Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and draws many visitors every year to this beautiful, diverse and historical location that makes up the southern part of Haida Gwaii. Featuring several old Haida village sites including Ninstints where most of the original totem poles are best preserved. Haida Watchmen are present during the summer months at the cultural sites providing interpretation of buildings and artifacts as well as a history lesson. Whales, eagles and bears oh my! There is a lot of wildlife to view so bring your camera and binoculars. Soak in the warm pools on Hot Springs Island with the most incredible scenery as your background. Here is a list of Gwaii Haanas tour operators.
A very unique museum is in Skidegate called the Haida Heritage Centre. This detailed and specialized museum is housed in 7 long houses that includes teaching facilities and a carving shed. Come explore in detail the history and artifacts of the Haida's beginnings from the moment of creation to their first encounter with Europeans to their modern day cultural renaissance. Discover the flora and fauna that make Haida Gwaii – Queen Charlotte Islands a unique place on the face of the Earth. Their Web Site.
Map of Haida Gwaii – Queen Charlotte Islands Top Attractions
...is in the north east corner of Graham Island and is flanked by long beaches that merge out to a Rose Point and deep dark mossy forests. The mossy forests have been compared to fantasy fairy land artwork, there are striking similarities that make this place dream like.
-Tow Hill is Naikoon park's biggest attraction. It is a basalt hill that rolls up gently from the south and has a shear, flat, striking face on its north side. Its a moderate hike up planked walkways to the summit where you will be treated to stunning views of Rose Point, Graham Island, the Pacific Ocean and on a clear day you can make out the outline of some Alaskan islands.
-The Blow Hole is at the foot of Tow Hill and it is common for visitors to visit this curiosity after their descent from said Tow Hill. You wont see too much on a calm day, but if its a bit stormy with the tide coming in the Blow Hole will erupt with a huge gush of water sending it high into the sky, a sight to behold.
-The Pesuta Shipwreck is located just past the mouth of the Tlell River and can be a 3 hour or more light to moderate hike there and back. The Pesuta was a log carrier that ran aground during a storm in 1928, the bow is all that remains of the Pesuta Shipwreck, but it has character and is very photogenic. Make sure to pack snacks, plenty of water and warm clothes even on a nice day for this hike.
-The Cape Fife Trail is another popular hike that cuts through the forest and connects East Beach to North Beach. This can be a long day hike, 20 km for the return trip and make sure you are prepared with food and clothing. Some people opt for a 2-3 day trip that takes them down the Cape Fife trail, north up East Beach to Rose Spit and then west down North Beach back to the trail head. For the real adventurous hiker you can take a 5-7 day hike from Tlell all the way up East Beach, cut over via the Fife Trail or around Rose Spit and end at the trail head by Tow Hill. For multiple day hikes check in with the park office at Misty Meadows in Tlell for tidal, drinking water and safety information.
Map of Naikoon Park Attractions
The Golden Spruce Trail is just a few kilometres outside the community of Port Clements. The trail is only about a 10 minute walk to the lookout to where the remnants of the Golden Spruce still can be seen. The trail continues on for some ways along the Yakoun River and you could make a half day of it. The 300 year old Golden Spruce had deep significance to Haida people and in 1997 a disgruntled logger, upset at the provinces forestry practices, cut down the tree as a personal protest. This brought deep sorrow to the community, but a cutting was saved and you can see the young tree at the Millennium Memorial Park in Port Clements. The trail is through old growth forest, don't walk through on windy or stormy days.
Stop by the Port Clements Settlers Museum after visiting the Golden Spruce Trail. Here you will find all sorts of artifacts relating to Port Clements days as a pioneer town with heavy roots in the forest industry. Articles and artifacts related to the Golden Spruce are on display as well as the White Raven of Port Clements BC. This albino raven was the darling of the town and one day the raven was playing with a couple of crows, got disoriented and flew into an electrical transformer thus ending its short life. This combined with the felling of the Golden Spruce made 1997 a bad year for the community of Port Clements. Visit their web site for more details.
St. Mary's Spring is an interesting road side curio with a carving of St. Mary by local carver Ted Bellis. The sign says “if you drink these waters you will one day find yourself back on Haida Gwaii”, there is also another sign right beside that one that says this is untreated water and to drink at your own risk.
Wandering around Old Masset is a great way to spend some time, see some carvers and artists plying their trade and view the abundance of Totem poles in the area. Queen Charlotte City is another great place to wander around with eclectic shops and homey restaurants.
Map of Haida Gwaii – Queen Charlotte Islands Points of Interest
Getting to Haida Gwaii – Queen Charlotte Islands by car. BC Ferries operates a ferry between Prince Rupert and Skidegate on Graham Island and can cost around $35.00 per person and around $150.00 per vehicle, sailing time is around 7 hours. A smaller ferry runs between Skidegate and Alliford Bay, this can cost about $10.00 oer person and around $25.00 for car and driver. Please visit BC Ferries web site for accurate schedule and fare information.
Getting to Haida Gwaii – Queen Charlotte Islands by Air. Air Canada and Pacific Coastal Airlines offer regular service to the main airport in Sandspit and to the smaller airport in Masset. One way flights from Vancouver BC can start to cost around $150.00
Haida Gwaii – Queen Charlotte Islands has many public and private transportation options including a taxi service, a shuttle bus that travels up and down the islands and a few rental car agencies. An important thing to remember when renting a car, a lot of the attractions are on gravel roads and the franchise rental car agencies do not permit you to go down them, you may want to consider using a local car rental agency if you want to do a lot of sight seeing. Here are some lists of Haida Gwaii car rental agencies and Taxi services.
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