Paddling in Paradise – Deep Cove, North Vancouver

Granite Falls Rob Weiss

Granite Falls Photo: Rob Weiss

When the sun is shining and the water is calm there is no better city escape than launching your kayak from Deep Cove, in North Vancouver.  Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park (aka Indian Arm Provincial Park) protects the shores of this amazing 18 kilometer fjord extending from Burrard Inlet in Vancouver. Once heavily glaciated the park now features old growth forest, rugged shoreline, numerous creeks, waterfalls and the spectacular 50-metre high Granite Falls.

Flickr H. Bouchard

Deep Cove Flickr: H. Bouchard

Deep Cove is ideal for rookie paddlers to test their sea “arms” so to speak. The cove is well protected and it’s common to observe water enthusiasts of all ages and abilities practicing their skills. Rentals and lessons are available from Deep Cove Kayak Centre.  For experienced paddlers, a voyage up the arm is one of my favourite local trips.  Paddling out of the cove, visitors are treated to views of the marina and stunning oceanfront homes.  However, within minutes and a few paddle strokes civilization is behind you.  Welcome to the spectacular, super natural, rugged back-country.

Kayak Deep Cove7 Photo Rob Weiss

Low tide Twin Islands Photo: Rob Weiss

We began our recent paddle with an early start launching from the shore near the Deep Cove Kayak beach front centre.  Conditions were absolutely perfect – a slight cloud cover, no wind, flat water and tides in our favour.  Slowly we paddled out of Deep Cove savouring the peace and quiet, a paddler’s euphoria.  A few rowers and paddle boarders were also on the water sharing that early morning feeling of bliss!

Kayak Deep Cove Photo Rob Weiss

Silver Falls Photo: Rob Weiss

Following our route up Indian Arm past Camp Jubilee and Silver Falls towards Bishop Creek we paddled in silence, in awe of the rugged wilderness around us.  Crossing the arm, we appreciated a slow, leisurely return paddle exploring the shoreline.  Fish were jumping and the seals were feasting!  We spent several minutes observing a seal catch and devour his lunch.  A spooky, gothic looking building loomed in the distance.  Intrigued, we paddled closer to discover a century old BC Hydro power station.  Built in the 1900’s this building now stands empty, a reminder of days gone by.  As we continued along the shoreline, we marvelled at the granite cliffs and majestic forest looming beside us.

Kayak Deep Cove8 Photo Rob Weiss

Haunted Castle? Photo: Rob Weiss

The water was calm providing a fascinating glimpse of the marine life below.  Wildlife viewing on the Arm is a treat.  The area features black bear, deer, coyotes, racoons and cougars – just to name a few. Say Nuth Khaw Yum is also well known for bird watching and of course the tide pools are always fascinating to explore as they abound with life. The day passed all too quickly with a promise to return soon!

Kayak Deep Cove3 Photo Rob Weiss

Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak Centre, Photo: Rob Weiss


Don’t have a kayak?

Not to worry!  Deep Cove Kayak Centre offers rentals, lessons and guided trips.

Map and Route tips:

The winds often increase early afternoon as they sweep up Indian Arm.  Be sure to check your tide tables and marine forecast before heading out.  High winds and an incoming tide can make the paddle back to Deep Cove quite a challenge!  Looking to extend your trip?  Marine campsites are available at Twin Islands, Granite Falls and Bishops creek.  Remember, fires are prohibited in the park.

Après Paddle:

Explore the quaint and popular restaurants, shops, galleries and pubs of Deep Cove.

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