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Haida Heritage Centre

Discover the Magical Beauty of Haida Gwaii: A Remote and Untouched Destination (2024)

Until Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Haida Gwaii in 2016, this side of Earth for lesser known to the world. It was only a few outsides of British Columbia were familiar with or must have visited Haida Gwaii. But as soon as the Royal Couple chose this place to visit, it came into the list of Most Popular in Canada. Haida Gwaii is a unique and remote destination with magical and mythical appeal. Haida Gwaii is an Archipelago, Canada’s own version of the Galapagos Islands. It was earlier known as the Queen Charlotte Islands and is home to a wealth of wildlife. Since Haida Gwaii is far less visited, everything here is raw, undisturbed, and in its real form.

A visit to Haida Gwaii allows travelers to witness some of the most extraordinary creatures on Earth. Of the 10 native land mammals in Haida Gwaii, around 6 are the subspecies that aren’t found anywhere else on Earth. The surrounding waters are equally captivating, hosting an impressive array of marine life. Whales and dolphins grace the seas, with humpback and grey whales passing through during their migratory routes. Orcas, porpoises, seals, and sea lions are a regular sight, while bald eagles soar above, completing this wildlife lover’s paradise.

Beyond the wildlife, Haida Gwaii holds a deep cultural richness developed over more than 12,000 years of isolation. Pristine wilderness, ancient village sites, and mist-shrouded peaks create a surreal backdrop for exploration. Visitors can dive deep into the uniqueness of this unspoiled archipelago via small boat excursions to, helicopter tours, and forest treks. It is where tranquility and mystery await.

Begin your trip to Haida Gwaii and enjoy the allure of a remote and untouched destination. The natural and cultural offerings here are surely going to impress you.

History of Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii isn’t just known for its untouched natural beauty but also for its rich and ancient history. The history of this archipelago dates back over 12,000 years. This place has been inhabited by the Haida people, an indigenous community of Canada. Haida were known for their art, culture, and seafaring prowess. Back then, the community thrived and established a complex social structure that was centered around their cedar longhouses. However, when during the late 18th century, European contact brought devastating epidemics, and the Haida population was destroyed. The ones that were left brought efforts to fight for their rights and preserve their cultural entities. Currently, Haida Gwaii is a testament to the resilience and enduring heritage of the Haida people.

Things To Do In Haida Gwaii

  1. Visit Gwaii Haanas National Park: No trip to Haida Gwaii is complete without visiting Gwaii Haanas National Park. This natural landmark is typically a spiritual center surrounded by ancient trees, wildlife, and totem poles. A visit here offers a remote rainforest experience. Visitors can watch black bears fishing, spot breaching whales, and encounter exclusive wildlife. It is also an excellent place to learn about the vibrant history of the Haida First Nations.
  2. Visit the Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay: The Haida Heritage Centre is a must-visit, especially if you are interested in the culture of the Haida First Nation People. The center offers 50,000 square feet of captivating exhibits. Visitors can explore the Carving House’s intricate totem poles, check out the fascinating Canoe House, and visit the remarkable Haida Gwaii Museum. When here, do check out the Gift Shop for authentic Haida artwork. The performances, fine arts classes, and traditional canoe tours of the land and sea are a must-experience thing.
  3. Go Whale Watching: When in Haida Gwaii, you cannot simply overlook the activity of Whale Watching. This relaxing and exhilarating experience operates most time of the year. Visitors can book a whale-watching tour during their stay. Operators, including Grace Broadfoot and places like Skidegate Inlet, make an ideal spot to observe Whales from close. The Gray whales arrive from March to June, whereas Orcas frequent the area year-round. Similarly, humpback whales arrive in February and be here until the fall.
  4. Go Surfing: Surfing in Haida Gwaii is a truly unique experience. The rugged coastline here offers a variety of waves for all levels of surfers. North Beach, Tow Hill, and Rennell Sound are some of the popular surfing spots in Haida Gwaii. However, only experienced surfers must attempt it since cold water, strong currents, and challenging conditions can make it an adventurous experience. While Surfing, individuals can enjoy the pristine wilderness, rich cultural heritage, and abundant wildlife as well.
  5. Go Fishing: Due to the abundance of marine life, Fishing in Haida Gwaii is a popular activity. Fishing enthusiasts can catch salmon, halibut, lingcod, and more. Langara Island, the waters around Graham Island, and Naden Harbour are some popular places to fish around. Anglers can also enjoy the natural beauty of the islands while trying their luck at fishing.
  6. Explore Tow Hill and Naikoon Provincial Park: The unparalleled wilderness and ocean landscapes of Haida Gwaii can be spotted at the Naikoon Provincial Park. The park boasts a lush rainforest, expansive shoreline, and unique wildlife. One of the highlights of this place is the majestic 400-foot Tow Hill. Tow Hill was formed by ancient lava flows, and it uncovered cultural sites of Haida and colonial heritage. Other places to check out here are the Blow Hole, a surge channel that releases mist, and the trek to Pesuta Shipwreck.
  7. Watch Haida Gwaii Wildlife: Haida Gwaii is home to a diverse range of wildlife and thus is an excellent place for wildlife watchers. Enthusiasts can spot a range of wildlife, from whales, dolphins, and sea lions to otters and various species of birds. The Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Naikoon Provincial Park, and the waters surrounding the archipelago are some popular options to spot wildlife. Enthusiasts can also take guided tours for an elevated experience.
  8. Enjoy Food At Haida Gwaii: When visiting Haida Gwaii, you cannot overlook the region has a rich culinary heritage of this place. Haida Gwaii is popular for its freshly caught and traditionally prepared Seafood. When here, do try salmon, halibut, crab, and clams. Besides that, try traditional Haida dishes like smoked black cod, bannock bread, and Haida-style clam chowder. Visitors can also check out local farms and market gardens and see fresh produce.

