Powell River: green gem of the Sunshine Coast [PHOTOS]

A renaissance town worth a weekend trip— or maybe a move.

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by David Stanley via Flickr

“The crushed clam shells marking the entrance of the trail," notes the website, "have been left behind by the 2,000 year old history of the Sliammon [now known as the Tla A'min] First Nation people.”


The Tla A'min First Nation lands northwest of Powell River by David Stanley via Flickr

Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park 

With more than 60 km of shorelines and several islands, this is a boater’s dream. The entire park is about 8,450 hectares and can be split up into three separate destinations: Prideaux Haven, Tenedo’s Bay and Grace Harbour.

The most popular boating or kayaking route starts from either Lund Harbour or Okeover Harbour Government Dock to get to Desolation Sound Parks.

by David Stanley via Flickr

Other than a ridiculously breath-taking view, you can expect to see osprey, eagles, ravens, and deer.

You can stay also here overnight at 11 designated campsites throughout the Desolation Sound Parks (inlcuding the Copeland Islands and Malaspina Provincial Marine Parks). 

Find more detailed information about the campsites and campsite maps here.

Texada Island 

The largest island on the Strait of Georgia is only about eight km from Powell River. Take a ferry to this little island and hike to Stromberg Falls. Hit Shingle Beach or Gillies Bay beach, or if you want a break from saltwater check out the amazing Heischolt Lakes, which are not what they sound like. These are former limestone quarries flooded with tropical-hued green and blue freshwater — that also happens to be several degrees warmer than the nearby sea. 

Texada Island quarries
Cooling off in the Heischolt Lakes. Image courtesy Powell River Tourism.Cooling off in the Heischolt Lakes. Image courtesy Powell River Tourism.

Getting to Powell River

By car:

Powell River is on Highway 101, about five hours north of Vancouver, and the journey itself is as much a pleasure as the destination, a scenic taste of the Sunshine Coast.  

Take the Horseshoe Bay ferry to Langdale (about 40 minutes). From there it's about an hour and 15 minute drive to Earl's Cove. This is your second short ferry, to Saltery Bay, about a 50-minute crossing. The last leg of driving up 101 to Powell River takes about 30 minutes.

Check here for the full schedule of ferry sailing times.

(Bonus: If you stop in Gibsons en route, you’ll find Molly’s Reach, the restaurant featured on camp-classic TV show “The Beachcombers.”)

Gibsons Beach by David Stanley via Flickr.

By bus:
Save the driving, save the carbon, and you still get the scenic views. Malaspina Coach Lines offers daily transportation between Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.

By air:
You can also fly out to the Powell River Airport (YPW) from the South Terminal in Vancouver. Pacific Coastal Airlines offers daily flights to Powell River.

Getting around town:
Powell River offers public transit and taxi services along with bike-able and walkable areas. 

For more information, see the Powell River tourism site.  

Photo courtesy of Powell River Tourism

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