Land and Water Activities
Vancouver Island North offers access to lush forests, lakes, waterfalls and spectacular ocean views – there’s an abundance and wide range of trails for hiking levels to be explored. You can check out local Visitor Centres for hiking options close to communities, visit Vancouver Island North Tourism’s website for more information, or download the North Island Trail Guide found here North Island Trail Guide for ideas.
Fishing and Hunting
Fishing is synonymous with Vancouver Island North. Port Hardy is one of the biggest offload ports of commercially caught fish in the province, and recreational fishers can target all five species of salmon and a healthy ground-fish population that includes halibut, snapper, and various cod. River and lake fishing is also abundant, with trout and steelhead being the predominant and prized freshwater catches.
There is also an avid hunting community, and the local sports clubs can provide insight and guidance into these activities.
Vancouver Island North is a wildlife enthusiasts playground!
The communities are surrounded in an abundance marine life ranging from seals to whales and land animals like black bears and birds of prey.
The annual Herring and Salmon run that visits these waters every year draw out apex creatures – from Orcas to Humpback Whales, Grizzly and Black Bears, in the region you can easily view the wildlife that makes the area world famous. There is cutting edge research being done here, or you can visit the Whale Interpretive Centre in Telegraph Cove to learn more about ecology in the region.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding are a well-kept secret of Vancouver Island’s locals. Higher elevations receive large volumes of snow and provide some excellent skiing and snowboarding options. The locals like to joke “Mount Cain sucks! Tell your friends!”
Mount Cain is located a 50 minute drive south of Port McNeill and provides the highest altitude for skiing on the Island.
Mount Washington located two hours south is Vancouver Island’s largest resort an accumulates and average of 11.5 m of snow per year.
If you aren’t interested in downhill, both resorts boast excellent cross country skiing, snowshoeing and social activities.
Boating, kayaking, scuba diving, paddleboarding, kiteboarding, surfing… Vancouver Island North is surrounded by the pristine Pacific Ocean and the recreational opportunities are endless. Because of the expansive area and low population, there is room to explore.
Federal, municipal and private marinas dot Northern Vancouver Island communities. See community listings for information!
There are many local routes for safe kayaking by novice and experienced paddlers around the north Island, but we’d definitely recommend checking out Telegraph Cove. North Island Kayak Rentals & Instruction is a great resource for those needing equipment or lessons.
Vancouver Island North offers incredible scuba diving opportunities. A number of clubs can be found around Vancouver Island North including SunFun Divers & Teaching, God’s Pocket Dive Resort and Top Island Econaughts.
PaddleBoarding, Kite boarding, Windsurfing:
Excellent locations for these activities include: Storey’s Beach, Nimpkish Lake, Nimpkish Camp, McNeill Bay.
Backcountry and Wilderness Access
The Vancouver Island North region offers some of the most open access to back country areas on Vancouver Island. There are logging and public access roads to explore throughout the region, as well as many provincial and regional parks, trails and beaches. Western Forest Products has published a map of the North Island Forest Operations roads for public use.