Powell River Visitors Bureau has produced a brilliant map of the entire region detailing, not only the Sunshine Coast Trail, but the Powell Forest Canoe Route and  Desolation Sound. The full-colour map includes topographic information, logging roads, and other routes of interest to mountain bikers, horseback riders and hikers. Key scuba diving, kayaking, climbing and camping locations are also highlighted. Download the map in PDF format here.

Topographical Map: Geological Survey of Canada 1:50,000 series sheets for the trail are 92 F/15 & 92 F/16.

Click to View Map

The community of Powell River has it all, a remote, multi-day canoe route, a kayaker's paradise and now a 175 km bush trek. For info on the first two, follow the links: the Powell Forest Canoe Route and Desolation Sound. The latter Sunshine Coast Trail is the most recent development and, though complete, upgrading is expected to continue for some years yet.

the hulks 004

Known as "The Hulks," a flotilla of WWII era transports rings the deep water booming ground adjacet to the Powell River paper mill, providing protection from the bluster.     

The entire trail is marked with bright orange squares though more detailed signage will be gradually added. Some campsites are rustic in the extreme but then again that's why we go there. The trail is so new in fact that this author has yet to hike its entire length. I did however live in Powell River for five years and have tramped and camped throughout the region including many of the areas embraced by the new trail. Since that was well-before the trail was ever conceived the description below will be necessarily scant.

Though on the British Columbia mainland, Powell River is an isolated community sandwiched between Desolation Sound to the north and Jervis Inlet to the south. The Sunshine Coast Trail runs from land' s end at Sarah Point southward to the end of the road at the Saltery Bay ferry terminal. Ferries connect the mill town with Comox on Vancouver Island and, via the Sechelt Peninsula, to the Lower Mainland. Twice-daily bus service provides a car-free link from Vancouver. Refer to Getting to the Sunshine Coast for full details.

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Cattails

Cattails

A veritable supermarket on a stick, cattails were once a source of sustenance as well as comfort to Pacific Northwest natives. Young shoots can be eaten as greens in the spring while young flower spikes can be roasted and eaten like cobs of corn. Young roots or rhizomes (underground stems) can be peeled and eaten as is—sashimi-style, hold the wasabi—or dried and pulverized into flour. Early settlers too discovered that cattail pollen could be harvested and added to bread or pancakes. Cattail down or fluff was collected in autumn for use as a wound dressing or for stuffing pillows and bedding. Cattail leaves found use in native basketry.

Illustration by Manami Kimura