The San Josef River is best known as the starting point for hikes into Cape Scott Park. But the 2.8 km of River from the Cape Scott Park trailhead to San Josef Bay also has some awesome fishing. There are resident Cutthroat trout along with good runs of both summer and winter Steelhead and runs of Coho, Chinook, Chum, and pinks in the fall.
The trail from river park leads to one of the most beautiful beaches on Vancouver Island This trail is well maintained and flat enough to accommodate wheelchairs and is only a 45-minute walk to the bay.
There is a park on the banks of the San Josef River and if you have a kayak, canoe, or another small boat, then this spot can offer you easy access to this wilderness paradise. At high tide, drop in the boat and head down to the bay, fishing as you go.
When the river breaks into the bay, be prepared to be amazed. The sandy beaches are pure white, the water is an incredible blue and the scenery is just beautiful. A rock bluff splits the 1.5 km long beach. This is easy to navigate around at low tide, but at high tide, you can take the trail that goes over the top. The sea stacks, rising out of the shore between first and second beach are something to see and hike around, as are the sea caves located in the park. If you plan on tenting, beware of the bears as they are plentiful in the area when the salmon are spawning. While there are outhouses available. Water needs to be either brought in or boiled from water collected in the river.
To get back to the trailhead by boat, make sure the tide is in before you head upstream to the campground and parking area. You can not get there at low tide. There are two small private campgrounds located just outside the park to the south, less than a km from the trailhead parking area. They include trailer and tent sites.