Gold River

Gold River Village, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Gold River Village, Photo By Bud Logan

Before the 1960s, the Gold River village did not exist and there was only wilderness that was the traditional territory of the Mowachaht and Muchalaht people of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation. The name Gold River appears on maps dating back to 1871, named for the gold that was taken out by Chinese prospectors in the 1860s. The population in Gold River today is about 1,300 to 1400 people. It is located on central Vancouver Island, 90 km west of Campbell River. To get to Gold River take Highway 28 from just north of Campbell River.

When the Gold River Village was built in 1965, it was the first all-electric town in Canada and the first in Canada to incorporate underground wiring. It was incorporated on August 26, 1965, and received village status on January 1, 1972.

Gold River Village, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Muchalat Inlet, Photo By Bud Logan

The Gold River Village was always dependent upon the Pulp Mill and the forest industry. Since the closure of the Pulp Mill in October 1998, Gold River has focused on rebuilding the community and attracting many new residents to the town, along with many new skills and interests.

I think you will see great eco tourism-based businesses flourish here, offering whale and bear watching, birding, mountain climbing, and hiking/biking opportunities for the young and old alike. I think Gold River is becoming the go-to place to visit for nature-based adventures and can see it only getting better.

Most visitors are looking for outdoor activities and Gold River offers much, adventurers can take a trip aboard the Uchuck lll as it makes its way up to Kyuquot and back, stopping places like Friendly cove, Zeballos, and other camps and communities on the west coast. I have had many adventures on this boat traveling to and from various camps and towns on the west coast.

The Gold River runs past the west side of town and flows 14 more km before emptying into Muchalat inlet. The Heber River flows on the east side of town. The Heber river has some great swimming and diving opportunities as it flows through the Heber Canyon on the edge of the town. The Heber joins the Gold just at the South end of town.

Gold River Village, Vancouver Island Communities, Pacific Northwest
Muchalat Inlet, Photo By Bud Logan

The Muchalat Inlet area is a great spot for saltwater fishing, with big springs, plenty of Coho, red snapper, rock cod, and halibut are also plentiful. The Gold River is considered to be one of the premier steelhead fishing rivers in the province. The river has a summer and a winter run of Steelhead per year, offering year-round steelhead fishing.

The region has many freshwater lakes, many of these lakes are stocked with cutthroat and rainbow trout. Trout sizes vary from lake to lake but rainbow trout weighing 2.5. kilos or cutthroat trout of over 3 kilos are not that uncommon. Muchalat Lake, Star Lake, and Antler Lake all offer good trout fishing.

There are many hiking trails located close to Gold River, there is the Heber River Trail, which follows the beautiful Heber Canyon. The trailhead is at the bridge on Matchlee Drive. The Antler Lake Nature Walk starts at the end of Scout Lake Road, follows Scout Lake for a short distance, and then heads up the mountain. This trail is an easy walk through the bush, winding and shaded most of the way. At the side of the mountain, the trail starts a steep descent out into the open and joins a dirt road. Now just follow the road down to the lake. The Peppercorn Trailhead is at the Gold River bridge and ends at the Peppercorn Park, which features swimming and a diving cliff.

Campbell River is the nearest town to the east of Gold River 90 km. This community is known for its incredible salmon fishing and serves as the gateway to the North Vancouver Island including Gold River.

Gold River is one of the Jewels of Vancouver Island, a must-see area. When you visit, I can honestly say, you will not be disappointed.

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