Experience Tahsis

Words & Photos By Kira Marshall

Ample adventure, history, and nature on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island within the traditional territory of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, Tahsis and Tahsis Inlet are famously associated with the world-renowned fishing grounds of Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet, where anglers have access to prized Pacific salmon species, bottom fish, albacore tuna, and shellfish. While it’s no secret that Tahsis is known for lucrative sport fishing opportunities, it is quickly becoming a sought-after access point to the Island’s West Coast—fostering an entirely new industry the village municipality hopes will aid in its sustainability efforts.

Located just under three hours from Campbell River by road, Tahsis offers an abundance of outdoor activities for tourists and residents, like walking, hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, caving, bouldering, wildlife viewing, diving, boating, and sport fishing. The drive to Tahsis meanders along Highway 28, through the pristine mountains of Strathcona Provincial Park to Gold River, then along a 64 kilometre, well-maintained, active Forest Service road that leads to the west coast. This road is aptly named,Tree to Sea Drive, and features plenty of interesting stops along the way. The village’s website includes an interactive map showing 16 stops of interest between Gold River and Tahsis that includes waterfalls, caves, and scenic lookouts.

With its rugged landscape of lush rainforest and steep, fjord-like mountains, this raw coastal geography is the setting for some of the best ecotourism in British Columbia.

Surfers are attracted by the wild Pacific waves off Nootka Island, a climatic pocket that produces waters of the same temperature as Northern California. Strong inflow and outflow winds in Tahsis Inlet create great conditions for windsurfers and kiteboarders.

Kayakers and paddle boarders enjoy sheltered inlet waters, rugged coastal scenery, and abundant ocean wildlife. Tahsis Inlet, Nootka Sound, and Esperanza Inlet offer areas boasting strong tidal activity and diverse marine life, creating world-class scuba diving sites.

Climbers and cavers find karst landscape and exposed rock, especially in Weymer Creek Provincial Park, that offer some of Vancouver Island’s best caving, climbing, and bouldering. Hikers discover dramatic vistas around town, and have direct access, by boat, to the internationally famous Nootka Trail. Hugging the outer coast of Nootka Island, this 37 kilometre trail takes adventurers through complex coastal and rainforest terrain leading to Yuquot, a National Historic Site. For those seeking slow-paced ecotourism, historic Tahsis can be explored along local trails and beaches or by walking through the village.

Many are surprised to learn the area has experienced an influx in bikepacking over recent years. Daring cyclists explore the West Coast on the Tree to Sea Loop, a 1000-kilometre route that extends from the Comox Valley to Gold River, along the Tree to Sea Drive to Tahsis, through to Zeballos, up to Port Alice, and further up to Cape Scott Provincial Park before reaching Port Hardy, and then heading back down the east side of the Island.

Tahsis is home to many talented artists and makers. Living in this small, rainforest community pushes creativity and inspires the mind and soul. Coal Creek Roasters, a family-run craft chocolatier recently relocated from Cumberland, has established a home cacao bean roastery that produces organic, sustainable chocolate with two ingredients: organic cacao beans and organic cane sugar. Rugged Mountain Roasters is a small roastery that features hand-crafted,
air-roasted coffee made from direct trade, organic beans.

Local businesses include restaurants with home-cooked meals, a full-service marina with a Margaritaville-themed floating restaurant that features live music in the summer months, and a variety of tour operators. Visitors can find an abundance of vacation rentals, from one- and two-bedroom suites to whole houses equipped with everything needed for time away from home.

The potential to share the hidden gem and a desire to diversify the economy have led to the creation of Experience Tahsis—a project funded by Island Coastal Economic Trust in partnership with Tourism Vancouver Island (TVI) and the Village of Tahsis. The project seeks to work collaboratively with the team at TVI, tourism stakeholders in Tahsis, Nootka Sound, and Esperanza Inlet, as well as local government and First Nations to support the development and implementation of destination development and a marketing action plan to support the sustainable growth of tourism in the area. Through engaged social channels and new website content, Experience Tahsis invites Vancouver Island locals and travellers alike to discover the area.

Though great amenities are available, visitors are reminded that this is a remote area with limited services, so prepare for the unexpected. Tahsis invites you to get out of town and immerse yourself in raw nature, rich history, and rare adventure. Whether you like powerful oceans, alpine heights, old growth forests, or underground marvels, come #ExperienceTahsis for yourself!




Category: Volume 5, Where