Indian Arm Park is a conservation park that protects shores of the Indian Arm fjord. The 6,821 hectare park encompasses old-growth forests, several alpine lakes, a 50m high waterfall, a large alluvial fan, numerous creeks and the Indian River estuary.
The Indian Arm fjord is an important area to the First Nations people, including the Burrard, Musqueam and Squamish bands that hunt and fish in the area. Several pictographs throughout the area are evidence of First Nations use. The historic Wigwam Inn was once a luxury resort that attracted customers travelling by steamship up the Indian Arm fjord.
Deep Cove in North Vancouver is one of two jumping-off points for exploring Indian Arm, a steep-sided, 18-mile (30-km) fjord that branches north from Burrard Inlet just east of the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge. Kayakers (and the occasional canoeist) also launch from Belcarra Regional Park on the east side of Indian Arm. You can explore the south end of Indian Arm in the course of a day, or set out on an extended two- to four-day circumnavigation of the coastal inlet. The best time to paddle here is between April and October. During monsoon season, Indian Arm (and the North Shore generally) often receives twice as much rain as nearby Vancouver.
In addition to the convenience of having such a wilderness paddling environment so close to the city, Indian Arm is also a fairly sheltered environment in which to try ocean kayaking. However, don’t let its proximity to the city fool you into thinking all is peaches and cream. Strong winds funnel down the inlet from Garibaldi Provincial Park and can quickly turn a relaxing paddle into a fight to stay afloat. On busy summer days, powerboats also kick up a mishmash of waves that toss smaller craft around. The farther north you go, the steeper the walls of the inlet become, providing few places to beach in a hurry. Always exercise caution and respect the speed with which conditions may change during a paddle trip here.
Some of the places where you’ll want to pause and stretch your legs along the way include Racoon Island and Twin Islands. These are among the very few islands that dot Indian Arm; from Deep Cove you’ll have to cross over to the inlet’s east side to reach them. If you’d like to spend the night, there are wilderness campsites on North Twin Island. Water is scarce, so pack along whatever you think you’ll need. The best beaches on the inlet are located north of Deep Cove on the inlet’s west shore. As you make your way into the more remote, northern half of Indian Arm, stop to explore Granite Falls Regional Park on the east shore. Although there is no development in the park, there are plenty of signs of past logging activity around the falls. Indian River enters the extreme north end of the inlet and creates a marshy delta that attracts wildlife.
Marine access camping is available on the north and south sides of Bishop Creek and at South Granite Falls. There are pit toilets available at each camping area. There are no mooring facilities at either North or South Bishop Creek. There is day moorage available for vessels under 5.5 metres in length at North Twin Island and North Granite Falls.
The entire Indian Arm has excellent sea duck activity in the winter. A variety of wildlife can be found in the park including black bear, black-tailed deer, cougar, coyote, red fox, and a variety of smaller mammals and amphibians. Seventy-nine bird species have been identified in the park area. Harbour seals are also common throughout Indian Arm. During salmon runs they can often be seen fishing. Black bear sightings are common along the shoreline. A large run of pink salmon (approximately 60,000 fish) make their way up the Arm on odd numbered years. They can be seen jumping all along the shoreline. The fish concentrate in the Indian River estuary and then work their way up the Indian River. The Chum Salmon make their way up the Arm annually in large numbers. Smaller numbers of Coho and Chinook salmon find their way back to the Indian River each year. With the concentration of salmon in the fall, large numbers of eagles can be view overhead, and amongst the salmon there are many seals feeding.
Indian Arm Provincial Park is located adjacent to Mount Seymour Provincial Park in North Vancouver, British Columbia, on the east and west sides of Indian Arm. It is primarily accessed by water via the Indian Arm fjord, however there is access from Squamish via a logging road.
Nearby Regions & Towns