Cape Scott: San Josef Bay to Guise Bay (5 days / 54 km)

Fun with adventure in Cape Scott Bay beach

Located at the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island, Cape Scott is very remote and very beautiful. This park has a reputation for being rainy and muddy, and we certainly had a lot of that on our trip. Wild beaches and lush old-growth forests are what’s in store for those who take the time to travel out here. 

As long as you pack good rain gear and have a positive attitude, this coastal backpacking route is a refreshing change of pace for those used to alpine routes. It is almost entirely flat! Read on for everything you need to know about Cape Scott Provincial Park, a wonderful trail that is surprisingly uncrowded.  

Trip Completed: May 2022

Trip Summary

Starting Point: San Josef Bay Parking Lot 

Ending Point: San Josef Bay Parking Lot 

Total Distance: ~54km

Elevation Gain: 1,048 m

Duration: 4 nights, 5 days

Difficulty: Advanced


Getting there: Port Hardy is the closest town to the park, and the last time you’ll have cell reception. From there, it is a 2-hour drive up a gravel logging road to get to the parking lot.  You’ll pass a tiny town called Holberg (population 200) which is about 13km from Cape Scott. It has very few services available to people passing through, so you’ll definitely want to be prepared in advance. A high clearance vehicle, a spare tire (and familiarity changing it) are all recommended! 

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of Quatsino (source). 

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: No guidebook is needed on this trip! 

Map: Download the area on google maps before you go, as there is no cell service for much of the drive to the trailhead. Once on the trail, we had a map of the park on our phones (we used ‘Gaia’) but this wasn’t really necessary, as there are maps at every junction, campsite, or point of interest in the park. The trails themselves are very clearly marked.

Campsite Reservati...

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