Premier Listings for Smelt Bay Park

After going to the effort to reach beautiful Cortes Island, your reward is finding a campsite on the southwestern corner of the island at Smelt Bay Provincial Park, a heavenly setting on this picturesque Discovery Island.

The history of the area is as fascinating as the natural features of the park. Salish Indians are believed to have built the mounds behind the beach for their defense against marauding Yaculta Indians.

Smelt Bay is named after smelts, the small silver-green, sardine-sized fish that frequents these waters in huge numbers and attracts salmon.


The 16-hectare Smelt Bay Provincial Park is extraordinarily scenic. A beautiful pebble beach extends from the park frontage at the south end of Smelt Bay around the shoreline to Sutil Point.

This point is named after the Spanish vessel Sutil that explored these waters in 1792. Look for a petroglyph of a 3-metre fish carved into a granite boulder near the shore between Manson’s Landing and Smelt Bay, as well as petroglyphs on the rock face at the entrance to nearby Gorge Harbour.

For a great beach walk, head south to the tip of Sutil Point. Canoeing and kayaking is permitted in the calm waters of Smelt Bay. Paddlers can set in from the beach or at the natural gravel boat launch at higher tides. This boat launch is located on the beach at the northwest corner of the park.

Saltwater fishing for salmon and rock fish can be good at this park. Fishing is permitted as per provincial and federal fishing regulations. All anglers should check the current regulations issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada prior to fishing. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.

Smelt Bay is the only provincial campground on remote Cortes Island, offering a total of 23 campsites laid out in a wonderful setting in the woods, overlooking Smelt Bay.

Only the basic facilities are provided at the park, but amenities are available at Manson’s Landing, Squirrel Cove and Gorge Harbour. The park is open year-round and fees are collected from May 1 to September 30. Campers must be self-sufficient during the off-season. Nearby Mansons Landing Provincial Park offers additional day-use opportunities.

Smelt Bay Provincial Park and Campground is located on Cortes Island in the Discovery Islands of British Columbia. To reach the park, catch a ferry from Campbell River to Quathiaski Cove on Quadra Island. Drive north to Heriot Bay and take a second ferry to Whaletown on Cortes Island.

A 12.5-mile (20-km) paved road leads from the Whaletown ferry landing to the campground along Sutil Point Road and Smelt Bay Road.

Nearby communities include: Squirrel Cove, Whaletown, Cortes Island, Quadra Island, Campbell River.

Nearby Regions & Towns

Park Notices

Premier Listings

Photo of Spirit of the West Kayaking
Spirit of the West Kayaking
P.O. Box 569 Heriot Bay Quadra Island BC V0P 1H0 Home Phone: 250-285-2121Home Fax: 1-888-389-5736Work Phone: 1-800-307-3982Visit Website

Biographical Info

Kayaking British Columbia is the ultimate way to view BC’s abundant wildlife.

We want you to fall in love with kayaking and our unique coast, and our passion shows in everything we do. Choose among several professionally-guided 4-8 day trips for all experience levels around Vancouver Island. ‘Glamping’ basecamp-style with wood-fired hot tub overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or expedition-style paddling from camp to camp and paddling between 100s of islands through the Broughton Archipelago, famous Desolation Sound and the wild Great Bear Rainforest on the Central Coast. Savouring a fresh salmon BBQ in the open air, explore and view fascinating wildlife and wilderness and wake up on remote islands with the sound of the whales. Unique and breathtaking.

Our adventures are for everyone and are designed to cater to all levels of experience and abilities. We take care to introduce you to the sport in a fun and safe manner. All that we ask is that you welcome adventure with an open mind and are able to laugh and have fun when encountering the unexpected. Our groups are small, ranging from 8 to 13 people, depending on the trip, in order to provide you with the best experience possible. We provide everything you need for a once in a lifetime kayaking adventure. We provide high-quality fiberglass kayaks, paddling equipment, camp cookware, eating utensils, and camping gear.

Our guides take care of you for the entire duration of your tour, prepare delicious, organic and local meals, and have extensive training and experience in sea kayaking and in sharing the natural and cultural history of the area.

