Skookumchuck means "strong water" in First Nation. The rapids are fascinating to watch and one can sit for hours on the rocks viewing the kayakers as they play and surf in the waves. On a three-metre tide change, 200 billion gallons of water flows through the Skookumchuck, which connects Sechelt Inlet to Jervis Inlet. To view the most spectacular rapids, you want to time your hike so you arrive at the viewpoint when the tidal surge is at its strongest. Make sure you dress appropriately as the hike is through a rain forest which can be cooler and damp even in the summer. Some say the rapids are second only to The Bay of Fundi but the locals would argue that on a large tide change the Skookumchuck is clearly mother nature's largest. The Skookumchuck rapids can reach speeds of 20 MPH or 18-20 Knots.
From Sechelt the drive to the Skookumchuck park is about 45 min to an hour. Make sure you allow approx 45 min to an hour to walk in once you reach the trail head- plan your hike with the tide charts. The hiking route is a about 1.5 - 2.0 hours round trip so be sure to pack a lunch and some snacks as it can easily turn into a half day event. The best viewing area is Roland Point on a flood tide or + tide.
The Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park
has some well maintained trails and visitor viewing areas. The tidal pools, tidal rips and the tidal currents and some various sections of the park should not be taken lightly. Make sure you watch children and pets around the tide pools as the currents are very strong and will sweep away even the strongest swimmer. Only very experienced paddlers should attempt the rapids at high tide.
Access to Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park:
Follow Hwy 101 to the northern tip of the lower half of the Sunshine Coast towards the village of Egmont and Earl's Cove. In Egmont, take the Egmont Road to the Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park parking lot. Parking is free. Unload here and begin your adventure
Especially sailors, should be familiar with the tides. Make sure you plan your trip accordingly. If you are inbound on the Sechelt Inlet stop at the docks at the Back Eddy Pub prior to proceeding through to ensure your timing is right. This is especially important for sailing vessels under power at 6 knots or less. Boaters should consult the current tables and travel close to the time marked as "Turn", the period of still water. It is possible to calculate water speed at a given time between turns. Current speed is shown in knots (1 knot equals 1.15 statute miles per hour) with a "+" symbol noting a flood stream and "-" symbol noting an ebb stream.
Enjoy the Skookumchuck Narrows and Sechelt Rapids.
They are a natural wonder on the Sunshine Coast of BC, Canada and something not to be missed.