Route Services

  • BC Ferries runs a ferry service from Port Hardy on Northern Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert in Northern British Columbia.
  • Port Hardy is the southern ferry terminal for the B.C. Ferries service to Prince Rupert, with connections to Skidegate in Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, and Alaska (Alaska Marine Service).
  • Vehicles and Passengers
  • Distance: 274 nautical miles
  • Sailing Time: 15 hours, depending on the weather conditions
  • Spring/Summer sailings on this route are Day Cruises (May-September)
  • Fall/Winter/Spring sailings on this route are Overnight Services
  • Reservations are required for passenger and vehicle travel between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert.
  • The vessel M.V. Northern Expedition serves this route.
  • The Fall/Winter/Spring schedule on the Inside Passage route includes stops en route at Bella Bella (McLoughlin Bay) and Klemtu, as the Discovery Coast route is not operated during these seasons. Stops at Klemtu and Bella Bella prolong the daylong journey, but also lead to enjoyable scenery as the ferry threads her way through the Inside Passage.

Community Information

Map of British Columbia Ferry RoutesClick on the map to view a large scale map of the Vancouver Island and BC Coastal Ferry Routes, or view BC Ferries’ map of Ferry Routes in BC (PDF format). Make vehicle reservations and check current ferry schedules, ferry fares, capacity conditions at major ferry terminals, and the departure and arrival status of current sailings directly on the BC Ferries website.

BC Ferries Schedules for these Routes

Come the end of May, when ferry service to ports on the Central Coast is shouldered by the Queen of Chilliwack (on the Discovery Coast Passage route), there are no stops between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, with its connections to the Queen Charlotte Islands and Alaska. That’s a good thing. The ferry has become so popular with summer travellers that everything needs to click in order to keep to the demanding schedule.

Prince Rupert, British Columbia’s northernmost port, is the terminus for the Alaska Marine Highway System and VIA Rail. Visitors will find many whale watching charters and fishing vessels selling their wares at the busy dock – try the crabs and fresh halibut! Head down to quaint old Cow Bay for a cappuccino, or out to the rugged beauty of the Khutzeymateen reserve. Take a tour of the historical North Pacific Cannery in Port Edward, the oldest surviving cannery on the coast – well worth a visit. Ferries from the harbour take visitors up the coast to ports on the Alaska panhandle and north, and across the Hecate Strait to the breathtaking islands of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).

Numerous cruise ships ply the waters of the 314-mile (507-km) Inside Passage en route to Alaska. BC Ferries may not rival the QE II in size, but is majestic enough to carry freight trailers, family sedans, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and touring bicycles. Passengers boarding in Port Hardy for the trip to Prince Rupert include the usual manifest of adventure-hungry world travellers you’d expect to find boarding a ferry in British Columbia, bolstered, depending on the season, by a contingent of tree planters. By the conclusion of the journey, you’ll probably be on nodding, if not full-blown speaking, terms with many of your fellow passengers.

Aside from a short stretch of open ocean between Vancouver Island and Rivers Inlet, where the Central Coast archipelago begins, the route north to Prince Rupert leads through a narrow maze of channels, passes, and reaches. Snow and ice coat the peaks of the mountains, and their shoulders plunge to the tideline. So rugged is most of this coast that if you were exploring here by kayak, you’d be challenged to find a welcoming landing site. Passengers should keep their eyes peeled for a whale or dolphin in Queen Charlotte Sound. With luck you might even see a white-coated Kermode bear on Princess Royal Island’s lengthy shoreline.

M.V. Northern Expedition is BC Ferries’ newest vessel to ply the waters of British Columbia’s Inside Passage. The new 150 metre ship accommodates 130 vehicles and 600 passengers. Among its many features, the Northern Expedition will offer 55 modern staterooms (cabins are reserved in advance and usually book up fast) for customers and an expanded range of food services and other amenities to delight local residents and tourists alike.

Passengers will enjoy the spacious cafeteria, called Canoe Cafe, as well as the Vista Restaurant. The Raven’s Lounge offers TV viewing while the reserved seating Aurora Lounge boasts wonderful view and reclining chairs, perfect for taking in the sweeping vistas of northern B.C. You’ll find a great selection of unique treasures that capture the essence of the north coast including gifts, clothing, books, jewellery and treats for everyone at the Passages Gift shop. Together the Northern Expedition and the Northern Adventure will deliver a cruise-like travel experience on the northern routes.

Premier Listings

Photo of Bear Cove Cottages Sports Fishing
Bear Cove Cottages Sports Fishing
6715 Bear Cove Highway PO Box 2351 Port Hardy BC V0N 2P0 Work Phone: 250-949-7939Work Phone: 1-877-949-7939Visit Website

Biographical Info

Port Hardy’s hotspot for accommodation, adventure, and Wicked Salmon sport-fishing charters! Just ten kilometres from the quaint seaside town of Port Hardy BC, Bear Cove Cottages offer immaculate cottage lodging in a pristine, wilderness setting bordered by mature cedar trees. Comfortable and modern, each cottage contains a kitchen, a romantic fireplace, a jacuzzi bath, and panoramic views of Hardy Bay.

Boasting some of the world’s best salmon and halibut charter-fishing grounds, the Cottages at Bear Cove proudly offer one of the area’s top guides, Wade Dayley, as captain of your dream Vancouver Island fishing getaway. Port Hardy provides access to some of British Columbia’s best salmon and halibut charter fishing and offers all of the requisite amenities for a memorable sportfishing and outdoor adventure vacation.

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Photo of Quatsino Lodge
Quatsino Lodge
6288 Michael’s Drive Courtenay BC V9J 1P4 Home Phone: 250-338-7473Work Fax: 250-338-7473Work Phone: 1-866-279-5061Visit Website

Biographical Info

Fishing Location:
Quatsino Sound, BC

Located in Quatsino Sound, Quatsino Lodge specializes in guiding clients to the best sportfishing and sea kayaking on northern West Coast Vancouver Island. We offer saltwater and freshwater fishing packages as well as mothership kayaking and superb wildlife viewing. Quatsino Lodge is an intimate family-run business catering to small personal and corporate groups. Any group size from 2-12.

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