April Explorations – Part 2: Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park

Broughton Marine Park is an incredible place, and there is nothing like it on the coast anywhere.  It is an endless area of island groups and islets, pocket beaches, lonely rock outposts, deep bays and protected anchorages all criss-crossed with an endless variety of channels.

White Cliff islets on the western most border of the park.

You could spend a lifetime routing your way through the area and never go the same way twice.  Its unique geography and extensiveness is astounding.  It is a place to be treasured.

Heading south down Retreat Passage.

The park and the areas just outside its boundaries have been home to First Nations for thousands of years.  It is a rich and fertile hunting and gathering area and there are inhabited villages and ruins of ancient sites, as well as traces of European homesteads.  The whole area is full of clam terraces, middens, petroglyphs, culturally modified trees and historical sites speaking to a rich history. There are also numerous research outstations and seasonal camps, including Orca Lab on Hanson Island and the Salmon Coast Field Station near Echo Bay.

View from beach on Village Island looking west down Village Channel.

We traveled up to the north end of the park and based camped so we could explore the northern channels and islets and south shores of the massive Broughton island. Fife Sound is impressive and moody, a fearsome guard for the northern routes.

Fife Sound looking east towards the mountains beyond Tribune Channel.

BC Parks maintains a couple of campsites in the park and numerous kayak companies have leased First Nations land to create outstations for commercial groups. Early in the season it was quiet and we had the whole place to ourselves.

Paddling back from Echo Bay west down Cramer Pass.

Good weather came and went, as varied as the routes we traveled along.  There were bluebird glassy days where it did not seem possible to be floating along in exposed islets in calm water, and epic afternoon headwinds into horizontal rain coming home from day trips.

Lunch stop on Seabreeze Island at south end of Retreat Passage.

Happy paddling!


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