They lie on the edge of the province’s collective memory like a dream scarce remembered; mythical and elusive, full of meaning and great beauty, yet incomprehensible to the waking mind. Impossible not to marvel at, and revel in, these are the Queen Charlotte Islands, arguably one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the world. This group of islands nestled under the Alaska panhandle is the ancestral home of the Haida – the West Coast Aboriginals who have lived here for thousands of years.
The Queen Charlotte Islands were officially renamed Haida Gwaii in December 2009 as part of an historic reconciliation agreement between the Haida Nation and the province of British Columbia. Haida Gwaii was created as an alternative name for the islands to acknowledge the history of the Haida Nation. The name Haida Gwaii translates as “islands of the people” in the Haida language.
Two Islands, Graham Island to the north and Moresby Island to the south, comprise the majority of the land mass. Graham Island is defined by far-reaching beaches along its east side and a rocky, inlet-studded west coast; wilder Moresby Island is home to rugged mountain ranges and some of Canada’s oldest cedar and spruce forests.
The Haida Gwaii islands are reached by a 6.5-hour BC Ferries ride from Prince Rupert. A 20-minute ferry ride connects Graham and Moresby islands and their communities. Scheduled airline service from Vancouver is also available as well as floatplane service from Prince Rupert. The islands’ commercial airport is near the community of Sandspit on Moresby Island.
Visitor Centres are located in Sandspit and Queen Charlotte City. Official visitor guides are available at both, as are brochures for individual businesses. The islands are busy in the summer between May to September and many businesses reduce their hours or stop operating during the winter.
The climate here is mild, moderated by moist Pacific air throughout the year. The average annual temperature is 8ºC (46ºF).
For more information on the Queen Charlotte Islands visit Haida Gwaii.
Location: The Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) are located in British Columbia, Canada, west of the northern BC town of Prince Rupert. Two Islands, Graham Island to the north and Moresby Island to the south, comprise the majority of the land mass.
View map of the area
Circle Tours: See the best of Northern BC and Haida Gwaii on one of the Circle Tours that capture the wonders of the north. The Inside Passage Circle Tour and the Native Heritage Circle Tour include Haida Gwaii by catching a ferry from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands).
Circle Tours in British Columbia.