Ditidaht Village, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Ditidaht, Photo By Bud Logan

The Ditidaht people, (pronounced Nitinaht), have a very large territory. It runs from Lake Cowichan down to the ocean at the end of Nitinat Lake. It runs along the west coast of the island from Bonilla Point in the south to Pachcena Point in the north. On the north end at Pachcena, the territory borders the Ohiaht People, and to the south past Bonilla Point, it borders the territory of the Pacheenaht people. The territory reaches far out to sea and goes far into the forest to cover the watershed of the Nitinaht lake and to the headwaters of all the rivers and streams that reach the sea between Pachcena Point and Bonilla Point. They hold the rights to all salmon, halibut, and the cod in their territories, as well as the shellfish, crabs, prawns, and the plants and animals that grow and live there. They are rich in these foods and the people never go hungry.

Ditidaht Village, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Ditidaht Village, Photo By Bud Logan

The Ditidaht village is right on the lake, services in Ditidaht include a small motel, gas station, campsite, and a food store, all are run by the Ditidaht people. Camping facilities are available at the lake recreation site that is situated in a grove of giant spruce trees, there are 53 campsites here. Drive through the village to reach this site. There is a boat launch about halfway down the lake, close to Doobah creek where you can put in to shorten the run down the lake.

Nitinat Lake is a very beautiful lake, its length is 24 km, and it is 1 km wide. The lake empties into the sea through a tidal channel called the Nitinat narrows, saltwater flows into the lake at high tide. The narrows is 3 km long and awesome to kayak in at high tide. The lake has been classed as being one of the top 10 best places to windsurf in the world.

Nitinat Lake, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Nitinat Lake, Photo By Bud Logan

There are many trails, rivers, canyons, and waterfalls in this area, there are some extraordinary hiking opportunities here for the eco-minded tourists, just past the lake on the mainline you will reach the trailhead to the Cheewhat cedar and not much further, you will reach the entrance into the Carmanah/Walbran Provincial Park. This area is fast becoming a wilderness destination for those who love the forest and are looking for places of vast wilderness coupled with few people.

The windsurfing here is incredible, but there are many more things to do here. You can kayak or canoe on the lake or perhaps head out on a 5-day trip on the Nitinat triangle canoe route that takes you through Nitinat, Hobbiton, and Tsusiat lakes, the route is 37 km long, but 21 km is by portage. Permits are required to do this route, they can be acquired at the Nitinat lake visitor center located in the Ditidaht village.  This is not for the weak, it is a grueling journey but so worth it.

Ditidaht,, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Ditidaht Village, Photo By Bud Logan

You can boat to the narrows for the day or stay a few days on the ocean. There is a daily water taxi that leaves the Ditidaht Village each morning at 830 am and returns from the narrows at 5 pm. There are so many trails to hike, caves to explore, and rivers to fish in that I am sure you will find the adventure you are looking for.

The village sits at the head of the lake and is reached via the Nitinat mainline road, with road access from port Alberni and Bamfield on the Bamfield road and south Main. The lake can also be reached on Nitinat main and south main logging roads from the western end of Cowichan Lake.

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