Porteau Cove Paddle


  • Launching: two concrete boat ramps. Adjacent rubble beaches are harder to reach.
  • Parking: day use parking lots
  • Difficulty – easy in the morning, but strong southerly wind picks up late morning around 10:30 and is usually overpowering during summer.
  • Boat traffic – motor boats frequently seen, but they usually stay mid channel
  • View – spectacular view of the fjord, overlapping rows of mountains
  • Facilities – parking lot, flush toilet, pebble beach, picnic tables, dive site
  • Overall score – 9/10

During our recent camping trip at Porteau Cove Provincial Park, I got up bright and early at 5am and treated myself to an incredible view.

I launched at 5:30am and paddled north towards the best views I’ve seen in a while. The water was very calm but not glassy, as there’s a slight northerly wind blowing up some ripples.

Launching from camp was easy enough, but day users can launch from the two concrete boat ramps even more easily, as long as they avoid getting in the way of boaters.

Concrete boat ramps at Porteau Cove

The photos look serene, but the paddle was actually quite noisy. Prominent and pervasive noise from the Sea to Sky Highway accompanied me for the entire short paddle, especially as they passed close to sea level in front of a large rock face. It’s basically a perfect soundboard to broadcast the noise onto the ocean. I imagine the western shores of Howe Sound would be quieter, but it’s also much more isolated from population.

After a leisurely 45 min paddle, I got to Furry Creek golf course around 6:15. I couldn’t help but hop onto the side of the golf course for a quick photo for the interesting juxtaposition. I figured I wasn’t in anyone’s way this early in the morning, and the beach looked like public property below the tide line.

I turned around and road the gentle northerly wind back to camp.

Passed under the raised rock at Porteau Cove.

It was a very calm and easy paddle from 5am to 7am. The calm stayed for another few hours, but by the time we started packing up around 10am, the southerly winds already started. By 11am, they were kicking up beach surfs and white capping waves. It would have been hard for me to paddle against this wind and beginners would stand little chance to paddle against this.

Day Use Area (Aug 2020)

On our way to or from Whistler, we often stop by Porteau Cove to stretch our legs. The park is just off the Sea to Sky highway and is adjacent to an active train track. Trains start running early in the morning, so there might be occasional noise disturbance. One main reason we stop by here is for its amazing views of the mountains and Howe Sound. It is also famous for its waterfront campsites which we haven’t visited before and might try with our kids in the future. have finally visited in 2023.

Activities

There is no playground in this park, but water activities here are popular among visitors.

The beach is pebbly and is open for ocean swimming. However, there are no lifeguards on duty, so it’s important to keep the kids close if they are to play near the water. You can also canoe, SUP, or kayak, keeping in mind that the winds of Howe Sound can be very strong.

Another popular water sport here is scuba diving. There is a series of man made reefs and two sunken ships in the waters here to build a marine habitat, which is a popular exploration site for scuba divers. Various marine life can also be found.

Most visitors come here for picnic. There are several picnic tables overlooking the ocean; however, it can be quite exposed under a sunny day. Some people set up tarps around these tables for some shades.

Washroom

Flush toilets available close by the parking lot in the day use area.

Parking

There is a spacious parking lot available. There were still a few spots left when we went on Saturday afternoon. However, this place gets busy pretty fast.

Porteau Cove is part of the Sea to Sky Marine Trail. This map highlights the 6 backcountry campsites as well as 3 provincial parks where paddlers can camp overnight. It’s on my to-do list to plan an epic multi-day camping paddling trip. One day, we shall. One day.

One response to “Porteau Cove Paddle”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *