When the nights grow cooler and the roads become less lively, the savvy local traveler packs their bags, knowing that with seasonal rates and more availability, the fall and winter months are a wonderful time for Islanders to escape the city and experience the back roads of Vancouver Island.
A road trip to Nootka Sound is a must-do experience for locals. In the fall, the hard-packed, forest service road from Gold River to Moutcha Bay Resort becomes a symphony of colour, leading drivers on the so-called Tree to Sea Drive. The scenery on this drive is always impressive, with countless waterfalls and rivers, dramatic mountains, and lush forests bound to inspire.
Only a scenic two-hour drive from Campbell River, Moutcha Bay Resort offers a perfect friends and family getaway to escape the winter blues. Although WiFi service is provided by the resort, the Nootka Sound region is outside of cellular service. From September to April, the resort is quiet and calm, a haven of natural silence and a perfect place to relax and disconnect.
From September to December in Nootka Sound, the savvy local traveler interested in freshwater angling targets Chinook and coho salmon returning to their natal river and creek systems. In winter months from December to April, seasoned anglers target steelhead. Freshwater anglers also enjoy the waterfront mini yurts, perfect for one or two guests looking for a place to rest after a day of swinging flies.
Wildlife viewing is also at its peak in the fall, with good opportunities to see black bears, cougars, deer, elk, and a variety of birds. Both beginner and advanced hikers venture out to explore the Nootka Sound trails such as the 2km Leiner River Estuary boardwalk or the longer ancient trade routes such as the Woss Lake Trail and Maquinna Trail. A 15-minute drive from the resort, you can view the incredible Three Sisters waterfall, dropping 5,200 feet in spectacular fashion from the top of Malaspina Peak.
For the savvy local traveler families, a visit to the Upana Caves between Gold River and Moutcha Bay Resort is sure to entertain explorers of all ages. The site is made up of multiple honeycombed limestone caves, from the easily accessible to the more extreme. The Insect Cave is easily explored in five or 10 minutes and is a great introduction to caving for the inexperienced and families with kids. The caves are beautiful and wild in their natural state, with varying passageways and room sizes. Don’t forget a head lamp and sturdy shoes.
Serviced RV campsites are available for the savvy local traveler families on a budget. For a more unique experience, shoulderseason glamping is a must-do. The luxury yurts at Moutcha Bay Resort are perfect for families. Just pack the groceries and board games, and you’re set to relax and take in the crisp west coast air while the children enjoy the pirate ship playground and zip-line. Thanksgiving with freshwater coho fishing and roasted turkey in your cozy yurt? Sounds like heaven.
Moutcha Bay is a truly hidden gem off the beaten track and an idyllic escape for locals with a love for the outdoors. If you consider yourself a savvy local traveler—whether you’re a family or a freshwater angler—and you’re itching to get away from the city for a few nights, consider a backyard adventure to nearby Nootka Sound this fall or winter.
For more information on Moutcha Bay Resort, operated by Nootka
Marine Adventures, visit www.nootkamarineadventures.com