North of Saltery Bay on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Lang Bay is surrounded by small farms overlooking the Malaspina Strait.
Originally named Wolfson Bay after a German Consul, the name was changed to Lang Bay after the First World War, in honour of the three Lang brothers – Harry, Tom and Fred – local settlers who served in the Canadian army.
Miles of hiking trails lead to beautiful lookouts, waterfalls, peaceful lakes, and spectacular alpine hiking. All this in an area that lays claim to the mildest climate in Canada, where the sun shines each year for an average of 1,760 hours.
Location: Lang Bay is located on Highway 101 on the Sunshine Coast of BC, and is reached by scheduled air and bus services between Powell River and Vancouver, and by ferry from the Little River ferry terminal in Comox on Vancouver Island to Powell River. Lang Bay can also be reached from Vancouver in the south by catching a ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Langdale, driving from Langdale to Earls Cove on Highway 101, and catching another ferry from Earls Cove to Saltery Bay. Lang Bay is 8 miles (13 km) west of Saltery Bay on Highway 101.
On the west side of Lois River is a tiny reserve containing middens and fishing remains of the Coqueneets, a First Nations people devastated by a 1919 flu outbreak.
Visit Palm Beach Regional Park, known for its beautiful white sand beaches.
Salmon Spawn: Come fall, many of the streams that feed into Malaspina Strait teem with spawning salmon. Depending on the year and the spawning cycle, Lang Creek Hatchery and Spawning Channels will be thick with returning salmon. The best viewing is right next to the well-marked pullout on Hwy 101. As sure as salmon return to spawn in late summer, so too do raptors and bears follow. Although black bears in the Powell River region tend to frequent the backwoods logging roads, osprey and eagles, otters, and pine marten have no fear of approaching the coastline in search of carrion. Occasionally, even a black bear will put in an appearance. Every fall, eagles soar and swoop down Lang Creek, feeding on the glut of spawning chinook salmon.
Canoeing & Kayaking: Since it was completed in 1983, the Powell Forest Canoe Route has come to be recognized as one of the more significant paddle routes in the province, right up there with the Bowron Lakes Canoe Route in the Cariboos. The Powell Forest route can be done in small or big bites – portages and streams connect 12 lakes over 80km. The full-on trip requires five to seven days to complete and includes almost 7 miles (11 km) of portages. A shorter 7.75-mile (12.5-km) route takes three days and includes about 3 miles (5 km) of portages. Each lake has its own characteristics: some are deep, others are exposed to strong winds. Altogether, there are 20 campsites sprinkled along the route, good places to hole up while waiting out a blow.
Golf: Myrtle Point Golf Club on the shores of Malaspina Strait, five minutes south of Powell River, is surely one of Les Furber’s best design efforts. With a challenging course and spectacular views, the Par 72 layout can be stretched to over 6,900 yards. From the forward tees it comes in at just over 5,500 yards, while the white and blue tees are played at 5,900 and 6,400 yards respectively. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Fishing: The region’s year-round salmon fishing provides thrills for anglers of all ages. Charter boats abound in nearby Powell River, guided by captains experienced in finding the ideal fishing hole. Fishing for cutthroat trout is possible year-round in milder years, as waters in the area rarely experience a freeze in any but the coldest winters. One of the best places to begin is at any of the access points to the Powell Forest Canoe Route. In Lang Bay, some of the best ocean fishing is found in the Lang Creek Estuary. Beach casting is popular here for spring salmon from mid-September through late October. Owing to the shallow water of the creek’s outlet into Malaspina Strait, use lures that don’t sink quickly. If you use a spin rod, try spoons in a variety of colours to match the clarity of the water, with a light line. Salmon here are in the range of 20 to 50 pounds (9 to 23 kg).
Mountain Biking: The Upper Sunshine Coast area is well documented as having some of the best mountain biking trails in the province, most of which are clearly marked with a white mountain-bike symbol and double bands of various-coloured paints, making the routes a breeze to follow. The riding starts as soon as you get off the ferry at Saltery Bay, with the Elephant Bay Loop, a 30-mile (48-km) ride that will take you all day. Just follow the symbols. Except for a challenging ascent at the beginning, this is not a hard ride, but it is a long one. An area rife with trails is along Duck Lake Road, which joins Hwy 101 midway between Powell River and Lang Bay. To name all the trails would not do the area justice; to describe them all would take another website (or at least the better part of a site).
