Parks & Trails
If you’re looking for bird watching locales and nature preservation areas, why not try God's Pocket Provincial Marine Park. Accessible by float planes or boats from Port Hardy, God’s Pocket is located about 10 km northwest of the town. This environmental habitat represents the area’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The bald eagle, for instance, is protected in this area, as is a sea bird breeding colony. So bring your binoculars and experience some unusual species of birds including auklets, petrels and cormorants.
Carrot Park is one of the more popular areas for tourists and locals alike. Nestled right along the sea wall, the combination of crystal blue waters in the foreground and snow capped mountains in the distance make this one of the most photographed spots in Port Hardy. There is a flurry of activity visible from the park, from fishing boats returning with their daily catch, to sea planes taking off and landing. The harbour is bustling, and the benches give visitors the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy the view.
Short, easy trails and challenging backpacking treks reward hikers with spectacular views.
One of the more serene trails in Port Hardy is at the Quatse River Estuary. It’s the ideal opportunity for naturalists to take in the diverse wildlife and bird watching, with a wildlife viewing tower and look out points. Located at the convex of Hardy Bay, the estuary is fed by the swift Quatse River. The park is a natural environment for waterfowl and shore birds, such as Trumpeter Swans, Green-winged Teals, and Northern Shovelers.
If you’re up for a bit of adventure, why not take advantage of the hiking trail that begins on the shore of Storey’s Beach. Tex Lyon Trail is a challenging hike that wanders through a tough wilderness route. Enjoy making your way through rugged paths, and around challenging obstacles like roots, stumps and changing tides. Just south of Port Hardy, the trailhead is located off Highway 19 towards the Port Hardy Airport and Storey’s Beach.
For those looking for something a little more challenging, the Cape Scott Trail and the new North Coast Trail are for the more sophisticated and accomplished hikers. The trail head is located 63 kilometres from Port Hardy, and is accessible by well-travelled logging roads. The trek offers a mixture of swampy areas with muddy trails and well- maintained boardwalks. This is the perfect park for visitors looking for an authentic wilderness camping experience.
From the trail head of Cape Scott, visitors also have the option to check out San Josef Bay. One of the more beautiful trails in the area, it is moderate enough to provide access to wheelchairs and less experiences hikers. This multi-purpose area offers camping, kayak and canoe spots and also memorable photo opportunities; when the fresh water from the San Josef River enters the ocean, it creates the loveliest shade of emerald.
Located on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, Raft Cove is about 65 km from Port Hardy. One of the more popular parks in the region, there are trails and paths to suit a variety of interests. Whether you want to go on a moderate day hike, or set up camp on one the many spots along the shore, Raft cove is the ideal spot for lovers of craggy, untamed paths. Take a hike along the rugged shoreline, or go inland and explore Vancouver Island’s famous big trees.