How To Reach Haida Gwaii?

Haida Gwaii isn’t connected to any part of the land in Canada, so reaching here is a journey in itself. Here are some ways you can reach Haida Gwaii:

By Air Canada daily flights: The airlines offer regular year-round flights operating between Vancouver International Airport and Sandspit, Haida Gwaii.



Pacific Coastal Airlines: The airlines operate daily flights between the Vancouver Airport (South Terminal) directly and Massett, Haida Gwaii.



Inland Air: The airlines operate seaplanes flights between Prince Rupert to Queen Charlotte and Massett.


Phone: 1-888-624-2577

BC Ferries: They operate a year-round ferry service between Prince Rupert to Skidegate in Haida Gwaii. A ferry trip takes about 8 hours, whereas the Inside Passage trip takes about 15 hours. The latter takes visitors from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert and then transfers them on the ferry to skudegate. For a ferry trip to Haida Gwaii, reservations for both foot passengers and people with vehicles are a must.

Phone: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)

Boat Launch: Moresby Camp in Cumshewa Inlet, Moresby Island, operates boat launches. Moresby Camp is a recreational site accessible via by rough logging road. Travelers need to check with the visitor centers in Sandspit, Daajing Giids, for detailed instructions on times and procedures for traveling. Also, be self-sufficient since there are no fuelling stations available in Gwaii Haanas. Also, many areas may pose a hazard to boaters and kayakers; thus, be cautious.

Moving Around In Haida Gwaii

Once you have reached Haida Gwaii, moving around is easy. Visitors can either bring their own cycles or use public transportation. Some public transportation options include Car Rentals, Airport Shuttles, Taxis/transport services, and Kayak rentals.

Best Time To Visit Haida Gwaii

For a balance between decent weather, availability of tourist services, and low tourist numbers, the Spring season between March to May is ideal.

Whereas if you want to visit Haida Gwaii during the peak tourist season, choose the summer. It is when the weather is warmest and driest, making the ideal conditions for outdoor activities. The longer daylight hours and less rainfall give incredible opportunities to the stunning landscapes of Haida Gwaii. It is important to learn that despite summer months, rainfall and cooler temperature are obvious; this comes prepared.

July and August are known for operating tourist activities, opening accommodations, and tours readily available. It is when tourists are present across the archipelago, but there’s still a sense of serenity. June is also the prime time to spot whales, while late August allows for witnessing salmon runs and observing black bears.

For lesser crowd and the best fishing opportunities, visit during the mid of September. Whereas for Surfing, plan your visit around October.

Avoid winters visiting Haida Gwaii since most of the services can be shut down, and the weather can be chilly.

Where To Stay In Haida Gwaii

There are several options for accommodations in Haida Gwaii, ranging from camping and RV parks to hotels and lodges. Here are some popular options:

  • Camping and RV parks, including Naikoon and Misty Meadows. Or private campgrounds, including Hiellen Village Longhouses and Haida House at Tllaal.
  • Hotels and motels include Queen Charlotte Lodge, Haida House at Tllaal, and the Oceanview Hotel.
  • Guest houses and bed and breakfasts, including the Copper Beech House, the McFarlane’s Bed & Breakfast, and the Heron Guest House.
  • Or check out Vacation rentals like cottages, cabins, and apartments and rent them for a night or for the week.

How Many Days Do You Need in Haida Gwaii?

The ideal duration for a visit to Haida Gwaii depends on your interests, but you can stretch it from 5 days to 2 weeks.

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