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.
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