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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Camping

Frontcountry Camping Backcountry Camping | Camping: Know Before You Go

Backcountry Camping Locations


D’Arcy Island

 

With numerous coves, cobble beaches and a forest of arbutus and Douglas fir, D'Arcy Island's beauty belies its past history as a leper colony for Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s. To avoid damaging sensitive habitats or disturbing cultural features, please camp only in the designated campsites.

Campground Info:

  • 7 primitive campsites
  • Pit toilets
  • No potable water
  • Accessible by water only
  • GPS Coordinates: 48.567484, -123.273656

Isle-de-Lis / Rum Island

This small island features a Douglas fir/arbutus forest and coastal bluffs, as well as vegetation that reflects the warm Mediterranean-like climate of the southern Gulf Islands.
The island is popular with kayakers who stop overnight on multi-day paddling trips, but plan to arrive early in the day as there are a limited number of campsites (three sites). Marine access only, pit toilets and no drinking water.

Rum Island is connected to neighbouring Gooch Island by a gravel beach that is the best place to put a kayak ashore. Gooch Island is private property: please do not trespass.

Campground Info:

  • 3 primitive campsites
  • Pit toilets
  • No potable water
  • Accessible by Water Only
  • GPS Coordinates: 48.662781, -123.280474

Princess Margaret (Portland) Island

Portland Island features three backcountry campgrounds linked by hiking trails. During the summer months, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club provides information to boaters at a float in Princess Bay, through the park's Marine Host program.

Portland Island features cliffs, protected coves and sand beaches. The island was once the site of a First Nations village, but now the shell midden beaches encircling the island are the most visible reminder of their presence. Please do not disturb midden sites.

Settled by Kanaka (Hawaiian) immigrants in the 1880s, Portland Island's recent history is primarily agricultural. The island was presented as a gift to Princess Margaret in 1958 to commemorate her visit to the province. In turn, she returned the island to British Columbia as a provincial park in 1967.

Campground Info:

  • Shell Beach Campground
    • 6 primitive campsites 
    • Food cache 
    • Pit toilets
    • No potable water
    • GPS coordinates: 48.721860, -123.384235
  • Princess Bay Campground
    • 12 primitive campsites
    • Food cache
    • Pit toilets
    • No potable water
    • GPS Coordinates: 48.7209160705094, -123.369624890751
  • Arbutus Point Campground
    • 6 primitive campsites
    • Food cache
    • Pit toilets
    • No potable water
    • GPS Coordinates: 48.734518, -123.367186

Accessible by water only (all sites)


Pender Islands

The Penders—North and South—were once one island connected by a narrow strip of land. A canal between the islands was dredged in 1903 to allow boats to make a speedier passage to the outer Gulf Islands. Rejoined again with the building of a one-lane bridge in 1957, the two islands are now home to a combined population of around 2,000 permanent residents, the majority of whom live on North Pender.

BC Ferries offers service to Pender Island from Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen and other Southern Gulf Islands. For ferry schedule to & from Pender Island, visit: bcferries.com/schedules/southern or contact 1-888-BC-FERRY.

Beaumont Campground

This beautiful 13-site waterfront campground is accessible from the water as a paddle-in or as a hike-in campground:

Hike from CANAL RD: (Parking available here) Advanced 2.13 km, 2-hour hike in. Hike up to Mount Norman, then continue down the path towards Ainslie Point and Beaumont Campground.

Hike from AINSLIE POINT RD: (No Parking) Advanced 1.6 km, 1-hour hike. Follow signs to Beaumont Camping areas. Half a kilometer from the Ainslie Point trail access, the trail to Beaumont switches back steeply down through thick forest and boulder fields. It levels out about 30 metres above the shoreline to a fork in the trail; both forks lead to the camping area.

Campground Info:

  • 13 primitive campsites Pit toilets
  • No potable water
  • Accessible by water or Beaumont hiking trail (advanced)
  • GPS Coordinates: 48.754007, -123.241437

Nearby:

Beaumont Mooring Buoys 

Shingle Bay Campground

New in 2016! Reserve a backcountry campsite at Shingle Bay Campground on Pender Island!

