Critter Cove is in Nootka Sound, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The nearest town is Gold River. Guests arrive at Critter Cove by boat or floatplane.
Tlupana Inlet, Nootka Sound
Google map of Nootka, Gold River Boat launch and Critter Cove.
Driving directions from the Mainland to Critter Cove:
If you’re driving from the mainland you’ll need to take a ferry to Vancouver Island. For those of you coming from the United States, a good ferry to catch would be the first Tsawwassen/Nanaimo ferry in the morning. The drive from Nanaimo to Campbell River takes about 2 hours, and the drive from Campbell River to the boat launch at Gold River takes about 1.5 hours. Check the BC Ferries web site for line up conditions or reservations.
Once on Vancouver Island, follow the signs heading north to Campbell River. From Campbell River follow the signs to Gold River and head west on highway 28. Note there is no cell phone service past Campbell River, but the Gold River Village itself does have cell service when you’re passing through.
Here’s the sign in Campbell River you should look for to lead you to Highway 28 to get you to Gold River:
Some GPS’s will have you turn off Highway 28 and onto a gravel road – don’t trust your GPS here – between Campbell River and Gold River stay on the paved road Highway 28. On Highway 28 you’ll make one right-hand turn. Here’s a picture of the sign below you should look for to direct you to turn right. Just before this turn, there’s a pullout with a large wood elk and “Strathcona Park” and the turn is just after the Elk. The Elk is a nice place half way to stop and stretch your legs. There’s a washroom here too.
Once in Gold River, go through the town (turn left after the big boot to turn into the town) and head to the government dock where the boat launch and parking are. From the boat launch, it is 18 miles up Muchalet Inlet then Tlupanna Inlet to Critter Cove. Note when you’re making plans, the boat launch is tidal, so you will want to launch when the tide is no lower than 4 feet.
We recommend this route from Gold River over towing a boat to Cougar Creek. Both routes take about the same time, but the road to cougar Creek can be rough, so it is not so easy on boat trailers. If your arrangements include using one of our boats and meeting us at Cougar Creek or Critter Cove Landing for pick up, you’ll find the directions here: Cougar Creek Directions
Some guests prefer to fly into Critter Cove either to meet friends already here, or to use one of our boats. The base for Air Nootka is about a 15-minute scenic flight from Critter Cove, and they can also pick up from other Seaplane bases such as Campbell River, Vancouver and Victoria. There are scheduled fixed wing flights to the Campbell River or Comox airport. There are shuttles available for hire between either airport and Gold River where Air Nootka is.
- Air Nootka 250-283-2255
- Scheduled flights from Northwest Seaplanes. 1-800-690-0086
- Kenmore Air 1-866-435-9524
- Harbour Air 1-800-665-0212
The MV Uchuck III is a 136-foot passenger and freight boat that services Nootka.
If you are not bringing your own boat to Nootka – or if you’re bringing a Kayak – you and your kayak can be dropped off at Critter Cove.
Some guests like to stay a night in Gold River, then get an early start to Nootka the next morning. There is one motel in Gold River that has ample parking if you’re towing your boat. There should be two again in 2024, but the Gold River Chalet is undergoing renovations during summer 2023 we gather.