Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Please Note: During a campfire ban, smoking is restricted in all public areas of a park or protected area. Please read this Information Bulletin [PDF 79KB].
Activites and Facilities Available in this Park - Click icon to view
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park

Hesquiat Peninsula Provincial Park

About This Park

Hesquiat Peninsula Provincial Park Hesquiat Peninsula Provincial Park is situated on the west coast of Vancouver Island and occupies most of the eastern shore of Nootka Sound. This park is a significant tourism corridor for rugged coastal hiking, boating and sea kayaking and is home to the heritage attraction known as Cougar Annie’s Garden.

In 1915, the pioneer settler known as Cougar Annie arrived on the west coast in Hesquiat Harbour and homesteaded on this wilderness property. She bore 8 of her 11 children here, outlasted 4 husbands and carved a magnificent, magical garden out of five acres of this thick and foreboding rainforest. This garden is now one of British Columbia’s premier heritage gardens and tours can be arranged at Boat Basin.

This prominent low-elevation peninsula is a significant wilderness area protecting heritage sites, representative old-growth forest stands of Sitka spruce, lodgepole pine, white pine and yellow-cedar and a freshwater lake. The park also encompasses a variety of coastal ecosystems including extensive off-shore reefs, boulder, cobble and sand beaches, sea caves, sheltered bays, kelp beds and mudflats.

This wilderness park has numerous hazards and is in a remote area of the coast. Kayaking and hiking along the shores of the Hesquiat Peninsula is recommended for experienced paddlers and hikers only. This undeveloped wilderness park has no facilities, however backcountry camping is allowed.


Park Size: 7,888 hectares (6,689 ha upland and 1,199 ha foreshore)

Stay Safe:
  • Due to the low elevation of the peninsula and off-shore reefs there are navigational hazards for small boats traveling close to shore. Visitors can arrange to be dropped off by boat from Gold River and picked up from Boat Basin at the head of Hesquiat Harbour. This coastal route is along the beaches and over rocks, crossing creeks along the way – there is no trail and hikers must pass through several Indian Reserves along the way.
  • Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park. All surface water in the park must be boiled, filtered or treated prior to consumption.
  • This park doesn’t have a boat launch. The nearest boat launch is at the Fourth Street Dock in Tofino.
  • There is an outdoor school offering a variety of educational programs for outdoor adventurers.
    Click here to view Hooksom Outdoor School’s web link
    , for additional information.
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Location and Maps

Please note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation. Hesquiat Peninsula is located in the northwestern part of Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The park is situated between Nootka Sound and Hesquiat Harbour and is accessible by boat and float plane from Hot Springs Cove, Tofino, Tahsis and Gold River.

Maps and Brochures

Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
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Nature and Culture

  • History: In 1915, the pioneer settler known as Cougar Annie arrived on the west coast in Hesquiat Harbour and homesteaded on this wilderness property. She bore 8 of her 11 children here, outlasted 4 husbands and carved a magnificent, magical garden out of a thick and foreboding rainforest. The remoteness of the area brought inherent risks to Annie and her family; cougars prowled endlessly nearby, sensing easy prey. Ada Annie Rae-Arthur shot and trapped dozens of the animals and thus emerged the legend of Cougar Annie. This garden is now one of British Columbia’s premier heritage gardens. Surrounded by the tall trees of the West Coast rainforest, Cougar Annie’s garden is a place of strange and compelling beauty. From this remote location, Annie ran a nursery garden and shipped countless varieties of plants across Canada. For decades she advertised her wares (and occasionally for husbands) in the Western Producer and in the Winnipeg Free Press. The garden consists of a five-acre clearing, criss-crossed with more than two kilometres of meandering pathways and dotted with outbuildings that once housed goats and chickens. Resurrected from a tangle of salal, Scotch broom, and salmonberry, this garden has endured for nearly 100 years. The survival and the continuity of the garden make it an important heritage site. No other pioneer homestead in Clayoquot Sound remains in private hands and no other garden of this scope exists on the West Coast.
  • Cultural Heritage: There are many First Nations cultural heritage sites in Hesquiat Peninsula Park, including middens.
  • Conservation: This prominent low-elevation peninsula is a significant wilderness area protecting heritage sites, representative old-growth forest stands of Sitka spruce, lodgepole pine, white pine and yellow-cedar and a freshwater lake. The park also encompasses a variety of coastal ecosystems including extensive off-shore reefs, boulder, cobble and sand beaches, sea caves, sheltered bays, kelp beds and mudflats.
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Management Planning

Management Planning Information

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Activities Available at this Park

Canoeing

Canoeing

Kayaking along the shores of the exposed Hesquiat Peninsula is recommended for experienced paddlers only. Most of the kayaking is done within Hesquiat Harbour. Kayakers can launch at the First Street Dock in Tofino. Charter boats can also be hired to transport kayaks to this area. Due to the park’s exposure, canoeing is not recommended.
Fishing

Fishing

The waters of Clayoquot Sound may contain a variety of fish species, including salmon, rockfish, halibut and lingcod. Fishing is permitted as per provincial and federal fishing regulations. All anglers should check the current regulations issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada prior to fishing. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Rockfish Conservation Areas occur within this park. Fishing activities are limited in Rockfish Conservation Areas. Before you go fishing please refer to the Rockfish Conservation Area descriptions available from Fisheries and Oceans Canada DFO.
Hiking

Hiking

There are no developed trails at this park, but coastal hiking opportunities do exist, and a number of hardy souls hike from the top of the peninsula (Escalante Point) to Boat Basin every summer. This coastal route is along the beaches and over rocks, crossing creeks and deep surge channels along the way. There are also several Indian Reserves to pass through. For your own safety and the preservation of the park keep to previously used paths if possible. Shortcutting destroys plant life and soil structure.
Hunting

Hunting

Portions of this park are open to hunting for specific species. Hunters must have valid licences and tags. Please refer to current printed BC Hunting and Trapping Regulations and Synopsis publication for closures and regulations.
Pets on Leash

Pets on Leash

Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times. You are responsible for their behaviour, and must pack out and dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears, cougars, and wolves.
Swimming

Swimming

There is no designated swimming area at this park, however swimming opportunities do exist. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
Windsurfing

Windsurfing

Hesquiat Peninsula Provincial Park is a popular destination for surfers. Tour companies offer surf trips from Tahsis and Tofino.
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Facilities Available at this Park

Campfires

Campfires

While small fires are allowed, we encourage visitors to conserve the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using stoves instead. If you do have a fire use small pieces of wood that will burn completely. Build your fires below the high tide mark. Never build fires next to or near beach logs. Never leave your fire unattended and practice “Leave No Trace” camping ethics.
Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

There are no designated campsites at this park, however random wilderness camping is allowed. No facilities are provided and there is no fee. Hesquiat Peninsula is accessible year round; there is no winter camping fee at this time. Please practice “Leave No Trace” camping ethics.
Winter Camping

Winter Camping

Hesquiat Peninsula is accessible year round; there is no winter camping fee at this time. Please practice “Leave No Trace” camping ethics.