If a crow flew from Campbell River to Bute Inlet Lodge, he would aim for Mount Doogie Dowler. Doogie resembles a dog’s tooth or a cowboy hat, and it’s easily identified from Campbell River. The crow’s flight would take what we call “the turn off” into beautiful Bute Inlet, just behind Stuart Island. By boat, the trip takes three or four hours—in a float plane 30 minutes. The crow would take longer.
The inlet is one of the world’s most scenic waterways—a glacial fjord 80 kilometres long and four kilometres wide, with 2700-metre-high mountains rising like ramparts from the sea. Waterfalls thunder down the sheer cliffs.
Bute Inlet is in the traditional territory of the Homalco people who conduct excellent wildlife and cultural tours in the area. The Homathko and Southgate Rivers form estuaries at the end of the inlet; each river offers unique fishing and exploring experiences. In the fall, the Orford River provides grizzlies and black bears with salmon to feast on as they prepare for winter hibernation.
The inlet has been logged for over a century. Loggers were housed on barges, in camps, and in some cases in the cozy house at Bear Bay, one-third of the way down from the head of Bute, on the north side of the inlet.
The Bear Bay property has been a homestead for many families over the years. About a decade ago Brian and Mark Gage purchased the property, renaming it Bute Inlet Lodge. At the time, it had two houses, a dock, a garden area, and a woodshed. A Pelton wheel water turbine provided power.
Since purchasing the property, the brothers and their partners have built a new dock, a helicopter pad, and a whole new lodge. Each year sees another project that upgrades existing facilities and buildings, bringing all the comforts of modern-day living to this wild place. Bute Inlet Lodge has been designed by active dreamers for active dreamers.
Views from the lodge across the inlet to Mount Superb, Mount Rodney, and Mount Sir Francis Drake are awesome. In the morning, the sun hits these mountains then slowly creeps its way up the dock before lighting Bear Bay. Visitors enjoy a quiet coffee in front of the fire by the window, and listen to the gentle sound of water below.
In the evening, there are fifteen beautiful minutes of golden mountaintops during clear sunsets. When the sky is clear, the visible stars number in the millions. Occasionally in summer, pods of hunting transient orcas can be seen from the patio, and, in spring, sleepy bears munch on fresh greens on the beach below the deck.
Fishing, prawning, kayaking, sightseeing, bear watching, and gourmet dining are just some of the ways to enjoy this soul-restoring environment. That’s why Bute Inlet calls us over—whether we get there by boat, plane, helicopter, or on the crow’s back.