Go hiking with a map or ask West Coast Wilderness Lodge about the local area and surrounding lakes.
Skookumchuck means “strong water” or “turbulent water” in Chinook First Nation.
Take a leisurely hike through a coastal rain forest filled with cedars and firs, sword ferns and salal, and a tiny lake with resident Loons. The trail leads to lookout points where you can watch the Skookumchuck Rapids, the fastest salt water rapids in North America.
The rapids are fascinating to watch in all seasons. When the tides change, one witnesses an act of nature’s mood swings, as the saltwater flow of the tides switches, reversing the direction of the rapids. The rapids can reach speeds of 30+ km/hr.
The first lookout point takes you up on a bluff where you can look straight down at twenty-metre-wide whirlpools that form on the ebb tide. On the flood, millions of cubic feet of saltwater rush through the Narrows and create an enormous standing wave.
The best whitewater kayakers in the world come here to test their skills — sit and chat with them as they rest from battling nature’s fury.
At a relaxed pace, the hike takes approximately 1.5 hours round-trip.
Pender Hill is another quick trek — more difficult but you will be rewarded with great scenic benefits. The trail is steep and can be slippery so keep alert. The hill itself is only 231 m (758 feet) high but the trail starts climbing quickly. Depending on fitness levels, the hike will take half an hour to an hour. The summit will yield views of the Sechelt Peninsula, Pender Harbour and the Sunshine Coast.
The views come with entertainment too as sailboats, fishing boats, yachts and motor boats travel back and forth out of Pender Harbour.
History tells us the Sechelt First Nations used Pender Hill as a look out point for threats that could be coming around the corner into the harbour. The hill gives the best perspective of the “comings and goings” of Pender Harbour. You will find natural rock gardens and clusters of Arbutus trees shedding their bark. A great opportunity to see a Bald Eagle swoop down from the sky.
The other lookout point with great views of Pender Harbour and its lakes is Mount Daniel. This trail is also a fairly difficult uphill trek but the view is well worth the effort.
The top of the mountain was called “Kwiss Cham” by the Sechelt First Nations. It was at this peak, “Kwiss Cham”, that young maidens made their ceremonial rituals celebrating a rite of passage at puberty. Stones were laid in a large circle representing the moon. You may find remnants of these “moon rings” on your hike. Please respect this special place on your visit.
The hike up the steep grade will take one to two hours to reach the peak but coming back down takes less time.
Mountain Biking – bring your bike!
The area surrounding the Lodge has some great trails for easy riders — cruise the trail through the rainforest provincial park to the Skookumchuck Rapids, or bike the back roads and explore our mountain lakes.
For a more challenging experience, bike the Klein Lake — Ruby Lake Traverse or head down to Sechelt, only 50 minutes away.