Where are the Best Campsites in Desolation Sound?
There are many great campsites in Desolation Sound, both the obvious and the well-hidden. Despite its sometimes rocky and dramatic scenery, great care has been taken over the years by BC Parks to create a series of safe, beautiful, and well maintained campsites throughout the Desolation Sound region. Here are four of our favourites to help you plan your self-guided kayaking adventure!
1. South Curme Island
The Curme Islands are the most popular campsite in the Desolation Sound area – and for good reason! They’re breathtakingly beautiful, with rich emerald coloured waters, plenty of amazing marine life, in close proximity to the Coast Mountains, and centrally located to serve as a fantastic base camp for further exploration, and access to freshwater lakes!
The downside? Well they can get a little busy, especially in the middle of summer and around long weekends. While there are plenty of tent platforms and it is unusual for all available spots to be taken (unless you are in a large group), you can sometimes find yourself sharing a kitchen or lounging area with other groups. Great for socializing, but less so for solitude.
This is where the South Curme Island can sometimes come in to save the day. A little removed to the south of the other two islands with campsites in the chain, the South Curme has a number of distinct areas to relax in, meaning that even if you are sharing the island with other groups, there are plenty of places to escape to find a little more serenity if that is your motivation.
There is also a beautiful and easy landing spot at all tide levels, and it’s position just south of the other islands mean that it is actually the only campsite in the area that has that iconic view of Mount Denman!
2. Bold Head
Sometimes it feels like people have their blinkers on when it comes to camping at the Curme Islands, and this gem of a site within 20 minutes paddle of the Curmes is often completely empty, even when the rest of the area is full of kayakers!
Bold Head is located en route from the Curme Islands to Tenedos Bay, beneath a striking cliff face at the entrance to the bay. Looking back at Desolation Sound from the east, Bold Head is well known for its incredible sunsets. Tent platforms, kitchen areas and pit toilets make this a very comfortable place to set up for a couple days.
The downside? It can be a little tricky launching and landing, and the best location to do so will need to be determined once you arrive depending on the height of the tide at the time. It may not be the best place therefore for groups with small children.
3. Hare Point
Hare Point is a beautiful and often under appreciated site located in the northern part of Malaspina Inlet, about a mile from the entrance to Desolation Sound.
Protected from the north-westerly winds, this site overlooks an area of moderate currents in Malaspina Inlet, which brings in all sorts of fantastic marine life, from seals and sea lions to colourful invertebrates like sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers!
The majority of our kayaking guests will burn straight past Hare Point on the way to the Curme Islands. However if you are a believer that the journey is just as important as the destination, it can be a fantastic first day of a kayak trip to dawdle in the protected waters of Okeover, Lancelot and Malaspina Inlets and spend the first night here before moving on into Desolation Sound on the second day.
It’s also a great place to spend the last night in your journey if you have an early ferry to catch the following day, or for families with small children that prefer the protected waters of the inlets to explore.
The downside? The best sites that overlook the inlet are on the western side of a large protected bay with great, easy landing, but to get to them there is a bit of a hill that needs to be climbed from the beach. This is fine once or twice, but after the third trip or so with heavy gear, food and kitchen supplies, it can be slightly exhausting. Once you’re set up, though, the serene atmosphere is well worth the trouble!
4. Copeland Island #4
To the west of Desolation Sound, just north of Lund on the Malaspina Peninsula, the Copeland Islands are another favourite destination for paddlers on their way to or from Desolation.
With expansive views of the Strait of Georgia and Vancouver Islands and countless protected coves and bays to explore, the Copelands are one of our favourite trips in the Desolation Sound area. Paddlers that take the time to visit them will find another aspect to their trip in the area they might have completely missed by basecamping solely in the heart of Desolation.
There are two designated campsites in the northern section of the Copeland Islands, about 90 minutes paddle from Lund. Of the two, the northern most site on what is commonly called Copeland Island #4 is probably the most diverse and interesting, though both are excellent.
Landing can be done either on the beach to the south or the shallow bay to the north, and is easy at all tides.
The downside? Probably the schlepping of gear again up the hill! As with the Hare Point site though, the views from the campsites on the bluffs overlooking the Strait are more than worth the effort!