they slip through the waters. And glide through tidal shallows scattered with brightly colored sea stars and teaming with submarine life.
Then, let the waves push you ashore and camp along the beaches where generations of Haida paddlers have landed their magnificent cedar canoes. The power and history that surrounds your tent is palpable.
Expect the best with Tofino Expeditions’ Haida Gwaii Kayaking Tour
Timed for the best weather, our multi-day paddling trips are structured as a journey between what we feel are the two most compelling features of the Park: the tapestry of brightly colored sea stars at Burnaby Narrows, the highest density of intertidal life on the planet; and the awe-inspiring standing totem poles at the Skung Gwaii village.
As one of the most experienced kayak guide teams working in the Gwaii Haanas, we know the park in a way few paddlers do, so, rest assured, you’ll travel the Islands in style. All our trips are run with tandem expedition kayaks because their added speed (at least 25% faster than singles) and stability ensure safety, comfort and route success.
As noted, this is a wildness trip; there are no facilities in the park. We use the finest camping equipment available as we stay at various spots selected for their beauty and accessibility. Two guests share one of our four-season, three-person mountaineering tents, so there is plenty of space – not to mention campsite views to rival any in the world.
And each day your guides will surprise, delight and energize you with freshly prepared meals that embody Tofino Expeditions’ reputation for high-quality trip food and campfire cuisine.
Haida Gwaii is something that must be experienced in person. From the awesome grandeur of the Sitkas and cedars and the similarly wonderous miniscule marine life peeking out from submerged rocks to the uniqueness of the area’s quality of light, your senses will be dazed and amazed. Like stepping inside an Emily Carr painting, it truly is a magical world of its own.
Come experience the majesty of Haida Gwaii for yourself.
Please visit our website for further details about our Haida Gwaii kayaking tour, including a general itinerary. And make sure to have a look at our new online catalog, where you’ll find plenty of inspiring images and info about this and other destinations.
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