Located on the northern end of the Sunshine Coast B.C., near the city of Egmont, is Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park. This park, also known as the Sechelt Rapids, was created in 1957 and provides the hiker with the opportunity to view either rapids or whirlpools created by the tides that enter this inlet. The name Skookumchuck means “strong water” and the tidewater that rushes through the Skookumchuk Narrows here and into the Sechelt Inlet can form rapids with speeds of up to 32 km/h and a difference in the water level that can be as much as 2 meters.
The hike begins along a wide road and passes some private property areas. There is a cafe near the start of the hike where you can grab a baked good to take with you. At the end of the road section the trail begins and you will start to make your way through the trees.
As you hike along the trail you will be surrounded by the beauty of a west coast rain forest. There is plenty to enjoy with ferns, moss, and tall cedar and Douglas fir trees. The trail is fairly easy along this section and soon you will be at Brown Lake on your left.
You do need to do some planning for this hike because you will want to time your arrival at the end of this trail for either the “Flood Tide” or the “Ebb Tide”. There are two viewing areas which are located close to one another, but the hike is 8 km and takes about an hour to reach either viewpoint. When you reach the junction you will turn to the right and head to Roland Point for the “Flood Tide” and views of the rapids, or to the left to North Point for the “Ebb Tide” and views of the whirlpools below you.
We did this hike to catch the “Flood Tide” at Roland Point, where rapids are created as the incoming water floods the inlet. There was even a kayaker enjoying the waves that were created. When we first arrived you could definitely tell that the water height was different as seen in the photo below. It does get busy here so be prepared to share the rocks with lots of other hikers.
If you have timed your hike to see the whirlpools then you would head to the North Point viewing area. I would definitely like to check this out next time as apparently the sound of the rushing water as it fills the area can be quite loud. To find the best viewing times for either tide check out the link here provided by the Sunshine Coast Tourism.
Once you have enjoyed the view from either area then head back along the trail to the entrance. Do be aware of the time of year, and depending on what time you went to see the rapids or whirlpool, when the sun is setting. Make sure and wear good footwear for this hike, wear proper clothing, and carry water and a flashlight or headlamp as needed.
The Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish and Shíshálh.