Recreation Sites: There are more Forest Service recreation sites concentrated around Powell River than in almost any other similar-sized area in British Columbia, which is a testament to the dozens of lakes in the area. Along forest roads north of Lang Bay, there’s camping at Lois Lake at the start of the Powell Forest Canoe Route, at Khartoum Lake, also on the canoe route, as well as at Nanton Lake and at Dodd Lake, both located on the Welwood Mainline Forest Road.
Hiking: The Sunshine Coast Trail stretches from the Saltery Bay ferry terminal in the south to Sarah Point in the world-famous Desolation Sound in the north. The 180-km trail rivals the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, offering panoramic views and wilderness campsites, while also providing access to developed campgrounds and two B&Bs for those who wish to spoil themselves after trekking through the forest.
More moderate hiking routes include the Lang Creek Trail (easy; 3 miles/5 km return) and Sweetwater Trail (moderate; 4.3 miles/7 km return). To reach the trailheads, turn north off Hwy 101 on the Duck Lake Forest Rd, which is about 4 miles (6 km) west of Lang Bay. The Lang Creek trailhead begins on the right side of the road in about 7 miles (11 km). To reach the Sweetwater Trail, carry on farther to Duck Lake, turn right over the bridge, and continue on for another 2 miles (3.2 km), then turn left and drive a short distance to the trailhead. The loop trail begins here and climbs through an enchanting stand of old-growth western hemlock past MacGregor Falls and returns along an old railbed.
Several hiking trails originate in the lake country north of nearby Powell River. You can walk through old-growth forest as you explore the landscape around Powell, Inland, and Confederation Lakes. The moderate, 7.4-mile (12-km) round-trip hike leads around Mount Mahoney to Confederation Lake and will take the better part of a day to complete. Make the rustic cabin on Confederation Lake your destination, although a rough trail does lead farther on from there to Powell Lake. With the exception of one steep section where a ramp and staircase assist hikers, most of the trail is easily negotiated.
Diving: Divers are attracted to Saltery Bay Provincial Park, where a beautifully sculpted bronze mermaid sits in 60 feet (20 m) of water offshore from the park in Mermaid Cove. A boat ramp is also located at the park. Nearby Powell River is deservedly known as one of the premier winter diving locales on the west coast of North America. The clarity of the water and strong currents in Malaspina Strait are the two factors that anchor this claim. More than 100 dive sites attract scuba divers from around the world. Relics of sailing ships and sunken tugboats provide a refuge for marine life, such as the wolf eels and giant octopi that inhabit the deep offshore waters.
Saltery Bay Provincial Park sits beside the BC Ferries’ Saltery Bay terminal on Jervis Inlet 8 km east of Lang Bay. A camping fee is charged between April and October. If you haven’t already enjoyed your picnic lunch while sitting out on deck of the BC Ferry that brought you across Jervis Inlet from Earls Cove, stop in at the Mermaid Cove picnic grounds in Saltery Bay Provincial Park. At both the campground and the Mermaid Cove site there are three dozen picnic tables, many of which sit atop mounds of sun-bleached mollusc shells left from precontact times when Native peoples picnicked and feasted here. You can see why they chose this spot: shellfish cling to the rocky shoreline, while in the deep, dark waters of the inlet, whales, seals, and sea lions cavort in pursuit of schooling fish.
Valentine Mountain in Powell River requires just a short stair-climb to reach the top and the first of several viewpoints. It’s as if you’re standing in an observatory: as you make your way around the circumference, you see enough landmarks and reference points to bring any map to life. Islands and inlets, mountains and lakes lay spread below you. Picnic tables have been secluded in several places on Valentine’s 260m summit.
North of Lang Bay is Powell River, blessed with a beautiful seaside setting and an abundance of sun, clear water and sandy beaches. Powell River is a favoured destination of families and adventure travellers seeking a wide variety of outdoor activities and recreational sites. Attractions include the National Historic District, Powell River Historic Museum and the Sliammon Fish Hatchery.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on a driving Circle Tour. Head north out of Vancouver for the scenic Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island Circle Tour. Board a B.C. Ferries vessel at Powell River that will take you across the waters of the Strait of Georgia to Comox, on Vancouver Island’s east coast. Travel south to Victoria and return to Vancouver by ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen. Circle Tours in British Columbia.