San Josef Bay

A short video by Yongshan Chen

The Cape Scott Provincial Park is located at the northwest end of Vancouver Island and contains many fascinating bays and beaches. One of the more noticeable bays is San Josef Bay with its sea stacks. Many people visit the bay just to see these formations. The area has had the presence of a first nation here for some time. Middens and other remains of settlements serve as evidence that they have been using the area for thousands of years.

The first European settlers began arriving in 1897 and began to settle, attempting to build farms in what is now the provincial park. They had a difficult time trying to work the land and left after a few years. They left behind cleared patches and fields that are now semi-wild as well as many place names, including Hansen Lagoon, and Nissen Bight. You can find fruit trees growing in many places and sometimes see the remains of settlers’ cabins that have, for the most part, returned to the land.

The sea stacks at San Josef Bay are beautiful. Water surging through the sandy passages at high tide has slowly eroded the softer outer rock, leaving behind only the harder formations. Sea stacks typically form when wave action eats away the surrounding soft rock. They can only be found in San Josef Bay on Vancouver Island. They are quite beautiful.

San Josef Bay, Vancouver Island, BC
San Josef Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

As part of Cape Scott Provincial Park, San Josef Bay is easily accessible on well-maintained trails and boardwalks. From the nearest parking lot and trailhead, there is a three-kilometer hike. It’s an easy hike on level ground, the trail could easily handle a buggy or even a wheelchair.

San Josef Bay, Vancouver Island, BC
San Josef Bay, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

The road in from port hardy is quite long but fairly well maintained, but please drive, with caution as these roads are active logging roads. Turn your lights on and give these trucks the road, they can’t stop very easily, and they depend on you to drive carefully. Give them the right away.

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