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Geography & Geology

Our geography on the pristine Malaspina Peninsula is stunning and offers a multitude of quintessential west coast activities: multi-lake canoe circuits, long distance hiking trails, mountain biking, rock climbing, lush temperate rainforests, mountain vistas, the ocean fjords, the beaches, the marine parks, kayaking, sailing, diving, fishing… you name it.

The City of Powell River lies along the shores of the Georgia Strait at the heart of the Malaspina peninsula. A deep inlet separates the area from the rest of the British Columbia mainland, resulting in a rare unspoilt natural beauty. From Vancouver follow the Sunshine Coast route for 145km/90miles. Complete your journey with a 50-minute ferry between Saltery Bay and Earl\'s Cove. The road which runs along the coast from Saltery Bay in the south to Lund in the north is the northernmost portion of Highway 101, the world’s longest highway, which begins 14,880 miles/24,000 km to the south in Chile.

Climate and Weather

Powell River enjoys a temperate coastal rainforest climate. Summers are warm but comfortable, and winter rains from November to March keep the scenery green. The community receives between 1,400 and 1,900 hours of sunshine annually. The average high temperature in July is 22.4°C/72.3°F, and in January it hits 5.0°C/41°F. The average annual rainfall ranges between 101cm/45in and 105cm/53in.

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Fjords

The Malaspina Peninsula is created by two stunning fjords, Jervis Inlet to the south and Desolation Sound to the north.

Jervis Inlet stretches 77 kilometres (48 mi) from its opening near Saltery Bay and reaches a depth of 732 metres (2,402 ft). The inlet provides access to Princess Louisa Inlet where the mile high cliffs rise sheer from placid waters and teem with dozens of waterfalls in early summer. At the head of Princess Louisa Inlet sits Chatterbox Falls, gathering waters from the snowfields and mountain meadows above to cascade throughout the year.

Desolation Sound is located at the northern end of British Columbia\'s Sunshine Coast, accessed from the tiny hamlet of Lund. This is a coastal haven of majestic fjords, towering 7,000 ft. peaks, cascading waterfalls, and pristine lakes along 60 km of coastline. Warm summer temperatures and the meeting of the tides jointly cause the Desolation Sound region to enjoy the mildest climate, richest sea life and warmest water on the BC coast. The natural shelter provided by the many inlets, islets, coves and bays make it an ideal location to explore by pleasure craft and has become popular with kayakers. The area is protected as a Provincial Marine Park.

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Mountains

The Coast Mountains including the Bunster and Smith ranges provide a backdrop to Powell River. Easily accessible from the town is the Knucklehead Recreation Area. Named for the rocky formations that rise on 5,000-foot-plus ridges around the area its gently sloping terrain is perfect for Tobogganing, Snowshoeing and Cross Country Skiing.  

Forests

About half of the world’s temperate rainforests are found on North America’s west coast. Others are found at the other end of our very long Highway 101 in Chile. Save yourself the drive and enjoy ours, we’re covered in them.Explore the trails under the shade of Douglas-fir, western red cedar, western hemlock and yellow cedar to name just a few. Hiking maps are available from our office.

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Lakes

Yes there is a Powell River although it is very short. No matter, it opens up into Powell Lake which is 50km in length and 24km wide, plenty of room for swimming, fishing, boating and picnicking. Powell Lake is also part of an eight lake system forming the Powell River canoe route. Many more lakes dot the back country and can be accessed by hiking trails. Inland Lake is wheelchair accessible and is an easy drive from Powell River.

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Cliffs

2,000ft cliffs rise above The Eldred River Valley behind Powell River. Those in the know say they provide some of the most incredible granite climbing walls in the world, easily rivaling the likes of Yosemite.

Stillwater Bluffs are just off Highway 101. This is what one local has to say, "Stillwater is heaven on earth — sheer granite cliffs, the smell of burnt moss (really, this should be a perfume!), the odd arbutus staggering upwards towards the sky, and the ocean waves crashing below.”

Islands

Our coast is dotted with islands to explore, too many to list. Here are descriptions of just two:

Jedediah is 640 acres of island paradise. Feel what it would be like to live on this coast in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The island still has the old homestead and out buildings. Paths carve their way around the island, providing excellent access to experience the island\\\'s nature throughout. Offspring of the original goats and sheep still roam the island. Sandy beaches and quiet coves welcome paddlers. Jedediah’s isolation and tranquility make it an excellent destination for kayaking and wilderness camping.

Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park offers excellent opportunities to observe and photograph wildflowers and birds. Visit in May when the island’s meadows of spring wildflowers are in bloom, or in late May to July for the harvest brodia and in the last half of June for the coastal cactus. In addition to Glaucous-winged gulls, pelagic cormorants, pigeon guillemots and black oystercatchers also return to Mitlenatch each spring to breed. Sea lions are generally present from late autumn to late spring. River otters, killer whales and harbour porpoises are often sighted offshore.

These islands are accessible by boat only. Information on how to visit them and many others is available at the Visitor   Information Centre.

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Ocean

Surrounded on three sides by ocean our scenery is second to none. The significance of our region regarding outstanding natural beauty, ecological diversity, and unspoilt wilderness has resulted in the government protecting the area.

 

Ask for information on the following parks:

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Teakerne Arm Provincial Park

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Copeland Islands Marine Provincial Park

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Hardy Island Marine Park

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Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park

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Princess Louisa Marine Park