During the Northern Hemisphere winter, we also offer kayaking trips to the glacier-fed South American wildlife paradise, the Chilean Patagonia Archipelago, and multi-day escapes to sun, sand, remote beaches and the warm crystal clear waters of the Bahamas. Please contact us for all details of these amazing winter getaways!

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Photo of Sea Kayak in Desolation Sound
Sea Kayak in Desolation Sound
Kayaking Base: Penrose Bay on Okeover Inlet Desolation Sound BC Mailing Address: Powell River Sea Kayak 10676 Crowther Road Powell River BC V8A 0G4 Home Phone: 604-483-2160Work Phone: 1-866-617-4444Visit Website

Biographical Info

Located adjacent to Desolation Sound Marine Park, Powell River Sea Kayak is the premier sea kayak company for Desolation Sound, providing unbeatable knowledge, service and convenience for experiencing British Columbia’s largest Marine Park – a unique experience of warm Pacific waters, towering Coast Mountains, marine wildlife and stunning scenery.

Powell River Sea Kayak offers guided day tours, snorkeling, all-inclusive multi-day tours, and a well-stocked kayak rental fleet. Launch kayaks from Powell River Sea Kayak’s waterfront site on Okeover Inlet, once home to the “Cougar Lady”, and explore Desolation Sound Marine Park. For even more destinations, another option is to launch from our second location in Lund, or join us at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort in this awesome west coast British Columbia setting.

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Photo of Misty Isles Adventures
Misty Isles Adventures
P O Box 137 Manson’s Landing Cortes Island BC V0P 1K0 Home Phone: 250-935-6756Visit Website

Biographical Info

Misty Isles Adventures is Cortes Island’s only sea kayaking outfitter and sailing charter vessel offering guided day paddles, kayak mothership trips, kayak instruction and sea kayak rentals. The 43-foot schooner Misty Isles departs Cortes Island for day sailing and sightseeing explorations of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and mainland inlets. Longer multi-day trips are also available.

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Photo of Discovery Islands Lodge B&B Kayak Inn
Discovery Islands Lodge B&B Kayak Inn
Lodge & Kayak Base: Quadra Island BC Mailing Address: Box 25 Read Island Surge Narrows BC V0P 1W0 Home Phone: 250-285-2823Home Fax: 250-285-2823Visit Website

Biographical Info

Rustic but comfortable oceanfront accommodation near wilderness parks, trails, lakes and sea kayak paradise. Affordable single, double and family rooms; kitchen facilities; wood-fired sauna. Multi-day kayak expeditions; marine park tours; canoe & kayak rentals. Whales, seals, & porpoise right out front! One of Canada’s top 50 places to stay recommended by National Geographic Traveler.

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Photo of Coast Mountain Expeditions
Coast Mountain Expeditions
Kayaking Base: Quadra Island BC Mailing Address: Box 25 Read Island Surge Narrows BC V0P 1W0 Home Phone: 250-285-2823Work Fax: 250-285-2823Visit Website

Biographical Info

Lodge based multi-day sea kayaking tours in the Discovery Islands, off Central Vancouver Island. We operate in and around the Discovery Islands, Desolation Sound, and mainland inlets. View marine parks, wildlife, BC’s highest mountains, glaciers and waterfalls. Watch grizzly bears from your kayak, paddle with seals, dolphin, and porpoise. Incredible marine inter-tidal life. No experience necessary. We are Canada’s longest operating sea kayak company, now entering our 28th year. Recommended by National Geographic as one of Canada’s top places to visit. Join us for an adventure of a lifetime!

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Photo of Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations
Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations
685 Heriot Bay Road Quadra Island BC V0P 1N0 Home Phone: 250-204-0420Visit WebsiteVisit Blog

Biographical Info

Wildcoast provides memorable kayak vacations for adventure travellers that combine spectacular scenery, scrumptious food, and abundant wildlife encounters, including whales, dolphins, bears and eagles. Kayak with Killer Whales at our Orca base camp in Johnstone Strait, or take one of our kayak expeditions to Desolation Sound or the Discovery Islands. Our top-rated service caters to both local and international clientele. All kayak tours are fully inclusive and no kayaking experience is required. Only have a day? Visit our storefront for paddleboard and kayak Rentals or Day Tours in the stunning vistas surrounding Quadra Island.

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