There are two large parks in Haida Gwaii, formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands; Naikoon Provincial Park on Graham Island in the north, and Gwaii Haanas National Park on Moresby Island in the south. The third and only other provincial park in Haida Gwaii, Pure Lake Provincial Park between Masset and Port Clements, has no camping facilities.
Naikoon Provincial Park gets its name from a corruption of the Haida word ‘Naikun’ meaning long nose, which was the Haida name for Rose Spit, one of the most prominent features in the park. Tow Hill, formed of volcanic rock, which solidified about 2 million years ago into faceted basalt pillars, rises from the flat bogs of the Argonaut Plain at the mouth of the Hiellen River. With an elevation of 435 ft, the top of Tow Hill is almost the highest point in the park. The interior of the park remains undeveloped. The northern edge of Naikoon Provincial Park is a long stretch of sand beach, dunes and surf. Agate Beach Campground, located near Tow Hill, has picnic tables, fire pits, outhouses, drinking water and a roofed kitchen shelter. The campsite is open year round. There are also three small shelters along the east coast of the park. Naikoon Provincial Park is 22 miles (35 km) north of Skidegate.
Misty Meadows Campground, located near the Naikoon Park headquarters in Tlell, south of the Tlell River, offers picnic tables, piped water, covered cooking shelter and toilets, all within a short walk of the beach. A camping fee is collected.
Masset Recreational Vehicle Park, located on the east side of Masset on Tow Hill Road, offers vehicle sites overlooking the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary. Power, TV hookups, flush toilets and showers are available. A fee is collected, and the park is open year round.
Hayden Turner Park on the west side of Queen Charlotte City offers fairly primitive vehicle/tent sites, plus several walk-in campsites and a nice beachwalk.
Kagan Bay Forest Service Recreation Site, just west of Queen Charlotte City, has beautiful user-maintained campsites in Kagan Bay, with picnic tables and toilets. The campground is located 3 miles (5 km) west of town on Honna Forest Service Road.
A private forestry road leads north from Queen Charlotte City, and then west across Graham Island to the west coast, and a pair of Forest Service campgrounds on Rennell Sound. The Cone Head Forest Service Recreation Site has space for vehicles/tents, and is about 9 miles (15 km) north, past the Rennell Sound Forest Service Recreation Site. Rennell Sound is the only point on the west coast accessible by road, but the final descent from the alpine down to the shore is a startling 24% gradient, one of the steepest public roads in North America. The Hill is not suitable for large campers and trailers. Check your brakes before making the steep descent down to the coast. The rugged coastline, great hiking and excellent fishing make the trip to Rennell Sound well worthwhile.
Across Skidegate Inlet on Moresby Island lie four Forest Service campgrounds. To find them, drive 9 miles (15 km) east from the ferry landing at Alliford Bay to Sandspit. Follow the main road south from there as it leads to two Forest Service campgrounds on the island’s more sheltered east coast. The Gray Bay Campground 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Sandspit has two locations and space for vehicles on the gorgeous beach south of Sandspit. A smaller, vehicle campground on Sheldens Bay is located about 7 miles (11 km) farther south.
Southwest of Alliford Bay is the vehicle recreation site on Mosquito Lake, 27 miles (44 km) from Sandspit, which offers a boat launch, a day-use area and excellent trout fishing. At the head of the Cumshewa Inlet is the vehicle campsite at Moresby Camp, 4.5 miles (7 km) beyond Mosquito Lake. Moresby Camp is the favoured location to launch small boats and kayaks to explore the Gwaii Haanas/South Moresby Park Reserve, and offers good Coho and Spring salmon fishing in the fall.
Elsewhere in Haida Gwaii, camping is not organized. There are no formal campgrounds in Gwaii Haanas National Park (managed by both Parks Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation), because there is no road access to the park. The park was formed in 1987 amidst a tense confrontation that divided the island’s population, as well as public opinion across Canada and around the world. There are perhaps only 6,000 permanent residents in Haida Gwaii, but 3 million people pledged their support to see logging stopped in this area. At the height of the confrontation, 72 Haida were arrested and charged with criminal contempt of court, an act that shocked the international community. In a gesture of good faith, the Canadian government passed a resolution to support the Haida’s wishes, and Gwaii Haanas was formed.
Random camping is the rule in Gwaii Haanas. You camp where you please, preferably on sand or stone, or wherever else you will have as little impact as possible. Camping is not permitted at T’anuu Village, or on Gandla’kin (Hotspring), Ata Naa (House), Copper, Jeffrey, Rankine, or Skung Gwaii (Anthony) Islands, or Slug Islet. These areas are particularly sensitive cultural sites or important bird-nesting areas. If in doubt, ask at any of the Watchmen base camps. There is no camping at any Haida Gwaii Watchmen site in the park except for Windy Bay, or Hik’yaah, where the stand against logging was taken by the Haida Nation back in the 1980s.
Visitor Centres are located in the Sandspit Airport and in the village of Queen Charlotte City on Wharf Street. Both centres have a trip planning area with marine charts and topographic maps to assist you in planning your route, and a marine VHF radio to check the weather and sea conditions. The centres operate from May 1 to September 30.
For a free Gwaii Haanas information package contact: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, P.O. Box 37, Queen Charlotte, BC, phone 250-559-8818, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.pc.gc.ca/gwaiihaanas.
The officce of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site is located in the Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay in Skidegate.
Campgrounds & RV Parks
Information on Provincial Park Campgrounds and Reservations, National Park Campgrounds and Reservations, Camping on Crown Land in BC Recreation Sites, Frequently Asked Questions on Parks and Campgrounds, and Provincial Park User Fees. Go to Campgrounds & RV Parks.