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Bute Inlet

Homathko Icefield, northwest of Bute Inlet, BC
The remote and pristine Bute Inlet is a deep fjord located amongst the narrow tidal passages at the northern end of the Strait of Georgia. Carved deep into the mountains of mainland British Columbia's west coast, the wilderness and mist-shrouded inlet boasts magnificent coastal scenery and abundant wildlife.

Considered one of the grandest fjords in the world, the inlet is surrounded by the rugged coastal mountains that heave out of the emerald waters and rise to heights of nearly 10,000 feet, capped by the Homathko Icefield and numerous other glaciers in the surrounding mountain ranges.

Bute Inlet is 75 km (47 miles) long, with an average width of 3.7 km (2.3 miles) and a maximum depth of 650 metres (2,130 feet). The upper reaches of the inlet comprise steep granite bluffs, numerous hanging valleys, and splendid cascading waterfalls.

The area is the traditional home of the Homalco Band of the Coast Salish people, who lived for thousands of years in several large villages on Bute Inlet and on Stuart Island at the mouth of the inlet.

The first European contact with the First Nations people of Bute Inlet was recorded by the expedition party of explorer Captain George Vancouver during his survey of the Northwest Coast of now British Columbia during the summer of 1792.

There are two main rivers flowing into Bute Inlet, both emptying into Waddington Harbour at the head of the inlet; the Homathko River and the Southgate River. The larger of the two, the Homathko, drains an interior watershed containing several permanent icefields. Runoff to Bute Inlet is highly seasonal, peaking with snow and ice melts in July.

During the Cariboo Gold Rush an ambitious but impractical attempt to build a wagon road from the Pacific coast via Bute Inlet to the Cariboo gold fields was thwarted in the spring of 1864. Led by their Chief Tellot, Natives from the Chilcotin Nation in the interior descended from the mountains surrounding Bute Inlet and killed the crews working to build the road, stopping any further attempt to establish an alternative and shorter route from Victoria to the goldfields.

Today, Bute Inlet is a paradise for photographers, sports fishermen, hikers, kayakers, mountain climbers, wildlife enthusiasts, and experienced backcountry users. A small sawmill at the Homathko logging camp on the Homathko River delta is operated by a few seasonal loggers.

Location: The only access to Bute Inlet is by boat or floatplane. The best departure point for approach by water is Campbell River on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The one-hour boat ride due north navigates Sutil Channel and Calm Channel.

  • Some of the province's largest icefields feed the watersheds of British Columbia's coastal ranges, including one of the largest icefields south of the Arctic Circle, Homathko Icefield, located above Mt. Grenville (3,109m/10,197 ft) and Mt. Queen Bess (3,289m/10,787ft).
  • Located between Stuart Island and the mainland at the entrance to Bute Inlet are very strong whirlpools called the Arran Rapids, and just to the west, the Yuculta Rapids. These spectacular rapids are generated by powerful tidal currents that race through the narrow channels like rapids in a river, flooding and ebbing at up to 10 to 15 knots. Natives are recorded as having assisted Captain George Vancouver's men by using ropes from the shore to pull their longboats through the Arran Rapids.
  • Fifty kilometres inland from the head of Bute Inlet is Mt. Waddington, the highest peak in the Coast Range and the highest mountain wholly within British Columbia, at 13,260 feet. The mountain is named after the English educational pioneer, Alfred Penderell Waddington (1801-1872).
  • The new and modern salmon enhancement program at the Taggares-Homalco Hatchery on Bute Inlet is operated by the Homalco First Nation, raising and releasing coho salmon smolts into Bute inlet. The program projects that 15% of the released coho will return as mature fish, generating significant economic activity and over 120 jobs in the sportfishing and related tourism industries. The Yuculta Rapids Salmon Enhancement Association operating in the Stuart Island and Sonora Island area also works toward the same goals; the betterment of sports fishing and ensuring the future viability of pacific salmon stocks.
  • Wildlife: On a visit to Bute Inlet you may encounter bald eagles, cougars, and grizzly bears and black bears feeding along the shoreline and foraging for shellfish. In the emerald waters of the inlet look for otters, sea lions and seals, transient orcas, minke whales, porpoise and pacific white-sided dolphins.
  • Fishing: The Homathko and Southgate rivers provide world-class fishing for all 5 species of salmon, steelhead, large cutthroat throat and Dolly Varden. With Bute Inlet exposed to the huge number of salmon migrating south down the east coast of Vancouver Island, the area offers world-class fishing, both saltwater and freshwater.
  • Hiking: The remote Homathko logging camp on the Homathko River delta at the head of Bute Inlet is the starting point for organized multi-day hiking trips into the rugged alpine Coast Mountains. These wilderness hikes traverse granite ridges and snowfields high above the picturesque inlet. The Homathko River Valley provides easier hiking along old logging roads and trails that reward the hiker with magnificent views of the inlet and valley below.
  • The Homathko River-Tatlayoko Protected Area comprises 17,575 hectares of coastal rainforests and wetlands along the upper reaches of the Homathko River. Unique features of the surrounding area include the spectacular Waddington Canyon on the Homathko River, extensive icefields, the aquamarine Tatlayoko Lake, and valuable wildlife habitat, including the Mosley Creek wetlands and valley migration corridors through the Coast Range. The area is remote and access is difficult, with no trails or roads within the park. Tatlayoko Lake is accessible by boat, and there is a road and a forestry recreation site along the eastern shore of the lake. There are boating opportunities on Tatlayoko Lake, and consistent afternoon thermal winds also create good windsurfing conditions. The Homathko River is considered too dangerous for canoeists, kayakers, or rafters.
  • Seven million acres of ancient rainforest in the Central Coast region of British Columbia, the world’s largest area of unprotected intact temperate rainforest, is earmarked for protection by the government of British Columbia and the First Nations Groups who live there. The Great Bear Rainforest features coastal temperate rainforests, pristine watersheds, rugged shorelines and steep mountainous terrain, ranging from Bute Inlet in the south to the Alaskan panhandle in the north, including Princess Royal Island. This vast and precious area is home to wild salmon, grizzlies, black bears and Kermode (spirit) bears, wolves, eagles and other wildlife.
  • To the south of Bute Inlet is Campbell River, which bills itself as the Salmon Capital of the World. One of the four main fishing centres on Vancouver Island, Campbell River is a convenient departure point for travel to Bute Inlet.
  • Also to the south, and a little closer to Bute Inlet, is Quadra Island, the largest and most populated of the Discovery Islands, best known for its natural and beautiful wilderness scenery and its excellent salmon and freshwater sportfishing. Heriot Bay on the southeast coast of the island provides a good boat departure point for Bute Inlet, as does Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island.