More and more of our visitors have asked us to develop better trip planning tools – in response to this we are piloting a backcountry reservation system at Shingle Bay on Pender Island. This new tool will allow people to reserve a campsite prior to their arrival. In order for this new system to work, visitors should make themselves aware of the steps to follow: 

  •  Visitors must choose one of two options:
    1. Reserve and choose their campsite ahead of time by booking online or calling 1-877-RESERVE
      OR
    2. Check in with Parks Canada staff upon arrival by phoning 1-250-216-9397. Staff will then complete the check-in process over the phone and assign a campsite. Users must only occupy the site they have reserved or are assigned on check-in.

Note: If you are unable to register by phone OR if the campground is fully booked you must complete the self-registration process on site and setup inside the designated overflow area. Your self-registration permit must be displayed on your tent.

Campground Info:

  • Book your campsite online at reservation.parkscanada.gc.ca or by calling 1-877-RESERVE.
  • 10 primitive walk-in campsites (reservations accepted) 
  • Small overflow area available for campers without reservations
  • Pit toilets
  • No potable water
  • Accessible by water or walk in trail (0.24 km steep hill descent into campground)
  • GPS coordinates: 48.7841064747264, -123.31095284505

Getting here by car:

From the Otter Bay Ferry Terminal:

Head north towards MacKinnon Rd, after 350 m merge and make a slight right onto MacKinnon Rd. Follow for 600 m, then continue straight onto Otter Bay Rd. In 1.5 km, turn right onto S Otter Bay Rd. In 2.6 km, turn left onto Shingle Bay Rd. Follow for 500m and you will arrive in the parking area for the campground.

The camping area is walk-in only. From the parking area you will descend 0.24 km down a steep hill.

  • Overnight parking available for campers at the end of Shingle Bay Rd.

Nearby:

Front Country Camping at Prior Centennial
Pender Island Trails


Cabbage Island – Cabbage Island Campground

The marshes and stands of Garry oak, arbutus and coastal Douglas fir on Cabbage and nearby Tumbo and Saturna Islands are some of the most intact wetland and vegetation communities remaining on the Gulf Islands. Cabbage Island is an important nesting site for Black Oystercatchers and Bald Eagles. Oystercatchers are particularly sensitive to disturbance by dogs and people walking along the shoreline: use an alternate route or landing area if you spot Oystercatchers on the beach.

Campground Info:

  • 5 primitive campsites
  • No designated tent pads, please setup your camp in a low impact area. For tips brush up on leave no trace principles.
  • Composting toilet
  • Food cache
  • No potable water
  • Accessible by water only
  • GPS Coordinates: 48.797806, -123.087791

Nearby: 

Cabbage Island Mooring Buoys


Prevost Island - James Bay Campground

James Bay Campground on Prevost Island is only accessible by water, and is popular with kayakers. There are no tent pads in this open field style camping area.
National park reserve lands are located on both the north and south shores of Prevost Island. The majority of the island, however, remains privately owned by the descendants of Digby de Burgh—the man who bought the island in the 1920s. They continue to farm and raise sheep on the island. The island is largely unchanged from what would have existed a century ago, and contains large cedar and arbutus groves.

Campground Info:

  • 10 primitive campsites (no picnic tables or tent pads)
  • Pit toilets
  • No potable water
  • Accessible by water only
  • GPS coordinates: 48.8396793863411, -123.397182148045

Saturna Island - Narvaez Bay Campground

Narvaez Bay is one of the most beautiful and undisturbed bays in the southern Gulf Islands. This area includes regenerating Douglas fir forest and Garry oak-arbutus ecosystems.
This campground is easily accessed from land or water, and is a popular spot for paddlers and overnight anchorage.

BC Ferries offers service to Saturna Island from Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen and other Southern Gulf Islands. For ferry schedule to & from Saturna Island, visit: bcferries.com/schedules/southern or contact 1-888-BC-FERRY.

To access from land: Head east on Narvaez Bay Rd. Park at the gate at the end of Narvaez Bay Road, and walk past the gate and down the road to the bay. Stay on the main path to avoid trampling sensitive vegetation.

Campground Info:

  • Walk-In access: 1.7 km from trailhead to backcountry campsites
  • Bike racks at trailhead
  • 7 primitive campsites
  • Pit toilets
  • No potable water
  • GPS Coordinates: 48.774203, -123.098736