Pacific Northwest Paradise

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Jan 4, 2006
Outside Magazine
Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Serenity Now!: Trip the light fantastic in B.C.'s coastal realm    Photo: Artville

The Inside 5

Olympic mountain-bike racer and two-time defending NORBA champ Geoff Kabush is psyched to call Vancouver Island home. Here's his four-star day. 1. Grab a quad espresso at Tarbell's Coffee Bar, in Cumberland. 2. Hop two ten-minute ferries to Hornby Island's Ridge Trail. 3. Refuel on a chicken burrito at Delicado's, in Nanaimo. 4. Build a bonfire at Departure Bay Beach. 5. Hang with bike-riding bros at Cumberland's Riding Fool Hostel.

Ride the Next North Shore: Remember playing Chutes and Ladders when you were a kid? Welcome to chutes and ladders for grown-ups. Nanaimo and Parksville locals have built the Doumont Trails—high-flying bridges, ladders, and drops that thread pine forests and sluice down needle-blanketed singletrack. DirtWorld
Paddle With Killer Whales: Slip across 54-mile Johnstone Strait and, with luck, you may get within ten feet of the largest orca pod in the world. Rent boats from Telegraph Cove Sea Kayaking or go with a guide on a one-to-six-day trip, snapping pics of seals, bald eagles, and humpback whales. 250-756-0094
Walk in Juan's Footsteps: Fastpack the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, a 29-mile shoreside ramble skirting 100-foot waterfalls and tide pools at Botanical Beach. You'll cross wooden suspension bridges and slip through giant cedar forests, nabbing views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca along the way. 250-391-2300
Get High: Just off Highway 28 near the Campbell River, 19 granite crags—with more than 150 sport and trad routes— surround Crest Lake. Or go ropeless at Sutton Boulders, near Tofino. Coastal British Columbia
Angle for Big'uns: Hook a trophy rainbow or cutthroat at one of a half-dozen inland lakes just 20 minutes by floatplane from Clayoquot Sound, in Tofino. Clayoquot Ventures, 888-534-7422

At Tatchu Adventures' Eco Surf Village, off the west coast of Nootka Island, guests sleep 15 feet up—in a cozy tree house. By day, hit beach and reef breaks with head-high lefts and rights. At night, dine on grilled oysters and salmon kebabs. Doubles, $1,643 per week; 888-895-2011
The Wilderness outpost at Bedwell River is like a safari camp—with Wi-Fi and 300-thread-count sheets. Guests stay in ultra-deluxe canvas tents set deep in the Bedwell River Valley, a jumping-off point for fly-fishing, hiking, and sea kayaking. Doubles, $4,151 for three nights (minimum stay); 888-333-5405
SoBo—which began as a giant purple truck plunked in the Tofino Botanical Gardens—serves mushroom enchiladas, cedar-plank salmon, and other "sophisticated bohemian" delights. 250-725-2341