Cape Mudge Lighthouse, Quadra Island, BC
Photo: Cape Mudge Lighthouse
Quadra Island, BC
Spirit of the West Adventures

Kayaking Desolation Sound

Quadra Island, British Columbia, Canada

Frequently Asked Questions About Quadra Island

how big, how far, how many...?
Where is Quadra Island?

Quadra Island is located on the west coast of Canada between the much larger Vancouver Island and the mainland of BC. Although it is on the 'west coast' of the country it is to the east of Vancouver Island in the sheltered waters of the Inside Passage. It is part of a group of islands known as the Discovery Islands, about 200 km north west of the city of Vancouver and roughly 250 km north of the provincial capital Victoria.

How big is Quadra?

As the crow flies Quadra Island is about 35 km (22 mi) from north to south. At its narrowest point on the southern peninsula it is less than 2 km (1.25 mi) wide and at its widest point, west to east, about 15 km (9 mi) wide. In area Quadra is about 310 square kilometres (120 sq. miles).

How long does it take to get from one end of the island to the other?

To drive from the Cape Mudge lighthouse at the south end to Surge Narrows on the north east end, allow an hour. To Granite Bay in the north west of the island is also about an hour. While most roads are paved, some of them are narrow, winding, and in places hilly. Exercise caution and stay on your side of the road. Please watch for cyclists and pedestrians at all times.

What is the closest city to Quadra?

Campbell River is the closest city to Quadra Island, just across Discovery Passage on Vancouver Island. Campbell River has a population of about 35,000 people, has most ameneties you would expect to find in a large town and is the port of departure for the 10 minute ferry crossing to Quadra Island.

How many people live on the island?

The 2011 census counted approximately 2,700 residents on Quadra Island. In the summer months that swells considerably to perhaps as much as double that number on a busy long weekend.

Peruvian explorer Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra (1743-1794)Who or what is Quadra Island named after?

Quadra Island is named for the Peruvian explorer Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra (1743-1794). Quadra served as an officer in the Spanish naval fleet and along with Captain George Vancouver, a British explorer, charted much of the coast of British Columbia in the 1770s. There are many places on Quadra and neighbouring islands named for him including: Bodega Point, Francisco Point, Sonora Island (after one of his ships) and so on.

What is there to do on Quadra Island?

That's a long reply and if you have a good look around this web site you'll find plenty of answers. Some of the highlights include: sea kayaking, hiking trails, superb mountain biking, a thriving arts community with studios and galleries open to the public, camping, canoe tripping on Main Lake, visiting the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings throughout the summer, hanging out on the beach at Rebecca Spit and much, much more... Read the Guide to the Discovery Islands for other ideas.

There are events and workshops at the Quadra Island Community Centre all year round and live music at local venues, resorts and bars. May Day and Canada Day festivities are annual celebrations that bring much of the community together. Have a look at the Discovery Islander or the GumBoot to see what's happening now.

How do I get around on Quadra?

The southern peninsula of Quadra Island is well-serviced with paved roads to all the major places and landmarks. Toward the north end of the island excellent gravel roads take you farther out. These roads are all well maintained and suitable to drive in any vehicle. Cycling is a great way to explore and get around the island. If you are travelling without a vehicle or bike you can call on the local taxi service or use the new 'Car Stop' hitch-hiking stops.

Petroglyph, Quadra Island, BCWhere are the Petroglyphs and how do you find them?

There are ancient petroglyphs at several sites around Quadra Island, some easier to find than others. The easiest to see and get an idea what you're looking for elsewhere are right at the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre at Cape Mudge Village. There are several petroglyphs on the lawn in front of the centre.

There are petroglyphs on the beach in front of Tsa-kwa-luten Lodge, near the lighthouse and as well on the beach at the end of Petroglyph Road. If you pick up a copy of Joy Inglis' booklet it will help you find your way around. Please treat these priceless treasures with respect and note that it is prohibited from disturbing the petroglyphs which includes not making rubbings. Ask at the Cultural Centre about making rubbings of the carvings there.

How do you get to the Lighthouse?

The Cape Mudge lighthouse is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. It is located on the southwest tip of the island close to Tsa-kwa-luten Lodge and R.V. Park. From Quathiaski Cove, head south on Cape Mudge Road watching for signs to Tsa-kwa-luten. Turn right (west) onto Lighthouse Road and pass the entrance to the lodge, which is on the left. Instead head straight down a steep hill to the parking lot next to the lighthouse. Click here for a detailed map of Quadra Island.

Where is the Museum/Cultural Centre?

The Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre (formerly known as the Kwagiulth Museum) is located at Cape Mudge village just a few kilometres south of Quathiaski Cove. Head south on Green Road past the Quadra Building Supply hardware store. From here the road is named We Way Road and leads directly to the village. A detailed map of Quadra Island can be found here clearly showing the location of the village.

Where is there to camp on Quadra Island with tenting?

Paid tent camping is available at Tsa-kwa-luten Lodge RV Park, the Heriot Bay Inn and the We Wai Kai campground next to Rebecca Spit. Camping is also found at designated sites on Main Lake. These sites are water access only and backcountry camping fees may be in effect. Camping elsewhere in Main Lake Park is prohibited. Along the ocean shoreline kayakers and boaters may find suitable marine camping sites.

Where are the trails on Quadra Island and which are the best for us?

There is an excellent network of trails all over Quadra Island. Some of the more popular trails are at the south end of the island and are easily reached, whereas others are farther north near Granite Bay and Surge Narrows and may take a half hour to reach by car. The Quadra Island Trails Committee publish a detailed map of the island trails which is available for purchase at various outlets on Quadra. Proceeds from the sale of the map go toward trail maintenance and repair. Click here for an overview of Quadra Island hiking trails.

Is there wildlife that we should be concerned about?

Everybody has their own view about wildlife and visitors from the city unaccustomed to being around wild animals will feel differently than locals who are used to seeing deer at the roadside and wolves slinking into the bushes. Yes there are wolves on Quadra and we are for the most part very proud to be sharing the island with them. Occassionally they can be heard howling at night and sometimes they have taken a small dog, cat or farm animal. But there has never been a dangerous encounter between people and wolves, and by behaving smart that will stay that way.

Cougars are occassionally sighted, perhaps several times a year and black bears also from time to time. But they generally keep to themselves and like the wolves shy away from interacting with people. The best source of information and advice is the BC Ministry of Environment. Please do not come to Quadra to hunt the wildlife.

Is there pet friendly accommodation on Quadra Island?

There is. Best to check with the accommodation providers directly before registering. Click here for a directory of Quadra Island accommodation.

How do I get to Cortes Island?

The ferry to Cortes leaves from Heriot Bay on the east side of Quadra. If you've arrived from Campbell River you will land in Quathiaski Cove on the west side. You need to make the 15 minute drive across the island on West Road to Heriot Bay to meet the Cortes Island ferry. Ferry times are scheduled to allow for a safe drive within the speed limit. If you are travelling without a vehicle you'll need to hitch hike at the Car Stops or call a cab.

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