Discovering the Hiking Trails of Quadra Island, British Columbia



Quadra Island, near Campbell River on Vancouver Island’s east coast, is off the radar for many people. Thank goodness. Quadra’s natural beauty and low-key vibe are heavenly. While the sheltered bay at Rebecca Spit is popular with boaters, the rest of the island, particularly its great hiking trails are amazingly peaceful. After 6 days of kayaking in the Broughton Archipelago we were ready for landlubber activities. The photos and descriptions below are just a tiny sample of Quadra’s trails.  

Shellaligin Pass



One of many gorgeous coves along Shellaligin Trail–C.Helbig

In my obsession about getting a good workout by slogging up a peak, we nearly dismissed this little seaside gem. Our host at the lovely Chipperfield Hollow B&B  pushed Shellaligin Pass and I’m so glad we heeded his advice. I’m not sure why the word “pass” is used because the trail is an easy-going loop along coastline and through forests with minimal elevation gain. The 3-5 km trail (depending on whether you do the short or long loop) is packed with stunning coves and beaches, and glorious views. Like other trails on Quadra Island, Shellaligan Pass was all but deserted.

If you’re on Quadra, don’t miss this beautiful trail, and don’t rush it (plan on 2-3 hours). It is marked as #15 on the trail map at the end of the post, accessed via Valdez Rd. The trailhead is about a 25 minute drive from Heriot Bay where our B&B was located.

Admiring the views from Shellaligin Pass--C.Helbig

Admiring the views from Shellaligin Pass–C.Helbig

Shellaligin Pass, Quadra Island--C.Helbig

Shellaligin Pass, Quadra Island–C.Helbig

Surge Narrows



Surge Narrows, Quadra Island—C.Helbig

We still had time and energy so we decided to continue on to Surge Narrows Provincial Park, about a 20 minute drive from the Shellaligan Pass trailhead. The 3 km coastal trail (#16 on the map below) is easy and leads to a series of rocky overlooks. During high water flow, the passage is transformed into roaring tidal rapids. As you can see from the photo, we didn’t time it quite right, but it’s still a beautiful spot. Next time we’ll check the tide tables, bring a picnic, and enjoy the show.

Beech’s Mountain



View from a rocky bluff on Beech’s Mountain—C.Helbig

On our second day,  I satisfied my craving  for aerobic activity. Beech’s Mountain, part of the Chinese Mountain trail network, provides a good workout and a scenic geography lesson of the convoluted waterways and islands surrounding Quadra Island. The 5 km trail gains about 460 m through pleasant forests and many gorgeous open bluffs with views to Vancouver Island on one side, and the Strait of Georgia and Coast Mountains on the other. We sat for a long time admiring the view and watching a group of turkey vultures soaring overhead. I never realized these birds are so beautiful in flight. Beech’s Mountain can be combined with the two Chinese Mountain peaks for a rewarding 4-5 hour hike. It is identified as # 9 on the map, and is about a 15 minute drive from Heriot Bay.

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Turkey vulture soaring above Beech’s Mountain—C.Helbig


Forested trail in the Beech’s and Chinese Mountain network—C.Helbig

Morte Lake



Refreshing dip in Morte Lake—C.Helbig

We were sweaty after our hike and decided to head to Morte Lake (# 10 on map),  just a 5 minute drive from the Beech’s/Chinese Mountain parking lot. The hike into the lake only takes about 30 minutes, and there are a couple of small pebbly beaches that provide good access to the water. The lake is beautiful with crystal clear water. A refreshing dip was just what we needed. The trail continues all the way around the lake and also connects with the much longer hike to Maude Island and the Seymour Narrows…next time.

Rebecca Spit



Late day at Rebecca Spit—C.Helbig

I wouldn’t classify Rebecca Spit as a hike, but it’s a wonderful place for a stroll, particularly at sunset when many people have left for the day. The narrow, 2 km spit has pretty, drift-wood strewn beaches on both sides—the perfect setting for a bottle of wine, and burgers from Terry’s Take-Out.


Sheltered bay at Rebecca Spit—C.Helbig



Nice place for a beer—C.Helbig

  • Quadra Island is accessed by a 10 minute ferry crossing from Campbell River, Vancouver Island.
  • For folks visiting from Vancouver and the lower mainland, Campbell River is about a 1.5 hour drive from the Nanaimo ferry terminal, and a 3 hour drive from the Swartz Bay (Victoria) ferry terminal.
  • Campbell River also has regular air service to and from Vancouver (about 40 minutes).
  • Quadra has a selection of lodges, B&B’s and campgrounds. I like staying near Heriot Bay, which provides good access to both the north and south sides of the island. Chipperfield Hollow B&B is a great spot and good value.
  • Check the map below and for trail locations and descriptions.

Hike-The Daily Post




Categories: Activities | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Discovering the Hiking Trails of Quadra Island, British Columbia

  1. Pingback: Kayaking in British Columbia’s Broughton Archipelago: The Sequel | Writes of Passage

  2. Brian Foster

    You sure live in a beautiful part of the world and get out and explore it. Great photos. Enjoy the course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Brian, Yes we are very lucky to have all these great places to explore. We could just travel in BC for the rest of our lives and not see it all (but it sure is nice to escape the gloom of November, December, January…). Looking forward to the course. Mike is taking it too.


  3. Me again, sorry. You should link one of your posts to the Daily Post or whatever it is called. HIKE right up your alley. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Caroline, Another informative post of your adventures, with great photos as usual. I like how the photos are at different times of the day so the light varies in the different shots. i particularly like the one of Rebecca’s Spit, but the whole area is beautiful. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very kind as usual Louise! Tomorrow I start a photography course. I’m very excited about learning to move beyond the auto setting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Caroline that IS very exciting. I actually work in an Arts and Technology specialist College (Secondary and Post Secondary students) and we have a Photography department. I love hanging out with them. It is so nice working in a place with lots of creative people. So I am REALLY excited for you. Louise

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never been to Quadra. It looks gorgeous. Plus no bears!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. seems to be a beautiful place…. nice info and photographs…….

    Liked by 1 person

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