One of the greatest natural spectacles in British Columbia occurs in the Skookumchuck Narrows.
Twice daily, nature puts on a show as the tide changes and the flow of saltwater switches, reversing the direction and power of these incredibly turbulent rapids. The difference in water levels between one side of the rapids and the other sometimes exceeds 9 ft in height, with 200 billion gallons of water flowing through the Skookumchuck Narrows connecting Sechelt and Jervis Inlets. The Sechelt Rapids are famous for their spectacular whirlpools and, for their attraction to extreme kayakers and divers. “Skook”, as it is affectionately named, is one of the great whitewater wonders of the world, attracting thrill-seekers from across the globe.
The rapids can be reached by a popular and easy 4 km hike along a well-developed trail, with minimal elevation change, which takes about one hour to walk. The trail takes you to the Narrows, where you can choose one of two viewing locations: Roland Point and North Point. If you’re looking to see big waves, check out the “Flood Tide”, which can be viewed from the Roland Point viewing area. The whirlpool and tidal pool activity is found during the “Ebb Tide” and can be viewed from the North Point viewing area.
You can download and print our Skookumchuck Tides Brochure (PDF), which lists the best viewing times for each day of the year. It is a twelve-page document, with one page for each month of the year. Flood tides are denoted by a (+) and ebb tides by a (-). Large (L) and extra-large (XL) tides have the more dramatic rapids.
There is approximately a half-hour window on either side of the “Best Viewing” times, so you don’t need to be there right at the exact time. For more information, check out our Hiking Guide for Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park.