Smelt Bay Provincial Park

 

Smelt Bay Provincial Park is situated on the remote Cortes Island, which lies at the entrance to Desolation Sound, a popular cruising area in BC. Cortes Island is a great destination for kayakers, as its shoreline is interspersed with many sheltered harbours, inlets, and coves. The island is also popular with cyclists, as it has many kilometres of quiet scenic roadways. Smelt Bay Provincial Park lies in the southern portion of the island and includes a wonderful pebbly beach perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and tidal pool exploration. There are fabulous opportunities for wildlife watching at this location, since in late September, thousands of spawning smelt fish attract a variety of predators, such as salmon, seals, sea lions, otters, seagulls, herons, and bald eagles. Fishing for salmon and rockfish is reputed to be quite good at this park. Smelt Bay Provincial Park protects an important First Nations cultural site: the mounds build on the beach by the Coastal Salish people for defence purposes.

Facilities

Vehicle Accessible Camping - - - - Picnic Areas Campfires - Pit Toilets - Drinking Water - - - Boat Launch - Beach Managed Site / Facility Operator

Activities

Fishing - Swimming - - Canoeing / Kayaking - - Bicycling - - - - - Wildlife Watching - - - - -

Rating

Campsite privacy
Fun for kids
Lots of shade
Peacefulness/Quietness
Activities

Number of campsites: 23, reservable: 8, nearest town: Mansons Landing (4 km), Whaletown (18 km),

Additional Information

Location

Smelt Bay is located on the southwest side of Cortes Island, 18 km south of the Whaletown Ferry Terminal on Sutil Point Road. This park is accessible by boat and by car via a ferry from Campbell River on central Vancouver Island to Quadra Island (approx 15 minutes), then by another ferry from Quadra Island (Heriot Bay) to Cortes Island (Whaletown), approximately 45 minutes. For ferry schedules and fees, please visit www.bcferries.com. Once on Cortes, follow signs to the park. Boaters can reference marine chart #3538 and #3539 for more information about this area.

Contact Information

R.L.C. Enterprize Ltd.
E-mail address: office@rlcenterprize.com
Phone: (250) 474-1336
Please go to www.discovercamping.ca to reserve a campsite.

Camping Information

Fees

Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $15.00 per party / night.

BC Senior Rate (Labour Day to June 14 only): $7.50 per senior couple / night.

Operation Dates

Campground dates with full fees and services: May 15 – September 30. Campground reservable dates: May 15 - September 8.

Day use only during the off-season; no winter camping is permitted.

Facilities

Vehicle Accessible Camping

Vehicle Accessible Camping

This park offers spacious vehicle accessible campsites in a forested setting, overlooking Smelt Bay. The majority of the sites are double sites. Overflow camping may be possible in the day-use parking lot.

Picnic Areas

Picnic Areas

This park has a day-use/picnic area, located adjacent to the beach. Facilities include pit toilets, a grassy picnic area, parking lot, an information shelter and a sand and pebble beach that is good for marine exploration at low tide. Nearby Mansons Landing Provincial Park offers additional day-use opportunities.

Campfires

Campfires

Campfire rings are provided at each campsite. Firewood can be purchased from the Park Facility Operator.

Drinking Water

Drinking Water

Water taps are shut off during the off-season.

Boat Launch

Boat Launch

A natural, gravel boat launch for small boats is available at higher tides. This boat launch is located on the beach at the northwest corner of the park.

Activities

Fishing

Fishing

Saltwater fishing for salmon and rockfish can be good at this park. Fishing is permitted as per provincial and federal fishing regulations.

Swimming

Swimming

Ocean swimming is possible at this park, but there is no designated swimming area.

Canoeing / Kayaking

Canoeing / Kayaking

Canoeing and kayaking can be enjoyed in the calm waters of Smelt Bay. Paddlers can set in from the beach or at the natural gravel boat launch at higher tides. This boat launch is located on the beach at the northwest corner of the park.

Bicycling

Bicycling

Cyclists visiting the island can enjoy many kilometres of quiet scenic roadways.

Wildlife Watching

Wildlife Watching

There are fabulous opportunities for wildlife watching at this location, since in late September, thousands of spawning smelt fish attract a variety of predators, such as salmon, seals, sea lions, otters, seagulls, herons, and bald eagles. Exploring the tidal pools filled with colourful sea stars, anemones, crabs, mussels, and oyster is a delightful pastime that can be enjoyed in this park.

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