5 Day Tour of Desolation Sound

Adventure Tour

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    This tour is provided by

    Spirit of the West Adventures

    Our guides are top-notch, our base crew incredibly talented and dedicated and we all work together to make your experience as superb as possible. Our kayak guides not only hold certifications from the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC, wilderness first aid and a variety of other specialties, but they are full of fun, experience and knowledge.

    • Duration:5 Days
    • For:Everyone, focus on scenery and relaxed pace
    • Location:Desolation Sound

    Kayaking Desolation Sound, a sea kayaker’s paradise. Paddling amongst the towering mountains of the British Columbia Coast Mountain range is a truly awe-inspiring adventure. Desolation Sound has a Mediterranean climate which makes it our favourite place to paddle in May, June, early July and September where you can count on having the best weather on the coast.

    There are few places on earth as stunningly beautiful as kayaking Desolation Sound. This is a kayaking trip where you spend more time looking up than looking down. The calm waters make this ideal for first-time paddlers and the rugged mountain vistas make it suitable for anyone looking to experience some of Mother Nature’s most amazing works of art.

    Camping & Dining

    Our campsites In Desolation Sound are simply stunning. Most of our campsites will be on small Islands in the heart of Desolation Sound. 6000ft peaks will tower over us giving us the feeling of being rather small. Our food is fresh, wholesome and local when possible. Our shellfish, salmon or halibut come from Quadra Island fishermen. And our guides know how to prepare the meals just right.

    Other Activities

    Other activities include hiking, kayaking skills development, shellfish harvesting, and lots of opportunities to swim in the nearby lakes as well as the warmest ocean waters north of Mexico.

    Price Includes

    If you are planning on bringing any of your own equipment please double-check the packing list to ensure you have the appropriate gear and please let our office know in advance of the tour to avoid us bringing duplicates.
    • Professional guiding service
    • All kayaking equipment (including kayaks, PFDs, paddles, pumps, ropes and sponges)
    • Meals (lunch day 1 to lunch day 5)
    • Cooking equipment
    • Camping equipment including tents and Therma-rest sleeping pads
    • Water taxi service
    • Park and land use permits

    Price Excludes

    • Accommodation before or after the kayaking portion of your trip
    • Flights, airport transfers, ferries, taxis
    • Travel/medical insurance
    • Alcoholic or carbonated beverages
    • Rain gear, sleeping bags or personal items (toiletries, clothing, etc.).
    • Sleeping bags and rain gear may be rented if you prefer not to travel with them (please reserve in advance; may be booked online with your trip reservation)
    The Desolation Sound tour launches from the east side of our neighbouring Cortes Island. The details below should help give you a fuller picture of the day-to-day trip experience.

    Pre-Trip Meeting

    When: Day Prior At 6 Pm, Where: Heriot Bay Inn On Quadra Island

    This meeting gives us a chance to answer any questions you may have and for you to meet your guides and fellow kayakers. Your guides will go over the logistics of the tour and answer any concerns you may have.  If you cannot make it to the meeting just be sure to call in the day before departure to confirm your arrival. This allows us to confirm the exact departure time and location, or to alert you if there are have been any last minute changes.

    Meeting Location

    When: Day 1, Where: Quadra Island at 8 am, or Cortes Island at 10:15am

    You can meet either on Quadra Island or on Cortes Island at the Squirrel Cove Store & boat launch.  If meeting us on Cortes Island, please call our office to let us know.

    Spirit of the West Adventures is based on Quadra Island (a 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River) and this is where our tour starts. We highly recommend making Quadra Island a part of your vacation plans. Our beautiful island has a whole different and laid back feel to it, complete with endless opportunities for outdoor activities, beaches to relax, amazing accommodations and great local artisans.

    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). Together we will catch the 9 am ferry to Cortes Island. We will then travel to our launch site at Squirrel Cove. After packing our kayaks we will spend some time reviewing kayaking skills and tips for comfort and of course safety procedures before our journey begins. Our route takes us on a paddle towards the fjords of Desolation Sound, providing us with a stunning mountain backdrop. There are 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

    Savour our first hearty breakfast in the great outdoors before we pack up and head off on today’s adventure. We continue on into the enchanting islands, kayaking Desolation Sound where we take our time exploring as we head towards our desired camping site for the evening.

    Days 3-4

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

    Day 5

    We 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 our 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 3-5 pm.


    Our approximate return time to Quadra Island is between 3-5 pm, however, due to the number of variables in wilderness travel we recommend that you plan to stay in the area for this night to avoid unnecessarily stressful complications should our return be delayed by something out of our control. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss your travel plans in more detail.