Wilderness Lodge is an eco delightThe Sunshine Coast of British Columbia is a traveler’s paradise to begin with, but toss in a stunning luxury resort, add exciting eco-adventures, a top notch restaurant, spa and more, and you have a new entry on your northwest bucket list.
We recently spent a fantastic weekend at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge , which is located in the village of Egmont, north of Vancouver BC on Sechelt Inlet. Don’t let the rustic exterior fool you. Inside each of the 26 guest rooms you’ll find total class and comfort, with thoughtful furnishings, private decks, down bedding, and super fluffy towels and bath robes. Believe me, this is not “roughing it.” Our room had what only could be described as stunning; world class views of Jervis Inlet, Sechelt Inlet, Hotham Sound, with various islands and mountains also part of the vista.
The lodge may sound and feel remote, but there are a number of ways to get there that are really quite easy. You can drive north from Vancouver BC, take a short ferry ride, and complete the journey with an incredibly scenic drive. You can also relax on a bus, or go via seaplane, which is one of our favorite modes of travel.
We chose the friendly folks at Harbour Air Seaplanes and that turned out to be a great decision. We live not far from the Canadian border, so driving to their seaplane base on the south side of Vancouver Airport on the Fraser River was very easy. If you spend any time in BC you no doubt will see one of their fleet of seaplanes.
The Harbour Air Group, consisting of Harbour Air, Westcoast Air and Whistler Air, has become the largest all-seaplane company in the world. From check-in to the captains, everyone was super friendly and professional. If you’ve never traveled by float plane you should really give it a try. It’s another form of marine sightseeing from about 500 feet, where you can see whales, boat traffic and miles of gorgeous shoreline.
We wanted to explore along the way, so Harbour Air dropped us off in Sechelt, where Prime Rentals had somebody waiting for us at the seaplane base, a very nice touch. Prime Rentals has a fleet of cars, trucks and vans, and will work with your travel schedule to get you to and from the local docks. Some quick paperwork and then we were on our way up Sunshine Coast and to the West Coast Wilderness Lodge.
The West Coast Wilderness Lodge likes to say the adventure begins at the end of the road, and that certainly was the case for us. With cedar and fir forests, glacier cut fjords, pristine lakes, dozens of waterfalls and hundreds of tiny islands nearby, a major adventure awaits you. The lodge features a number of special packages like the Two Night Special Occasion, Kayakers Dream, and Explorers Package. It all depends on what kind of experience you want and how active you want to be. The lodge also does weddings and corporate meetings and would be a great choice for either.
The list of potential outings is long, but tops on our list was the zodiac boat ride up to world famous Princess Louisa Inlet. Long considered a “holy grail” for northwest boaters, Princess Louisa is a long fjord featuring high granite cliffs and cascading waterfalls. When you navigate Malibu Rapids to enter the final leg of the inlet, you’re treated to the unforgettable, glacier-fed Chatterbox Falls. The amazing beauty of this spot is so awe-inspiring that it’s hard to due justice with words. Our boat captain, Kevin, proved to be a very knowledgeable and personable guide, stopping several times to point out waterfalls, ancient Indian rock writings, and area wildlife.
No visit to this area would be complete without exploring nearby Skookumchuck Rapids, the fastest salt water rapids in North America. Currents can exceed 16 knots, creating standing waves, overfalls, and huge whirlpools. It’s an easy hike from the lodge, or you can experience it from the water with a guided tour. No, we did not explore it via kayak. but many adventuresome people do!
There are many other choices for eco-minded adventures at West Coast Wilderness Lodge. You can take a float plane tour, enjoy a heli-adventure, go diving or kayaking, or kick back and be pampered in the spa.
Of course, all this strenuous exploring can work up a hearty appetite, and the lodge features a very impressive restaurant that caters to every whim. We were quite impressed with the fare at the onsite Inlets Restaurant. What’s not to love about a welcoming staff, fresh seasonal local cuisine, and a gorgeous view to boot?
We personally sampled the fresh salmon and halibut, prawn linguine and short ribs with a cherry sauce dinner entrees. This is five-star cuisine, and my wife and I stopped several times during meals to thank the food gods for bringing us here. Sometimes you just can’t say no to dessert, and there was no resisting the tantalizing treats like campfire s’mores (chocolate decadence, drizzled with marshmallow and graham cracker crumbs), raspberry cobbler and sticky bourbon apple cake. The breakfast and lunch offerings were also outstanding. The lodge will even pack you a lunch to take on one of your many eco-adventures.
The bar is well stocked with premium beverages and award-winning BC wines. Pacific Yachting magazine recently called Inlets the best waterfront restaurant in this part of the world. We wouldn’t argue with that after our experience.
Our fantastic weekend at West Coast Wilderness Lodge created special memories we will hold for a very long time. We’ve already promised ourselves to start planning a return trip.
For more information on West Coast Wilderness Lodge, please visit www.wcwl.com or phone 604-883-3667. For information on Harbour Air flights and schedules, please visit www.harbourairgroup.com or phone 604-233-3501. For information on Prime Rentals, please visit www.primerentals.ca or phone 604-885-6422.
PHOTO CREDITS: Top photo by TONY MINER; float plane photo courtesy Harbour Air Group; other photos courtesy of the West Coast Wilderness Lodge
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