In the centre of Vancouver Island’s Nimpkish Valley, the community of Woss is situated along a trade route used for hundreds of years by native peoples, a route that linked the east and west coasts of wild and rugged North Vancouver Island.
In modern times, the Nimpkish Valley has been an important source of timber, and home to the longest working logging railway in North America (76 miles/122 km).
Wilderness hiking and camping abound in the densely forested Nimpkish Valley, beckoning to adventurers. From here visitors can venture off to many unique outdoor areas, including lakes, caves, rock walls and alpine trails.
Location: Woss is located on the Island Highway 19 in the Nimpkish Valley in North Vancouver Island, between Sayward and Port McNeill. Travelling distance from Campbell River is 80 miles (129 km), and 244 miles (394 km) from Victoria.
Woss Lake Provincial Park provides spectacular lake and mountain scenery, and great opportunities for hiking, mountaineering, skiing, snowboarding and wilderness camping – in the right season!
Visit the Nimpkish Valley Ecological Reserve and marvel at what’s left of the area’s magnificent old-growth trees – some are 360 years young!
Steam Train: In summer, tourists can ride along on ol’ Locomotive 113, the restored steam train that rumbles through the valley. The 135-ton monster is probably the last working logging locomotive in North America, having hauled logs as late as 1971.
Schoen Lake Provincial Park: Set in the Nimpkish Valley, Schoen Lake Provincial Park is one of the most beautiful areas on the island. Known for its superb scenery, the 8,430-hectare park is a popular destination for wilderness hiking, and offers great opportunities for boating, swimming, fishing, backpacking and climbing in a rugged, wilderness environment. Schoen Lake is a wonderful place to relax and unwind, and is ideal for fishing, swimming, boating and paddling. Hiking trails in the park are barely maintained and provide numerous hiking opportunities, including the Schoen Creek Trail and the Nisnak Lake Trail.
Hiking: Hikers face a challenging climb on Mount Schoen. Trails are vaguely marked, but as always, hikers are rewarded for their efforts with panoramic vistas.
Picnic Site: There’s romantic picnicking just south of the Adam River Bridge on Hwy 19, east of Woss. As you feast, enjoy the view of Mounts Romeo and Juliet, the snowmelt from which fills Adam and Eve Lakes, from which two rivers of the same names flow east into Johnstone Strait. Equally impressive is the sight of Jagged Mountain and Mount Cain, which dominate the skyline north of here.
Skiing: Nearby Mt. Cain Ski Resort offers beginner to advanced downhill and cross-country skiing during winter. At Mount Cain you’ll find untouched powder which has built up over the week, virtually no line-ups for lifts and the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of a family oriented mountain. With its Island interior location, Mt. Cain has drier snow than other Coastal mountains and better spring skiing conditions.
Just 15km south of Woss are the Upper and Lower Klaklakama Lakes – you’ll find good paddling on the lakes. You’ll also find a small Forest Service recreation campground at the south end of Upper Klaklakama Lake, as well as a good picnic spot on Lower Klaklakama Lake near Hwy 19, when you’re in need of a break from driving.
Caving: Between Woss and Nimpkish, about 30 minutes off the Island Highway on the Zeballos turnoff, you’ll find Anutz and Atluck Lakes, as well as the Little Huson Regional Cave Park. If you’ve never experienced the sensation of spending time underground, it’s like mountaineering in the dark with the sight of a smooth, white world revealed in the beam of your headlamp. Little Huson’s caves are a good place to begin caving or even to begin considering the possibility. A short trail leads from the parking lot to a view of several caves through which the Atluck River bores.
A mere half-hour drive from Woss takes you to the centuries-old community of Zeballos on Esperanza Inlet, and the west side of Vancouver island.
North of Woss is the town of Port McNeill, a thriving community on the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island. As well as being the centre of North Island logging operations, the town’s sheltered harbour is also a launching point for sportsfishing enthusiasts who test their skills in the maze of waterways between Vancouver Island and the mainland.