In summer there is usually a fair collection of boats in Smuggler Cove Marine Provincial Park, a small picturesque all-weather anchorage located on the south side of Sechelt Peninsula on the Sunshine Coast. Smuggler Cove, perhaps the most popular on the Sunshine Coast, is a maze of rock faces, sand flats, rocky nooks and mini bays, with three large anchoring basins for cruising boats.
The origin of the name Smuggler Cove is subject to much speculation. One theory holds that the bay was used by one Larry “Pig Iron” Kelly to pick up Chinese labourers to be smuggled into the United States after the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Another story is that the concealed cove was used as a transhipment location for the smuggling of bootleg liquor, produced on neighbouring Texada Island, into the US during the prohibition era. Given the cove’s proximity to Secret Cove, one can spectulate at some connection.
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Smuggler Cove serves as a jumping-off point for paddlers wishing to explore several offshore islands in what is arguably the most scenic location on the Sunshine Coast. Visitors should note that the two small summer homes on islets in the cove are private property and should be respected as such.
Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is permitted year round when accessible and only in the 5 designated sites located in the basin of Smuggler Cove Proper, in the Cove. This is approximately 1 kilometre from the vehicle parking area.
Extensive walking trails meander through the peaceful forest offering spectacular views of Georgia Strait and Welcome Passage. Naturalists can explore the extensive rocky shoreline, lagoons and tidal pools of Smugglers Cove, providing hours of enjoyment.
Swim, fish or enjoy a leisurely paddle in the cove’s calm, sheltered waters. Sea cucumbers lie on the submerged rocks, and ducks and geese cruise around the of cove.
Smuggler Cove Marine Provincial Park is located south of Secret Cove on the Sechelt Peninsula of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. The sheltered and popular 185-hectare marine park, which surrounds Smuggler Cove, can be accessed by boat at the north end of Welcome Passage.
The park can also be reached by vehicle off the Sunshine Coast Highway 101, between Halfmoon Bay and Secret Cove, at Brooks Road. From the parking lot, follow a 1.3-km easy hiking trail to the park.
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