The area defined as the Coast in the Cariboo, Chilcotin, Coast region of British Columbia extends from Hakai Pass near Namu in Queen Charlotte Sound in the south northward to include the Great Bear Rainforest and the southern portion of the Inside Passage that extends into Northern BC and Alaska. This is a vast and isolated landscape of old growth coastal forests, ancient glaciers, ice fields and massive watersheds.
Comprising isolated inlets and islands of Canada’s forgotten coast, this central section of the coastline of British Columbia, known as the Discovery Coast, offers an abundance of recreational activities, including boating, sailing, and world-class cruising. First Nations history and culture dates back thousands of years, with many ancient First Nation villages waiting to be explored. Set amongst the islands are the First Nations communities of Bella Bella, Klemtu, Namu, Denny Island and Ocean Falls, all accessed from the mainland town of Bella Coola.
The area is blanketed with coastal temperate rainforest, which constitutes one of the most endangered forest types on the planet. Rare to begin with, they originally covered less than 1/5 of 1 percent of the earth’s land surface. The central coast of BC is home to some of the last remaining untouched coastal temperate rainforest in the world. BC’s coastal temperate rainforests are characterized by some of the oldest and largest trees on Earth, the most common of which are Sitka spruce, red cedar, western hemlock, amabilis and Douglas fir.
The ancient Great Bear Rainforest is one of the largest tracts of temperate rainforest left in the world (2 million hectares), and is home to thousands of species of plants, birds and animals. In this lush rainforest, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountain Range, stand 1,000-year-old cedar trees and 90-metre tall Sitka spruce trees. Rich salmon streams weave through valley bottoms that provide food for magnificent creatures such as orcas (killer whales), eagles, wolves, black bears, grizzlies, and the rare and mysterious white Kermode (Spirit) bear.
Princess Royal Island is located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, and is best known as being home to the legendary white Kermode Bear, Spirit Bear of the North Coast of British Columbia. These magnificent bears are not found anywhere else in the entire world.
This spectacular wilderness region offers an amazing diversity of coastal wildlife. Wild salmon are the most important keystone species of coastal rainforest ecosystems, and grizzly bears and wolves depend on healthy salmon runs for their survival. Humpback whales, killer whales and other marine mammals and birds are in abundance. Ashore, there are pristine creeks, lush estuaries and cascading waterfalls to explore, trails to walk, and stunning fjords and towering mountain peaks to view and photograph.
Access to the coast is limited, with only two options by road: From Bella Coola on the western end of Highway 20 from Williams Lake, and from the town of Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver island.
Major conservation areas include British Columbia’s largest marine park, Hakai Luxvbalis Conservancy Area in Queen Charlotte Sound, and the Fiordland Conservancy on the northern end of the region, a magical world of inlets, bays, islands, and fjords. Both areas are popular Canoeing & Kayaking destinations on the Discovery Coast. The largest inlet is Rivers Inlet, carved deep into the rugged Coast Mountains and one of the more productive sport fishing destinations in BC.
The endless outdoor adventures on the Discovery Coast are best enjoyed by boat, and numerous eco adventure companies operate vessels that explore this awesome adventure playland. Make your selection from motor vessel, sailboat, or mothership carrying kayaks for coastal exploration.