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
Park Contact This park proudly operated by:
Sea to Sky Park Services Ltd
Phone: 604-986-9371
Email: info@seatoskyparks.com

For additional information, click here for the Sea to Sky Park Services website.

Porteau Cove Provincial Park

  • December 9, 2016: Due to sustained storm winds gusting over 80 kph we have temporarily closed the campground. The day-use area remains open. We will continue to monitor the wind and once speeds are less than 60 kph sustained in the campground we will reopen it as quickly as possible and remove this message.
  • Sani-Station Winter Service:
    “The sani station will remain open unless freezing temperatures are forecasted in which case it will close prior to freezing temperatures. During periods of freezing weather, the sani station will remain closed until the freezing temperatures subside and the temperatures remain above freezing over a 24 hour period.”
  • *New* Winter reservations available:
    “Reservations are now available during the winter season in sites 10-22.
    Sites 1-9, and 23-30 will remain first come, first serve except during the winter holidays when the park is fully reserveable:
    • Winter holidays: December 16 – January 1.
    • Family Day long weekend: February 10 – February 13.
  • During the winter holidays, and Family Day long weekend, all the campground loops will be open, and all campsites will be reserveable. First come, first serve campsites will not be available during these holidays. Reservations are strongly recommended during these busy times.
  • Reduced winter rates and services apply from November 13 – February 28. Gatehouse opens daily for a short period of time for firewood sales and registration. Hours posted in park. On-site security remains year-round.

Know Before You Go

  • Septic System: Porteau Cove is on a septic system, including the sani-station and washroom buildings. Antibacterial soaps and harsh chemicals destroy the health and functionality of the system. Please help protect the septic system and the water quality by using only biodegradable soaps during your stay.

    Sani-Station – Winter Service: The sani station will remain open unless freezing temperatures are forecasted. During periods of freezing weather, the sani station will be closed until the temperatures remain above freezing over a 24 hour period.
  • Marine Conservation: Exploring the beach and diving/snorkelling can be a rewarding experience at Porteau Cove. Please practise leave no trace ethics when observing marine life at the park by leaving everything as you find it and by not removing or handling the wildlife. Beach fires are not permitted. Please see gatehouse at the campground for upcoming interpretive demonstrations and events!
  • Stargazing and Aurora Borealis viewing is becoming increasingly popular at Porteau Cove. Please help reduce light pollution in the park to enhance stargazing enjoyment by avoiding the use of bright lights and turning off exterior lights between 10pm and 7am.
  • Due to the close proximately of campsites at this park, please ensure music and loud voices are kept within your campsite at all times to provide visitors with the opportunity to experience the sounds of nature, and to protect and enhance the soundscape of the park.
  • Plan ahead/carpool: Due to high volumes of traffic and the small size of the park, there is limited parking available. One additional vehicle is permitted per campsite for an additional fee. There is a maximum of 2 vehicles per campsite at any time. Walk-in campsites have only 1 vehicle space per site at anytime. Drop-offs cannot be accommodated due to safety hazard of park road becoming restricted. Additional parking is available in the day-use parking lot, but extra spaces may not be available on weekends. Visitors must register if they stay in the park past 11pm and display a valid permit on their vehicle. Non-registered guests are not permitted in the park past 11pm.
  • Please note: Quiet Hours are 10 pm to 7 am: Music, generators, etc. must be shut off completely between these hours.

About This Park

Porteau Cove Provincial ParkPhotoGallery
Situated on the most southerly fjord in North America, Porteau Cove Provincial Park features waterfront campsites with a view over Howe Sound to the mountains beyond. An old ship has been sunk to provide interest for Scuba divers and to attract marine life. There are special facilities for divers. Adjacent train tracks are active and occasional noise disturbance may occur.

Date Established: July 24, 1981

Park Size: 56 hectares (4 hectares of upland and 52 hectares of foreshore)

Special Notes: Due to popularity and size of the campground, campers are only allowed to stay in this park up to a maximum of 7 nights during the peak season (June 15 to Labour Day inclusive). Reservations are made through BC Parks’ Discover Camping Reservation System.