Search Premier Listings
  Misty Isles Adventures, Cortes Island Listing Details 
Misty Isles Adventures is Cortes Island's only sea kayaking outfitter and sailing charter vessel offering guided day paddles, kayak mothership trips, kayak instruction and sea kayak rentals. The 43-foot schooner Misty Isles departs Cortes Island for day sailing and sightseeing explorations of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and mainland inlets. Longer multi-day trips are also available.
 
  Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations, Quadra Island Listing Details 
Wildcoast provides memorable kayak vacations for adventure travellers that combine spectacular scenery, scrumptious food, and abundant wildlife encounters, including whales, dolphins, bears and eagles. Kayak with Killer Whales at our Orca base camp in Johnstone Strait, or take one of our kayak expeditions to Desolation Sound or the Discovery Islands. Our top-rated service caters to both local and international clientele. All kayak tours are fully inclusive and no kayaking experience is required. Only have a day? Visit our storefront for paddleboard and kayak Rentals or Day Tours in the stunning vistas surrounding Quadra Island.
 
  BC Oceanfront: Ed Handja & Shelley McKay, Campbell River Listing Details 
Live, Work & Play Coastal Style
“BC Oceanfront” - Coast Realty’s Residential and Coastal Experts specializing in selling local residential, recreational, unique oceanfront and commercial real estate throughout Vancouver Island, Discovery Islands, the Outer Islands and the BC Mainland Coast. From homes to small oceanfront recreational lots, lakefront, remote island acreages, private islands and resorts – BCO has the Coast covered!
 
  Bluewater Adventures, Vancouver Listing Details 
Explore BC and Southeast Alaska with Bluewater Adventures aboard our 70' yachts sailing the BC Inside Passage, the Queen Charlotte Islands, Gwaii Haanas National Park, the Great Bear Rainforest, and Vancouver Island. You'll see whales, Grizzly, Black and Kermode bears, and experience ancient native villages and Haida culture, primeval forests, wilderness, and amazing coastal wildlife.
 
  Campbell River Whale Watching, Campbell River Listing Details 
Campbell River Whale Watching invites you to experience some of the most spectacular Orca Killer whale watching and wildlife viewing in the world. You can take a Grizzly Tour, go Orca Whale Watching, see Bald Eagles, and experience the life of seals and sea lions on an adventure tour of a lifetime.
 
  Coast Mountain Expeditions, Quadra Island Listing Details 
Lodge based multi-day sea kayaking tours in the Discovery Islands, off Central Vancouver Island. We operate in and around the Discovery Islands, Desolation Sound, and mainland inlets. View marine parks, wildlife, BC's highest mountains, glaciers and waterfalls. Watch grizzly bears from your kayak, paddle with seals, dolphin, and porpoise. Incredible marine inter-tidal life. No experience necessary. We are Canada's longest operating sea kayak company, now entering our 28th year. Recommended by National Geographic as one of Canada's top places to visit. Join us for an adventure of a lifetime!
 
  Dent Island Lodge, Dent Island Listing Details 
Dent Island Lodge is a superb BC salmon fishing & vacation resort, yachting destination, marina and corporate retreat north of Campbell River, adjacent to Vancouver Island off the west coast British Columbia, Canada. Guided fishing charters, protected marina for yachts up to 140 feet, fine gourmet dining room, luxury lodgings.
 
  Dent Island Lodge & Marina, Dent Island Listing Details 
Dent Island Lodge, superb BC, Canada yachting destination. Protected marina featuring 1000 feet of dock, 30, 50 & 100 amp power, fresh water, Wi-Fi, hot tub, sauna, restaurant and lounge. Near Sonora Island, Stuart Island, Bute Inlet off west coast British Columbia adjacent to Vancouver Island. Luxury lodgings, dining, corporate retreats, fishing charters.
 
  Go With The Flow Adventures, Quadra Island Listing Details 
Kayaking tours from Vancouver Island B.C. Canada with Go With The Flow Adventures. Our luxury kayaking tours offer the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. We include gourmet meals with wine, cozy cabin accommodation, hot showers, wood fired cedar hot tub, kayaking equipment, instruction and guiding. No experience necessary. Join us on an journey that washes away the every day!
 
  Island Adventure Centre, Quadra Island Listing Details 
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