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Porteau Cove Provincial Park
Attention Visitors – Important Notice!
Caution in the dive area
Please be aware that two of the dive area marker buoys are not in place the moment. Park users of this area are advised to use additional caution until the buoys are reinstalled.
Park visitors should be aware of an excavation project currently underway across from the park between the hours of 7am – 4pm. Minor noise and vibration disruption may occur during this time.
Seven consecutive night maximum stay policy in effect
Due to the popularity and size of the campground, BC Parks has implemented a maximum stay policy of seven consecutive nights in the peak season in this park (June 15 to Labour Day, inclusive).
About This Park
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)
Know Before You Go
- 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.
- Due to popularity and size of the campground, BC Parks has implemented a maximum stay policy of 7 nights in the peak season in this park (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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 FeesPlease 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.
Location and Maps
Maps and Brochures
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.
Activities Available at this Park
No harvesting or collection of marine life within the park foreshore boundary. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Pets on Leash
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.
Facilities Available at this Park
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.
Cabins / Huts
Porteau Cove Olympic Legacy CabinsThe 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.
Pit or Flush Toilets
Vehicle Accessible Camping
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.