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Spend the day at North Beach and revel in the views from Tow Hill and the Blow Hole - Photo: Talon Gillis

Gray Bay is a popular recreational site known for its beachcombing and camping opportunities - Photo: Flavien Mabit

We've got a selection of camping locations just right for you - forest sites thick with carpets of moss, rustic beach campsites and comfortable campgrounds with showers and hook-ups - Photo: Flavien Mabit

Haida Gwaii's got rainforests, beaches and mountains to explore - let's go! - Photo: Alexander A MacDonald

The Pesuta Shipwreck Trail will lead you along East Beach to the scenic remains of the Pesuta, a log ship that ran aground in 1928 - Photo: Alexander A MacDonald

Visit the award-winning Haida Heritage Centre and Museum at Second Beach in Skidegate - Photo: Guy Kimola

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

The Rennell Sound area offers exceptional wilderness camping and short trails for accessing remote west coast beaches - Photo: Guy Kimola

 

Tow Hill and Blow Hole Hikes - North Beach

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

This weekend, a friend and I were inspired to travel to the Masset area and visit Tow Hill and the Blow Hole (about 23km/14miles east of Masset - see below for more detailed directions).

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

We stopped along the way, on Tow Hill Road, at the New Moon Over Naikoon Bakery, approximately 16 km/10 miles east of Masset.

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero                    

The bakery has a covered outdoor eating area with comfortable arm chairs, a bench and even a couple of hammocks strung up in the midst of the surrounding trees.

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero                  

Someone had painstakingly threaded small pieces of driftwood into a curtain of sorts - I would like to return to hear the driftwood moving against each other in a brisk wind! 

We arrived at the Tow Hill parking lot and found that despite the rainy weather, it was a popular destination this weekend!

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

Tow Hill is a unique attraction on Haida Gwaii. The hill rises 400 feet and towers over North Beach. Its face consists of columns of rock formed from eruptions of molten lava approximately 2 million years ago.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos
                   

The trailhead was well marked.  The trail follows the Hiellen River for approximately 100 meters at which time signage directs the hiker to either the Tow Hill or Blow Hole Route. The two trails  connect with eachother mid-way up Tow Hill creating a looped route for hikers wishing to visit both attractions. 

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero 

We chose to take the Tow Hill Route and return via the Blow Hole.                       

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero                        

The 30 minute hike up Tow Hill is of an easy to moderate level of difficulty and is made more accessible by a well maintained boardwalk with stairs. We walked through the rainforest - Huckleberry and Salal bushes were in abundance as were the ferns and mosses carpeting the forest floor. At times, various edible (and inedible) mushrooms can also be found in the area.

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero                

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero             

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero              

At approximately mid-way the trail veers off to a viewing platform overlooking North Beach. We watched several vehicles (presumably 4x4s) driving along the hard-packed sand at a low tide. Although the conditions were not good enough for the camera to capture the scene, there certainly appeared to be a lot of activity on the beach. 

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero            

We continued up the board walk to the summit of Tow Hill. A light mist briefly enshrouded the trees looming above us and then quickly dissipated. 

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero     

Having reached the summit, I was stunned by the magnificence of the scene below from this viewpoint.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

    Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

A not too uncommon sight from the top of the hill is the peregrine falcon, this photo was taken from the lookout platform.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

The descent was an easy and scenic one.

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero

The forest was green and lush and felt alive with the sights, sounds and smells only a rainforest can yield. 

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero

At the junction of the trails, we turned left and headed to the Blow Hole.

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero

The 'Blow Hole', a surge channel, lies at the base of the hill. An underground cave is visible in the channel at very low tides.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

In the right conditions (stormy weather & high tides), water is sprayed forcefully upwards from the channel and onto those awaiting 'the moment'!

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

Photo Credit:  Haida Gwaii Photos

The lava rock beach at the base of Tow Hill and surrounding the Blow Hole is a popular place to explore tidal pools. The return to the parking lot is an easy hike along the boardwalk taking approximately 15 minutes. Benches have recently been added along the walkway - a nice touch.

Photo Credit: Dafne Romero

 

 

If you are visiting Haida Gwaii, consider adding Tow Hill to your list of 'Places to See'.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

Tow Hill - How to Get There?

Tow Hill is approximately a 30 minute drive north east of the turn off to Village of Masset. The paved road passes through the Tow Hill Ecological Reserve area of the Naikoon Provincial Park and turns to gravel. Continue driving past the Agate Beach Campground sign to the Tow Hill Parking Lot next to the Hiellen River bridge.

 

Contact Us

Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre

website: www.queencharlottevisitorcentre.com
email: info@qcinfo.ca | telephone: 250-559-8316

Sandspit Visitor Centre

website: www.lovehaidagwaii.com/businesses/the-sandspit-visitor-centre
email: visitsandspit@gmail.com | telephone: 250.637.5362

Port Clements Visitor Centre

website: www.portclements.ca
email: pcmuseum@qcislands.ca | telephone: 250-557-4576

Masset Visitor Centre

website: www.massetbc.com
email: info@massetbc.com | telephone: 250-626-3982

Haida Gwaii Tourism

Destination Marketing Organization
website: www.gohaidagwaii.ca
email: tourism@gohaidagwaii.ca

Super Natural British Columbia