Leave No Trace: Exploring the rocky beach at Porteau Cove can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but fishing, shellfish harvesting or removal of other marine life is not allowed. Please minimize your disturbance by leaving everything as you find it.

Stay Safe: Tide, wind and weather conditions can change suddenly in Howe Sound. Use caution while swimming and boating in this area.
  • Please ensure children are supervised while on the emergency ferry pier.
  • Scuba divers are not permitted to use the boat launch.
  • The BC Rail train track skirts the boundary of the park. Entering the park requires crossing the train track. This is a controlled train crossing, use caution and obey all signs.
  • There are 2 low tide markers near the floating dock which are not mooring buoys and mark very shallow water. Anchoring is prohibited within the park boundary.

Public Pay Phones The public pay phones are no longer available. They have been removed during the adjacent highway construction and there is no information available as to when this service will be reinstated.

Campground Dates of Operation
All dates are subject to change without notice
Opening and Closing Campground Dates:
(campground is accessible but may not offer full services such as water, security, etc.)
Year round
Winter Camping Fee:
November 14 – February 28; reduced services.
(gate is open during off-season)
Campground Dates with Full Services and Fees: March 1 – November 13
Campground Reservable Dates: Sites 10 to 22: reservable year round
Sites 1 to 9 and 23 to 30: March 24 to November 12 and December 16 – January 1 and February 10 – February 12 and March 1 – November 12
Sites 31 to 44 and Walk-in Sites W1 to W16: March 24 to November 12 and December 16 – January 1 and February 10 – February 12 and March 1 – November 12
Total Number of Campsites: 44 vehicle accessible and 16 park/walk-in sites
Number of Reservable Campsites, if applicable:
campgrounds are 100% reservable
Note: The above information is for the campground only. Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit. Check the "Attention Visitor Notice" above for park alerts.

Reservations

All campsite reservations must be made through Discover Camping. When reservations are not available all campsites function as first come, first served.

Make A Reservation

Campsite Reservations:
This park is open year-round and is usually full during good weather. Campsite reservations are required for all campsites in this park from March 24 to October 9.

Marine Fees

Please note: There are 2 low tide markers near the floating dock which are not mooring buoys and mark very shallow water. Anchoring is prohibited within the park boundary.
Mooring (to buoy) Fee: $12.00 per vessel / night
Dock Facilities Use Fee: $2.00 per metre / night
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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. 38 km north of Vancouver on Hwy 99, 20 km south of Squamish, 8.5 km south of Britannia Beach. Other nearby communities include Brackendale and Lions Bay.

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: When “Porteau” (porte d’eau) is translated from French into English it means “Water’s Gate”. This name dates from 1908 when John F. Deeks began mining the extensive sand and gravel deposits here to supply Vancouver. A small community of employees lived here until the beginning of the Depression, enjoying good housing, a schoolhouse, tennis courts, and daily ferry service from the Union Steamship Company. These ferries, Lady Cynthia and Lady Cecilia, operated between Vancouver and Squamish until the railway (then the Pacific Great Eastern) was extended from Squamish into North Vancouver.
  • Conservation: You are visiting the intertidal home of hundreds of living plants and animals. Please protect your marine resources by leaving them as you find them.
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Management Planning

Management Planning Information
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Activities Available at this Park

Canoeing

Canoeing

Canoeing and kayaking are available in ocean area; know the ocean currents. The nearest kayak/canoe rentals are in Squamish.
Cycling

Cycling

Bicycles must keep to roadways and trails. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Fishing

Fishing

Outside the park boundary, fish for salmon. It is illegal to fish for cod, rockfish and other finfish in Howe Sound, area 28-4. http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/tidal-maree/a-s28-eng.html No harvesting or collection of marine life within the park foreshore boundary. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Hiking

Hiking

There is an easy walking trail to a lookout that overlooks Porteau Cove and Howe Sound. There is a slight elevation gain with a series of rock and wooden steps. The walk to the lookout is approximately 300 metres. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
Pets on Leash

Pets on Leash

Pets/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must 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.
Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving

A series of man-made reefs and two sunken vessels provide excellent scuba diving opportunities. Depths vary from 6m to 18m (20’ to 60’). Be cautious of changing tides and strong in and outflow winds. Penetration of vessels is not recommended. The diving area is marked by a series of marker buoys. Various fascinating marine life has established itself throughout the dive area. Harvesting or harassment of marine life is prohibited within the park’s marine foreshore. Diving from a boat is prohibited within the park boundary.

