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Go Haida Gwaii


Rose Spit - where the Hecate Strait meets Dixon Entrance - Photo: Owen Perry

The rainforest experience - moss carpeted paths, a lingering scent of fresh cedar and the sounds of silence - Photo: Owen Perry

Step into another world as you tour ancient Haida village sites in Gwaii Haanas - Photo: Owen Perry


A Day at North Beach on Haida Gwaii

North Beach is approximately a 30 minute drive north east of the Village of Masset. The spectacular drive along Tow Hill Road could be deemed an attraction in itself. The narrow road winds through old growth forest with ‘old man’s beard’ hanging from the branches and carpets of thick moss lining the forest floor.

Photo: Brodie Guy

North Beach is a playground for the adventurous! From watersports to food gathering, this area is a popular gathering spot. It is also the site of the annual Surfing Expression Session in November. I had so enjoyed my introduction to last year's Surfing Expression Session, that I wanted to build on that experience in 2013. Along with a few friends, I made plans to camp at Agate Beach this November weekend. A series of unfortunate events put the winter camping plan on hold…for now.  I was disappointed but North Beach held so many other options for activities that my disappointment wasn’t long-lasting.

Photo: Guy Kimola/Haida Gwaii Photos

Saturday morning brought blue skies and sunshine for the ‘Grom’ (under 18) lessons. The conditions weren’t ‘epic’ for the experienced surfers but they were perfect for beginners. Families visited on the beach while the Groms (and their mentors) enjoyed themselves in the frigid water well protected by the wetsuits provided by North Beach Surf Shop.

Throughout the day, surfers dropped in to check out the conditions, socialize and grab a bowl of chili and a hot drink. I found Cory Millard preparing his handmade surfboard for a dip. Cory, an experienced surfer, is well known, on and off islands, for his quality workmanship and fine-looking handmade wooden surfboards. I hope to introduce you to Cory (aka Chinook Surfboards), in a blog in the near future.

While my son, Matt, headed for the water with his board, I walked along the beach feeling the warmth of the sun starting to creep through the crisp morning air. 

I took advantage of the close proximity of the Tow Hill and Blow Hole hikes. It's just a few minutes' walk back from North Beach to the Tow Hill parking lot and trailhead. The walk to the Blow Hole is approximately 15 minutes along a well maintained trail and boardwalk leading through the rainforest alongside the Hiellen River. I was very pleased to discover that since my last visit (a year ago), the boardwalk had been extended all the way to the Blow Hole, complete with a viewing platform. The attraction is now completely wheelchair accessible.

The Blow Hole is a surge channel which at mid to high tides, when accompanied by a hard north-west wind, can send impressive volumes of spray shooting upwards.

After spending a fair amount of time trying unsuccessfully, to photograph a satisfactory ‘spray’, I thought that a hike up Tow Hill might make me feel better. The boardwalk leading to Tow Hill joins the Blow Hole walkway at the point where the forest and beach meet.  The Tow Hill walk is approximately 30 minutes to the top and is a moderately easy climb up stairs and along a wooden boardwalk.

Aside from the lovely walk through the rainforest, the highlights of the hike include the view from the two cliffside platforms.

Photo: Guy Kimola / Haida Gwaii Photos 

The first platform (about mid-way) provides a stunning view of North Beach while the platform at the top of Tow Hill, overlooks Agate Beach and Yakan Point.

Photo: Guy Kimola / Haida Gwaii Photos 

I returned to the parking lot and made my way back to North Beach. My return was well timed as Matt was ready to call it a day.

There is so much more that one can do at North Beach including the 2 day Cape-Fife trail leading around Rose Spit over beaches and a wagon road from the days of the early homesteading settlers. I would like to hike (and blog about) this trail in the upcoming months – so, stay tuned!

When visiting Haida Gwaii, you’ll want to include at least a day on North Beach and check out the Tow Hill and Blow Hole hikes. Water sport equipment can be rented at North Beach Surf Shop in Masset.

Consider an oceanfront cabin along Tow Hill Road and take all the time you need to relax and rejuvenate. 

Photo: Guy Kimola / Haida Gwaii Photos


Contact Us

Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250-559-8316

Sandspit Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250.637.5362

Port Clements Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250-557-4576

Masset Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250-626-3982

Haida Gwaii Tourism

Destination Marketing Organization

Super Natural British Columbia