One of the best things about visiting Port Hardy is there is so much you can do that doesn’t require an ‘open’ sign or an admission price. There are many beautiful trails to explore for an hour, several hours, or all day. You also don’t need to be an avid hiker to immerse yourself in nature, you can try out the leisurely paced walks along the Hardy Bay Seawall or the Quatse River Nature Trail. You can also venture out on an easy hike like the Commuter Trail. For those looking for an all day adventure the challenging and rugged Tex Lyon Trail will be just your cup of tea, you will definitely need a cup of tea (or perhaps something stronger) after this adventure.
No matter your fitness level, we have an adventure waiting for you. Read on and we will tell you more about some of the Port Hardy trails, the length of each and the difficulty level.
Hardy Bay Seawall
Length: less than 0.25km
This leisurely and scenic waterfront walk starts at the Visitor Centre in the heart of downtown Port Hardy. Along the route are interpretive signs about local wildlife and you can see the mountains of mainland BC in the distance. You can also visit the Japanese Garden which recognizes the relationship we have with our sister city Numata, Japan. You will also stand close and view towering totem poles and the Cenotaph honouring those who served our country.This seawall walk, complete with entrances to the rocky beach below, has perfect photo opportunities including the giant ‘Welcome to Port Hardy’ sign, the famous wooden carrot, and abundant bird life.
Quatse River Nature Trail & Estuary Trail Loop
Length: 2.5km Loop
The Quatse River Loop is a delightful leisurely stroll, sure to sooth away your cares while you wind your way through. This nature trail is easy terrain with a mixture of gravel and boardwalk surfaces. You can extend this walk by going under the bridge and continuing with the Estuary Trail. During the spring and summer months this area is a haven for various birds, such as ducks, geese, ravens, great blue heron, eagles, etc. When the salmon run occurs, the estuary and river area becomes abundant with wildlife. (Photography by Sarah Étoile)
Commuter Trail (also known as Fort Rupert Trail)
Length: 3.7 km
The Commuter Trail, also known as The Fort Rupert Trail, is a historic walk through Kwagu’ł territory. This route was used to commute between villages at Tayaguł and Bear Cove. Nowadays it is a beautiful hike through first and second-growth forests; keep an eye out for culturally modified trees. The Commuter Trail has two trail heads, located off Beaver Harbour Road and Bear Cove Highway and both have local First Nations artwork at each entrance. The trail includes boardwalk and a gravel type surfaces, and some uphill terrain. There is a beautiful lake about halfway from either direction where you can sit on a bench, rest on your journey, and enjoy the silence. (Photography by Sarah Étoile)
Tex Lyon Trail
The Tex Lyon Trail is challenging but if you are fit and have the time this trail is for you! The trail head starts at the north end of Storey’s Beach and goes out to Dillion Point. While a round trip can be done in eight hours, we recommend that you allow 12 hours for a return trip, and to watch the tides. We strongly suggest that you also be well prepared with proper attire, food, water, first aid kit, and knowledge of tide charts. Although challenging, this hike will reward you with stunning views of Beaver Harbour and the Queen Charlotte Strait. (Photography by Sarah Étoile)
It is not uncommon to encounter wildlife on some of these trails. While adventuring be sure to make your presence known – either talking with your hiking buddy, humming a song, or take a bear bell with you. For more about bear safety, visit Staying Safe in Bear Country
We have more resources and maps available at the Port Hardy Visitor Centre.