There is an outdoor shower available in the day-use area from March 1 to November 12.

There are steps that lead down to the water’s edge that are located in the main parking lot. Please use proper etiquette when changing into and out dive gear in the parking lots, and avoid gear sprawl that inhibits vehicular traffic. Commercial diving such as providing instruction and guiding is prohibited unless authorized by a Park Use Permit.
Swimming

Swimming

The park has a rock and pebble beach for ocean swimming; sneakers or beach shoes are recommended. A series of man-made reefs and two sunken vessels provide excellent scuba diving opportunities. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

A short walking trail leads to a lookout which provides a spectacular view of Howe Sound and Porteau Cove. There are also good views of marine waterfowl and harbour seals, harbour porpoises, river otters, mink, coyotes, racoons, and from spring to fall: orcas, gray whales and humpback whales. Every two years, pink salmon spawn in the estuary in the park.
Windsurfing

Windsurfing

The strong winds of Howe Sound can create excellent windsurfing opportunities. A very popular windsurfing area known as the “Spit” is located in Squamish at the confluence of the Squamish River and Howe Sound.
Winter Recreation

Winter Recreation

Day-use is open with limited facilities. Winter camping is permitted, but services are limited. Only portions of the campground may be vehicle accessible; access may be restricted due to snow fall.
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Facilities Available at this Park

Boat Launch

Boat Launch

There are two (2) paved double-wide boat launches. It may not be possible to launch during low tide. It may be difficult to launch during the winter months due to the high volumes of driftwood that accumulate on the boat launches. There is parking available for vehicles and trailers in the day-use area. Boats are prohibited in the Dive Area. There is also one mooring buoy and a float available for moorage in the small cove.
Please note:
There are 2 low tide markers near the floating dock which are not mooring buoys and mark very shallow water. Anchoring is prohibited within the park boundary.
Mooring (to buoy) Fee: $12.00 per vessel / night
Dock Facilities Use Fee: $2.00 per metre / night
Cabins / Huts / Yurts

Cabins / Huts / Yurts

Porteau Cove Olympic Legacy Cabins

The Olympic Legacy cabins were built by Pioneer Log Homes of Williams Lake, BC and used during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games at Simon Fraser University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology as information kiosks and a showcase of BC Parks.

Each cabin has one bedroom and a loft, a private kitchen and a bathroom. All linens will be supplied. Occupancy for the cabins has been set at a maximum of four (4) people.

For further information and rates, please visit www.seatoskyparks.com
Reservations for the cabins at Porteau Cove Provincial Park can be made by calling 604-986-9371.
Campfires

Campfires

Campfires are permitted in designated fire rings only. Beach fires are not permitted. Firewood is available for sale, or park visitors may opt to bring their own. Collection and burning of driftwood is prohibited. Beach wood is an essential component of the inter-tidal zone. Collection and burning of woody debris such as leaves, branches etc. is also prohibited. Trees and woody debris provide critical habitat for wildlife and put important nutrients back into the soil. Winds off the ocean blow campfire smoke into adjacent campsites, so please respect your neighbours and their air quality.
Drinking Water

Drinking Water

Cold water taps are located in both the day-use and campground areas. Park visitors are requested not to wash dishes at the water taps. Taps are shut off during the low season.
Electrical Hookups

Electrical Hookups

Each site provides 30 amp service with one standard RV receptacle (NEMA TT-30) and one 15 amp standard household receptacle (NEMA 5). There is an additional electrical service charge of $8/night for these sites (whether the power is in use or not).
Picnic Areas

