Haida Gwaii Trip Planning
You might find our visitor map useful while reading this blog. It may help you visualize the layout of our island communities while you plan your travels around Haida Gwaii.
In planning your trip to Haida Gwaii, the following information may provide you with the details you need for traveling time and ability to connect with local service providers prior to your visit.
Access to Haida Gwaii is by air or water. Two airlines provide regular daily scheduled flights to Haida Gwaii. For those with family and friends here, you may have transportation available to you for sightseeing.
If time is a factor, you may wish to fly into Masset or Sandspit and rent a vehicle for sightseeing or if you want to maximize your experience, consider a charter tour service for on-land and/or remote area tours.
For those traveling by BC Ferries (approximately 7 hours from Prince Rupert), you might consider bringing a vehicle for the convenience and economic savings of visiting the numerous attractions on Graham and Moresby Island which are accessible by road. You will also want to ensure that you reserve passage on the ferry in advance and remember to factor in the extra day travel to and from Prince Rupert.
BC Ferries also provides a small ferry service between Skidegate Landing and Alliford Bay (neighbouring the community of Sandspit). The 20-minute ferry ride to Alliford Bay ‘opens the doors’ for visitors to access the numerous recreational opportunities on Moresby Island.
Guy Kimola / Haida Gwaii Photos
How much time should I allow?
In general, if you have planned your visit and booked your accommodation and tours in advance, you could comfortably visit the primary attractions on Haida Gwaii over a period of a week outside of travel days. Check our 'What to Do' Directory for more information.
If you would like to visit Gwaii Haanas, you will additionally need to factor this into your itinerary. Tours to Gwaii Haanas include kayaking, sailing and power boating with zodiac tours being very popular and varying in length. Check our tour operator directory for more info on local Gwaii Haanas tour providers.
What are the attractions?
Haida Gwaii is known for its outstanding hospitality and the friendliness of its people - a visit to any of the trendy coffee shops or restaurants will quickly introduce you to the locals who are a wealth of information on 'what to see'.
You'll want to include a visit to the award-winning Haida Heritage Centre as well as the various museums featuring cultural, agricultural, logging and maritime artifacts. Local art studios, galleries and gift shops are a must as is a visit to the farmers markets located in almost every community. Remember to book time for a scenic hike through the rainforest and a day at the beach - think picnics, glass fishing floats, agates and shell collecting! More information on these attractions can be found in our 'What to Do' directory.
A visit to Haida Gwaii isn't complete without a Gwaii Haanas tour and you'll want to ensure, if at all possible, that your tour includes SGang Gwaay (Ninstints), the UNESCO Heritage Site. Single and multiple day tours of the park are offered by permitted Gwaii Haanas tour operators. These tours should be booked in advance as many are dependent upon a minimum number of confirmed guests.
Another option for a Gwaii Haanas tour is Inland Air which provides chartered flights to Gwaii Haanas as well as a flight-seeing service.
An alternative to planning your own trip, might be to book an ‘All-Inclusive Tour’ which includes return travel to Haida Gwaii, land tours and tours to the Haida Heritage sites in Gwaii Haanas. You could leave the trip planning to someone who specializes in making your visit memorable.
Haida Gwaii is accessible only by air or water. Visitors can travel around Haida Gwaii by vehicle (you can bring your own or rent a vehicle on Haida Gwaii).
The primary road on Haida Gwaii, Highway 16, is approximately 113km (70mi) long and connects all communities on Graham Island from Masset in the north to Queen Charlotte in the south. The highway is paved and in relatively good condition.
A 20-minute ferry transports vehicles and passengers between Skidegate Landing on Graham Island (near Queen Charlotte) and Alliford Bay on Moresby Island, connecting the Graham Island communities with the community of Sandspit. The 22km (13mi) road from Alliford Bay ferry terminal through Sandspit is the only paved road on Moresby Island.
Haida Gwaii Tourism
There are an extensive network of gravel roads on Moresby and Graham Islands, which access a variety of hiking trails and campgrounds. Some of these roads are used by logging traffic, so it is important to have up-to-date information before heading out. The Visitor Centres in Queen Charlotte and Sandspit are great resources for road information and maps.
There is no islands-wide public transit on the islands, however a shuttle does meet travelers at the Sandspit airport and travels to each of the communities on Graham Island. Taxis can be found in Sandspit and on Graham Island. More information on these services can be found in our directory as well as our website information for 'Getting Here and Around'
It is best to book the shuttle or taxis in advance whenever possible. Chartered tours of the islands are also available.
Biking is another great way to get around. Bikes are available for rent in Sandspit, Queen Charlotte and Masset, and are especially popular for day trips to the Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate, a hour bike ride from Queen Charlotte.
Haida Gwaii has many choices in accommodation. Options range from 'rooms with a view' to rustic cabins on the beach. The summer is a busy season so please book ahead. Check our accommodation directory for profiles and contact information.
Dorothy & Mike's Guesthouse
You may wish to include some of the island events in your itinerary - these range from a music festival, agricultural fair and sporting events to community and cultural celebrations. See our website for annual event dates and location.