Stunning Smuggler Cove, Sunshine Coast, BC

Smuggler Cove Marine Provincial Park is located just north of the city of Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast of B.C. The hike within this park, with its coastal views of the rocky shoreline and crystal clear water, is definitely one that won’t disappoint! This hike is about 4 km and has a minimal elevation gain. Beginning at the parking lot the trail at first takes you through the forest where you can enjoy the beauty of the trees.

Soon you reach a series of bridges and boardwalks that meander along the side of a bog. You can still see the damage done by previous forest fires that affected this area.

The third boardwalk is the longest and from here you get a great view of the expansive bog, as well as a dam that beavers have built here.

Bog area
Beaver dam

After walking for a few more minutes you will reach a junction. Go left and after walking for about 10-15 minutes you will reach a rocky beach area and an outcrop where you can see Grant Island. You can enjoy the view here or make your way down to the small cove and do some beach-combing. The water here was soooo clear!

Cove area looking toward Grant Island on the left
Grant Island

Once you have enjoyed the views from here take the trail back the way you can and when you reach the junction head down the other trail. The path will lead you towards Smuggler Cove with peekaboo views of the water and the boats. Smuggler Cove was first used by the First Nations people as a fishing area.

Smuggler Cove

Later in the late 1800’s the cove was used to transport Chinese workers to the United States so they could help work on the construction of the railways. It was later used during the time of Prohibition from 1920 to 1933 as a place for boats to safely anchor (and hide) while awaiting shipments of illegal alcohol from nearby Texada Island. These shipments were then taken by the crews to awaiting American ships in international waters located 12 miles off shore.

A haven for smugglers

Today the cove is a popular spot for pleasure boats and sailboats to anchor and spend some time. The passage into the sheltered water is narrow and boats must be extremely careful to avoid the rocks lying on the bottom.

The translucent green and blue colouring of the water is beautiful, and the trees on the shoreline make for a perfect backdrop.

A sheltered area of the cove

Once you’ve enjoyed the views of the cove area keep hiking around to your left and before long you will reach the other side of this small peninsula. You are now looking once again over the cliffs at the open water. Enjoy this gorgeous view before heading back down the trail and over the boardwalks to return to the parking lot.

View to Thormanby Island

The hike around the trails in this park is accessible year-round making it the perfect place to explore no matter what the season. Smuggler Cove Marine Provincial Park is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish, Shíshálh and Te’mexw Treaty Association.

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