Picnic Areas

This park has a day-use/picnic area. There is a beach that is mostly pebbled and rocky with large driftwood. There are several picnic tables located along the ocean front of Howe Sound. There can be quite strong in and out flow winds along the Howe Sound. Garbage bins are provided. There are no covered shelters or change houses in the day-use area. Flush toilets are available. There are no fire pits. Some picnic tables have barbeque attachments. Pets must be on a leash at all times. The gate is locked between the hours of 11pm and 7 am.
Pit or Flush Toilets

Pit or Flush Toilets

There are pit and flush toilets located in the campground, and only flush toilets in the day-use area. During low-season, only pit toilets are available for use in the campground. The day-use area is open year round and has flush toilets available which are located in the small upper parking located adjacent to Highway 99.
Sani-Station/Dump

Sani-Station/Dump

A sani-station/dump is available in this park all year, although, due to freezing, the water may be shut off during low season. It is located just past the gatehouse at the entrance to the campground. There are hose hook-ups for campers and trailers located at the sani-station. There are also sani-stations located in Squamish and Brackendale area.
Sani-station Use Fee: $5.00 per discharge
Showers

Showers

There is a shower building located in the campground that provides hot water and electrical outlets for hair dryers, razors etc.
Vehicle Accessible Camping

Vehicle Accessible Camping

This park offers forty-four (44) vehicle accessible campsites, five (5) of which are double sites and two (2) are pull-through sites. There are also walk-in campsites. There is extra parking in the day-use lot available for a fee. The closest store is in Britannia Beach, approximately 10 minutes north by car. Campsite reservations are accepted during the summer months and first-come, first-serve sites are available in the off-season.

Please note: This park is extremely popular and busy during peak-season months (beginning the May long weekend through to Thanksgiving weekend). Reservations are highly recommended as drop-in sites are usually difficult to acquire.
Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $35.00/party/night camping fee plus $8.00 electrical/night = $43.00/party/night
BC Senior’s Rate (day after Labour Day to June 14 only): $17.50 per senior party/night plus $8.00 electrical/night = $25.50/party/night. Read the User Fees Policy for information on Senior Camping Discounts.
Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

Walk-In/Wilderness Camping

There are sixteen (16) walk-in campsites are available. There is a flat path to the camping area, approximately 5 minutes from the parking lot. The majority of these campsites are small, ocean front sites, due to their small size the maximum occupancy per walk in site is 4 people and a limit of 1 tent per site. There are no picnic tables at these campsites, only sitting benches. There are communal fire rings. These sites are located adjacent to a popular grassy, marine cove day-use area. Garbage bins are provided. There are no flush toilets located within this campground area, however there are two pit toilets.
Walk/Cycle-in Frontcountry Camping Fee: $20.00 per party / night. Max party size of 4.
BC Senior’s Rate (day after Labour Day to June 14 only): $10.00 per senior party/night. Read the User Fees Policy for information on Senior Camping Discounts.
Wheelchair Access

Wheelchair Access

There are both flush and pit toilets for disabled visitors. No sites are designated specifically for the disabled, however, most sites are comprised of small crushed gravel which does allow for wheelchair mobility. The BC Ferries Emergency Ferry Pier located within the main day-use area provides a paved walkway to provide viewing opportunities of Howe Sound. There are disabled parking stalls. A few of the picnic tables are on paved table pads.
Winter Camping

Winter Camping

For winter camping, campsites 1 through 30 are open, campsites 31 though 44 and all walk in campsites are closed. The washroom/shower buildings are closed. Potable water is available at one standpipe outside the campground washroom, sani-station will remain open unless temperatures drop below freezing in which case it will close.
Winter Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee (Nov 14 to Feb 28): $18.00/party/night camping fee plus $8.00 electrical/night = $26.00/party/night
BC Senior’s Winter Rate (November 14 to February 28): $17.50 per senior party/night plus $8.00 electrical/night = $25.50/party/night. Read the User Fees Policy for information on Senior Camping Discounts.