Raft Cove Provincial Park
Please note, as of November 7, 2014:
- Due to recent rain events causing flooding and potential road failures, the San Josef Main and Ronning Main Forest Service Roads are CLOSED. Visitors cannot access the Parking Lot and Trailhead.
- Please check back for updated information as it becomes available.
Know Before You Go
- The first 300 metres of the Raft Cove Trail fall outside the park boundary and hikers should use caution when traversing this portion of the trail into the Cove.
- Surfers should be aware there are extremely dangerous undercurrents in this location.
About This ParkIsolated Raft Cove Provincial Park on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island is wonderfully scenic, attracting wilderness adventurers on day hikes or backpackers carrying in overnight gear to set up camp on the long crescent shaped sandy beach.
This undeveloped, rustic park features a long spit and sandy bay at the mouth of the meandering Macjack River, rocky headlands and a wild coastal environment. Visitors should dress warmly and bring good rain gear at any time of the year, as Raft Cove is extremely exposed to the Pacific weather systems that pound this rugged coastline. Waterproof clothing is a must if you hope to stay dry.
Wilderness camping on the beach is popular at this park, as is surfing, fishing and hiking. During low tides, long shore walks over rock and beach can be made north or south of Raft Cove, at the edge of the pounding Pacific surf.
Access to the beach from the road is via a rugged 2-km route that cuts through coastal old-growth forest of hemlock, western red cedar and Sitka spruce. This unmaintained route has some challenging sections and is extremely muddy in areas.
Special Features: Raft Cove has an estuary at the mouth of the Macjack River, which offers visitors the chance to see river otters and waterfowl.
Park Size: 787 hectares
- Access to this park is by active logging roads. The chance of encountering loaded logging trucks while traveling these roads is highly likely. Logging trucks have the right of way; vehicles must yield to logging trucks and use pullouts when possible.
- Be bear aware and practice wildlife safety.
- Surface water is extremely limited in this park, so be sure to bring drinking water with you. Any water found in streams in the park must be boiled, treated or filtered prior to consumption.
- Exposed coastline is hazardous - be wave and weather wise. Show respect for surf and waves. Watch for unusually large ‘rogue’ waves that occasionally hit the beach. These waves are capable of pulling a person into the water. Keep children away from the surf.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only - they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Maps and BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only - they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
- Park Map
- Topographical Maps are available at local sporting goods stores and other outlets. For this park, see topographical map #102-1/9.
Nature and Culture
- Conservation - Raft Cove contains features characteristic of the Nahwitti Lowland Landscape such as rounded hills, poorly drained areas, rugged coastline and western hemlock and western red cedar forests. Other park features include a river estuary and a long spit and crescent-shaped sandy beach.
- Wildlife - Raft Cove is home to a significant population of black bears, who forage along the creek beds and beach in the park. Wolves, cougars, Black-tailed deer, raccoons, river otters, red squirrels and a variety of bird species can also be found in the area.
Management PlanningManagement Planning Information
- The approved Management Plan [PDF 239.39KB] for Raft Cove Provincial Park is available in PDF format.
This is NOT the original management planning product. This document has been scanned from the original format of the plan. It may contain some formatting changes, however the content is consistent with the original.
Activities Available at this Park
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. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
The trail from the parking lot in to the main beach is approximately 2 km long and takes on average 40 minutes. This trail has some challenging sections and is extremely muddy in areas. It receives minimal or no maintenance. At the end of the trail you will find yourself at the northwest end of the main beach, which stretches more than 2 km to the mouth of the Macjack River. 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/domestic animals must be on a leash and under control all times. 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. Pet owners should ensure their dogs do not enter streams used for drinking water as they can be carriers of Giardia. Please water your pet well away from drinking water sources.
There are SCUBA diving and snorkelling opportunities for self-equipped parties. There are no SCUBA rentals available in the park.
There is no designated swimming area at this park. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
Raft Cove offers visitors spectacular views of a rugged west coast beach environment. The park’s exposure and impressive waves make it a great place for storm watching. Visitors may also spot a variety of wildlife in the area, including river otters, black bears, cougars and wolves.
The ocean currents are too rough for windsurfing opportunities but board-surfing at Raft Cove is becoming increasingly popular with surfers trying to find new surfing challenges and opportunities. The remoteness of this park, along with good waves, makes it a great place to surf without a lot of other people.
Facilities Available at this Park
While fires are allowed, we encourage visitors to conserve the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using stoves instead. If you must use a campfire, please practice “Leave No Trace” camping ethics.
Pit or Flush Toilets
There are 2 open-air pit toilets are available at the main beach.
Backcountry (beach) and walk-in camping is allowed, but no facilities other than simple pit toilets and food caches are provided. There is no camping fee. This park is accessible year round.