Posted by: cherylyoung | March 18, 2012

PORTEAU COVE PROVINCIAL PARK PROVIDES AN incredible setting for the Sea To Sky Highway

 

Porteau Cove Provincial Park is situated on the most

southerly fjord in North America, and features

waterfront campsites with a view over Howe Sound

to the mountains beyond.

Camping space is limited along the shores of Howe Sound.

Wherever you decide to overnight, be prepared to share

it with sounds from the nearby highway and railway.

 

So close do freight trains come to the sites in Porteau

Cove Provincial Park that you might imagine they’re

rolling right through your tent.

Take heart in the thought that it’s a notch more

attractive than having a bear charge through, which is

not unheard of elsewhere in the woods of BC.

 

During the summer months, BC Rail’s steam locomotive

the Royal Hudson skirts the boundary of the park on

its way to Squamish, and the Skylight Dinner Train

travels up the coastline and makes its stop at Porteau Cove.

 

As you approach the park, the beach and jetty are

what first catch the eye. Only in winter, once the leaves

are down, is it possible to see through the surrounding

forest into the little cove itself.

Porteau Cove Provincial Park provides an incredible

setting, especially if the weather is in favour, the views

from the campground of the Sea to Sky Highway

are spectacular.

 

As you turn into 50-hectare Porteau Cove Provincial

Park, you pass information signs, directed at divers,

that detail the location of several marine vessels scuttled

offshore specially for underwater exploration.

 

Marine life is attracted to such wrecks, making a dive

even more exciting.

 

At Porteau Cove an artificial reef network has been

constructed from chains of tires, hollow concrete piles,

concrete blocks and steel H-beams.

In 1985, the Nakaya (41m.), a former minesweeper,

was scuttled at the northern edge of the diving area.

 

Three additional shipwrecks were sunk near the reef

network in 1992.

 

The Granthall (28m.) was a steel-hulled CPR tugboat

built in Montreal in 1928.

 

In 1967 the superstructure was removed and the

Granthall became a herring packer.

 

The other wrecks are an 11m steel dredge tender,

the Centennial III, and a 15m-ferrocement-sailboat hull.

 

Flat-calm, Howe Sound is an inviting place to paddle,

but beware the outflow winds that build on summer days.

 

The Sound is a channel for winds drawn out to the

ocean from cooler inland regions.

 

Kayakers will have an easier time of it than canoeists

when the winds rise.

It’s worth heading offshore to enjoy the views of the

Howe Sound Crest and Britannia ranges that are not

revealed from land.

 

The 1.2-mile (2-km) paddle north from Porteau Cove

to Furry Creek is a pleasant workout.

 

Watch for pictographs painted on the rock face on the

north side of the small bay just past Furry Creek.

 

(Keep an eye out for errant golf balls that may shank

your way from the nearby golf course.)

 

The boat launch at Porteau Cove Provincial Park is

the only public one accessible from Hwy 99 between

Horseshoe Bay and Squamish.

Porteau Cove Provincial Park provides 44 vehicle

camping spots and 16 walk-in sites.

 

The park provides wonderful amenities such as showers,

flush toilets, and a sani-station.

 

As this is the only provincial campground on the Sound,

campsites are in constant demand from late May

to early October.

 

The park is usually full, even on weekdays, with little

turnover of campsites in the morning.

 

If you’re intent on staying here, arrive early in the afternoon.

 

A sign posted on Hwy 99 informs travellers when

the park is full.

Although the vehicle/tent sites go quickly throughout

the summer and on Friday and Saturday nights at

other times of the year, there is usually a good chance

of getting one of the walk-in sites even if you arrive late,

except in the months from June to August.

Open all year, fees are collected from March 1 to

October 31 with full services.

 

A winter fee begins November 1 to February 28 with

limited services.

 

As soon as you enter the campground, bear right to

see if any of the oceanfront sites are vacant.

An amphitheatre is located between the drive-in and

walk-in campsites.

Interpretive displays are presented here on summer

evenings, one of the most scenic locations in the park.

 

Because there is so little level land, most sites are

relatively closely spaced compared to other provincial parks.

 

Tucked in behind the walk-in sites is the cove itself.

A stone wall on the west side is one of the few remaining

signs of a small settlement that once stood here.

 

There’s a charming sense of formality where an open lawn

is laid out beside the cove and a small bridge spans the

narrow backwater.

 

A pebble beach slopes gently into Howe Sound in Porteau

Cove Provincial Park

 

. On summer days when the tide is low and the sun high,

the warm rocks heat the incoming waters, making

swimming here a pleasure.

 

For those who brave the ocean, there are hot showers

nearby in the changing rooms.

 

Exploring the rocky beach at Porteau Cove can be an

exciting and rewarding experience.

 

No fishing, shellfish harvesting or removal of other

marine life is permitted at the park.

 

If you are just visiting Porteau Cove Provincial Park

for the day, park beside the jetty.

 

This is a wonderful place to enjoy the spectacular

views of Howe Sound while watching wet-suited divers

enter or emerge from the cold waters of the Sound.

 

When “Porteau” (porte d’eau) is translated from French

into English it means “Water’s Gate”.

This name dates from 1908 when John F. Deeks began

mining the extensive sand and gravel deposits here to

supply Vancouver.

 

A small community of employees lived here until the

beginning of the Depression, enjoying good housing,

a schoolhouse, tennis courts, and daily ferry service

from the Union Steamship Company.

Porteau Cove Provincial Park is located 24 miles (38 km)

north of Vancouver and 12.5 miles (20 km) south of

Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway 99.

 

The park is open year-round and is usually full during

good weather.

CHERYL YOUNG, REALTOR

SAANICH PENINSULA REALTY

VICTORIA B.C 

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