Sechelt Inlets Marine Provincial Park is a narrow fjordlike environment on the Sunshine Coast where old-growth forest plummets down the sides of the Caren Range mountains to the ocean.
This 155-hectare marine recreation area is a collection of wilderness campsites located north of Sechelt in the sheltered waters of Sechelt Inlet. Skookumchuck Narrows is the entry passage into Sechelt Inlet from Jervis Inlet.
Beaches are limited, and where they do occur you’ll find small park sites suited for rest stops or overnighting. This area is a delightful place to explore and is ideal for canoeing and kayaking. Visitors can enjoy fishing, boating and swimming. Native petroglyphs can be found in the park at Thornhill Creek and Nine Mile Point.
The Sechelt Inlet offers excellent dive spots accessible by boat only. The Artificial Reef Society of BC scored a major coup for divers when it was given the go-ahead to scuttle HMCS Chaudiere, a retired Canadian Forces destroyer escort, off Kunechin Point in Sechelt Inlet. The Chaudiere now rests on its side in deep water (20-40m). Several descent lines lead divers to the 118m hull of the ship and assist as guides to the surface.
Another popular dive site in Sechelt Inlet is at Tuwanek Point Marine Park, where fish are so varied and numerous that you may think you’re snorkelling in Hawaii. The chill of the waters in the inlet will quickly disabuse you of that notion. Access to this aquarium is by water only. The closest suitable public access points are Porpoise Bay Provincial Park and Tillicum Bay Marina – head north on Sechelt Inlet Road from Highway 101, via Wharf and Porpoise Bay Roads. Note that there is no access from the community of Tuwanek.
Given the rocky shoreline of much of the Sechelt Inlet and its two branches – Salmon and Narrows Inlets – you’ll be relieved to reach one of the sites when the wind rises and makes paddling extremely difficult.
It takes the better part of the day to paddle the 35 km from the federal dock in Sechelt to Egmont at the north end of the inlet via the legendary Skookumchuck Narrows, which ‘guard’ the entrance to the inlet.
You can reduce the paddle by launching at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park or the private Tillicum Bay Marina, a good place to leave your car if you’re going on an overnight paddle. It’s only about a 3-km paddle from the marina to the first marine-park site at Tuwanek Point. Two of the trickiest sections involve crossing the mouth of Salmon Inlet, where strong winds can quickly turn a leisurely paddle into a maddening fight, and navigating Tzoonie Narrows in Narrows Inlet, where, unless you enter the narrows at a favourable tide, you’re in for a battle against the current.
There are 7 different camping areas with approximately 60 walk-in sites located within the park. Walk-in camping is allowed year round when accessible, but no facilities are provided. Campsites are accessed by kayak, canoe, sailboat, and power boats.
Piper Point: Small campsite 2-3 tents spaces. 1 pit toilet. Fires permitted below high tide line. This is generally used as a day use / picnic area. Anchorage in the bay is poor when there is a Southeaster, or a ‘Small Craft Advisory’.
Halfway: This is one of the larger camping sites. 10 to 15 tents can be easily accommodated. It looks up towards the glacier in the distance at the head of Salmon Inlet. There is 1 pit toilet. This site has the advantage of the early morning sun reaching it first. There is one group fire ring. Fires are permitted, however, firewood is not provided. Water is available from a near by stream. This site has one of the nicer swimming beaches. Anchorage in the bay is poor when there is a Southeaster, Westerly or a ‘Small Craft Advisory’.
Kunechin Point: No potable water available, you must provide your own. No fires permitted. 1 pit toilet. 2 wooden tent pads. This site is heavily used and there is not much space for tents. Alternative campsites would be Nine mile, Halfway or Kunechin Bay. There is scuba diving at Chaudiere Artificial Reef.
Kunechin Bay: No potable water available, you must provide your own. Fires are permitted, however no firewood is provided. 2 small campsites available accommodating up to 4 tents. There is 1 pit toilet. This is a good anchorage for power and sail boats.
Kunechin Islets: No Camping, No Picnicking, No Fires. Anchorage in the bay is poor when there is a Southeaster, Westerly or a ‘Small Craft Advisory’.
Thornhill Creek: Is difficult to reach, due to the wind conditions on Salmon Inlet. The inlet has steep sided rock faces, with limited opportunities to seek shelter from rough weather when approaching the Thornhill Creek site. It has 2 campsites, on hard packed gravel and grass. 1 pit toilet. There is a stream nearby however , a ‘Boil Water Advisory’ is in effect. Fires are permitted although firewood is not provided. This is not a protected anchorage for power boats.
Tzoonie: This is the furthest Park of the Sechelt Inlets Marine parks. This is a larger site and can accommodate up to 10 tents. There is one fire ring. Fires are permitted, however fire wood is not provided. There is 1 Pit toilet and a rope bear cache available.
Sechelt Inlets Marine Provincial Park is located in Sechelt Inlet, 12 miles (20 km) north of Sechelt on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. The park and the wilderness camping areas can only be reached by boat or floatplane.
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