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Desolation Sound Expedition

Trip Overview

Paddling amongst the towering mountains of the BC Coast Mountain range is a truly awe-inspiring adventure for sea kayak paddlers. Desolation Sound has a Mediterranean climate and you can count on having the best weather on this coast.

Carved into the inaccessible wilderness of the Canadian mainland over the ages, the soaring peaks of the mountains tumble to the water's edge in a jumble of river mouths and small islands, a perfect spot for exploring this majestic and unspoiled area.

The campsites are simply stunning. Most of them will be on small Islands in the heart of Desolation Sound. 6000ft peaks will tower over you giving you the feeling of being rather small. The food is fresh, wholesome and local when possible. The shellfish, salmon or halibut come from Quadra Island fishermen.

Hiking, kayaking skills development, shellfish harvesting, and lots of opportunities to swim in the nearby lakes as well as the warmest ocean waters.

THE ITINERARY Day 1: Your guides will arrange meeting times and locations at the pre-trip meeting and will generally pick you up at your accommodation on Quadra Island (unless you prefer otherwise). The group will catch the 9 am ferry to Cortes Island and then travel to the launch site at Squirrel Cove. After packing the kayaks you will spend some time reviewing kayaking skills and tips for comfort and of course safety procedures before the journey begins. You'll paddle towards the fjords of Desolation Sound and see a number of beautiful sites within an afternoon’s paddle. Keep your eyes open for harbour seals or dall’s porpoises along the way!

Day 2: Savor a hearty breakfast in the great outdoors before heading off off on today’s adventure. You'll continue on into the enchanting islands, kayaking and exploring Desolation Sound as you head towards the evening's campsite.

Day 3-4: These days may entail paddling through the scattered islands, interpretive forest walks, swimming in fresh water lakes, practicing some on-water skills, or simply lounging at island campsites.

Day 5: You will journey back to Cortes Island along the rugged shores of West Redonda Island. A visit to Refuge Cove or the lovely protected lagoon of Squirrel Cove will be the last stop of our 5-day kayak journey. A return in the early afternoon will allow for the time needed to return to Quadra Island between 3-5pm.

Check availablity or book now with Spirit of the West Adventures

Safety Notes

Guides have extensive training and experience (paddling skills, rescue and first aid) and are experts at helping you to experience the ocean, wilderness and the natural & cultural history of the area. High-quality kayaks and top-of-the-line paddling and camping equipment are provided.

Gear Notes

Fiberglass single and double kayaks (Seaward, Atlantis, Current Design), Werner paddles Kokatat paddling/rain jackets & pants, top-of-the-line paddling/safety gear, top-equipped first aid kits.


If you find it necessary to cancel your tour, please let us know as soon as possible. No refunds are given once tours have departed. Spirit of the West Adventures Ltd. is not responsible for any additional costs that may arise in the event of a trip alteration or delay caused by circumstances beyond our control. To avoid confusion we require written notice of cancellation, by email, fax or standard mail. The following fees will apply to cancellations and are calculated as of the date we receive your written cancellation notice.

Canadian Tours:
If you must cancel your tour, your refund is as follows:
- Earlier than 90 days before trip – If we have not had to turn customers away, full amount is refunded less a $100 administration fee. If we have had to turn customers away, the deposit is retained.
- 89-30 days before trip – 50% of total tour price is refunded.
- Later than 30 days before trip – No refund will be given, unless we can find someone to fill your space. In this case, only the deposit is retained.

Trip Details

  • Departure Months: June, July, August, September
  • Trip Duration: Extended Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Kayak Fishing, Hiking, Photography
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Water Type: Open Water/Ocean
  • Services Available: Guided, Route Planning, Shuttle, Gear Rental, Meals
  • Skill Level: Yes

Trip Location