Main Menu
HomeAbout BC Car-FreeWhere to Buy BC Car-Free
Table of Contents
Cycle Touring
Weekend Getaways
Horseback Riding
Whale Watching
Bird Watching
Salmon Watching
Cave Exploring
River Rafting
Sea Kayaking
Appendix: Getting There
Seasons in the Sun
About the Author
The Critic's Voice
" This book is a great resource so its pretty awesome they are offering it online for free. "
Outdoor Vancouver Website
Gashes in the forest caused by fire, blowdown or human intrusion are quickly filled in by pioneer species such as fireweed or salal. Quick growing red alder and maple soon take over, being themselves supplanted in turn by Douglas fir once soil has stabilized. Eventually shade tolerant climax species such as western red cedar and western hemlock will come to dominate. The whole process can take centuries if not millennia. Immature fireweed plants can be cooked whole like broccoli while the young leaves can be used as salad greens. Fireweed is high in both beta-carotene and vitamin C. During pre-contact times fireweed seed fluffs found utility as pillow stuffing.
Illustration by Manami Kimura
Vote Now
Would you be interested in an E-Book Version of BC Car-Free for iPad, iPhone & PC
FacebookMySpaceTwitterDiggDeliciousStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditNewsvineTechnoratiLinkedinMixxRSS FeedPinterest
Keats Island E-mail
(20 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   
Access: Take the bus to Horseshoe Bay and catch the ferry to Langdale [BC Ferries] on the Sunshine Coast. Crossing time is 40 minutes. As you step off the loading ramp of the Langdale ferry you'll find the tiny ferry to Keats Landing immediately on your right. Since this ferry services both Gambier Island and Keats Island make sure you get on the correct sailing. Published schedules are sometimes altered on the fly to accommodate weekend rushes. The trip to Keats usually takes just 10 minutes. Getting a good connection on the return trip is often impossible so be sure to bring a book or magazine to make time stuck in the ferry terminal bearable.

Click Image to Zoom

Dockside at Keats Landing.
What's up dock?

Like Newcastle Island, Keats Island is home to a Provincial Marine Park. Though well-known among mariners, the park at Plumper Cove is a well-kept secret among landlubbers. Similar also to the previous getaway, two ferries are required to get there. Unlike Newcastle, however, only a small portion of Keats has been accorded park status. From Keats Landing it is a 2 km hike to the park itself. Walk directly up the hill from the dock, taking a short-cut across the expansive lawn dotted with summer cottages. At the top of the hill you'll come across a gravel road. To your right you'll see a large kids camp. Go left along the road instead for a few hundred metres until you see a building with a sign that says simply: "BC Hydro." A trail plunges into the bush just to the right of this building. Since there are numerous branch trails watch signs carefully to ensure you take the correct route. Follow the mainline marked with yellow squares and a few decrepit signs that indicate "Marine Park." The trail is maintained by the local resident who originally constructed it to keep trespassers off his own property. Still, expect to have to scramble over or under numerous deadfalls along the otherwise well-kept trail.

Unlike Newcastle Island and most other parks in the islands of the Gulf of Georgia, fires are permitted at all of the 20 walk-in campsites at Plumper Cove. Since prevailing winds come from the direction of the yacht anchorage choose your site wisely so your fire pit is on the lee side of your tent and picnic table. Arriving midweek or early on the weekend will ensure you have choices to make. Late comers may have no choices at all during busy, summer long-weekends. Worry not, however, as there is plenty of overflow camping space in the grassy field that serves as a picnic area. No fires allowed here however. Reservations are not possible at this time on Keats Island. Cold drinking water is only available from a hand pump. Pit toilets will provide a rustic element to your camping experience but be forewarned to bring toilet paper as supplies, though replenished daily, sometimes run out.

Click Image to Zoom

Dusk view from Keats Provincial Marine Park.
View overlooking Gibsons on the Subshine Coast

One of the finest features of Plumper Cove is the grassy headland that overlooks Shoal Channel to the west. Use this romantic vantage point to witness the slow summer sunsets that have made the Sunshine Coast famous. As the sky colour deepens from orange to red to purple, stars flicker on as do the lights of Gibsons across the Channel and, further off, Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. And while consuming alcohol is forbidden-if tolerated-in all provincial Parks a robust Bordeaux in a coffee mug goes a long way towards satisfying both park regulations and the mood of the moment.

Hiking Trails
There are three trails of note on Keats Island. The first one is a simple loop trail that extends past the last campsite, climbing up to an elevation of 120 metres to a treed ridgeline before doubling back to reconnect with the park proper. Yellow ribbons and plastic squares mark the Loop Trail. From the summit it may be possible to spot deer grazing in sunny forest glades below. Trail length is a mere 1½ km. A second trail climbs 216 metres to the top of Stony Hill. Follow the trail back towards Keats Landing for about 20 minutes in order to access the Lookout Peak Trail. An old, somewhat faded wooden sign marks the trail that then branches off up the slope from the main trail. Follow green markers to the summit after another half hour of upward plodding.

The third route starts out the same as the Loop Trail but branches off to the left after just a few minutes. Watch carefully for the intersection as it is not marked in any way. This unnamed route follows well-above the shoreline until connecting up with a one lane forest track that soon leads past a place called, for obvious reasons, simply "The Farm" by locals. From The Farm the road turns inland and uphill for some 40 minutes or more sometimes paralleling an electric powerline on the right. Eventually you'll reach the main gravel road that connects Keats Landing with the village of Eastbourne. Take a left here and continue up and down a number of rolling hills. After a further 25 minutes or so you'll see a llama farm of all things. Feel free to stop and take pictures of these woolly cousins to the camel but beware: the fence is electrified and llamas, being territorial by nature, spit as a defence mechanism against intruders. Better pack along some lens cleaning paper as a precaution.

Stopped Bus
From the Double K & J Corral, as the llama farm is called, another 25 minutes will take you as far as the "bus stop" in Eastbourne. Though the bus stop sign looks suspiciously like one of Vancouver's old BC Transit signs don't plan on taking the bus back this year at any rate. The bus stop is an example of local humour, providing the occasional bit of light-hearted retribution against the seasonal invasion of city slickers to this quiet rural backwater. Tourists sometimes wait for hours for the bus that never comes.

Click Image to Zoom

Lumbering car-encumbered barge departs Keats Island, clueless and without a life-jacket in sight.
Got Car?

Eastbourne, site of a tiny government dock and the best beach on Keats, is just a further five minutes to the right and downhill from here. A fourth trail, an alternative to the Eastbourne route just described, will be mentioned but is not recommended. Called the Farm Trail, this poorly marked and overgrown path cuts across the island from near the beginning of the Lookout Peak trail to the Farm. Ironically the Farm Trail slices through by far the most beautiful forest scenery on the island. Following a number of dry and not-so-dry stream beds, the farm trail often disappears altogether and only a careful search for orange trail markers or ribbons will reveal its course. Fear not, though, since Keats Island is so small that after stumbling around in the forest lost for a couple hours you are bound to happen upon one of the routes that crisscross the island. Use common sense however and don't stumble alone.



Copyright © 2007 Brian Grover. Content Distribution is Prohibited
The graphical images and content hosted at are viewable for private use only. All other rights - including, but not limited to, distribution, duplication, and publication by any means - are the exclusive property of Brian Grover and Whisky-Jack Communications. International law provides criminal and civil penalties for those found to be in violation.

Contact the Author for further information.

© 2018 BC Car-Free Outdoor Portal - Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.