The Cortes Island identity grows from our forests. Forests offer homes for our wildlife, inspiration for our children and artists, and form an important part of our island economy.

In 2013, the Cortes Community Forest Partnership, made up of the Cortes Community Forest Co-op and the Klahoose First Nation, submitted a completed application to the BC Provincial Government to transfer most of the island’s crown land to community managed forest. It was the successful completion of more than 20 years of community work. We’re excited to become a model for sustainable community development in the years to come.

Read more about Cortes Island’s forests and forest initiatives:

Whaletown Commons

Whaletown Commons Cortes Island Forests

Easily accessible from Whaletown Road, the Whaletown Commons offers several short loop hikes through dense, verdant forest populated by several beautiful old growth cedars along Whaletown Creek. It’s the perfect place for an easy walk, especially with children.

More information about the Commons is available from the Whaletown Commons Society

Access: Off Carrington Bay Road in Whaletown or down Jimmy Smith Road, through the Cortes Pit.
Estimated Walking Time: A variety of walks available. ~1.5 hr – 4 hours.
Local’s Tip: Maps are posted at most junctions, and trails are well-marked and easy to follow.

Children’s Forest

Carrington Bay Children's Forest Cortes Island Forests

A broad swath of land across the northwest of Cortes Island, the Children’s Forest stretches from Whaletown to Carrington Bay. It’s lined with logging roads and hiking trails — quiet and perfect for a half-day walk (or even longer).

Access: Off Carrington Bay Road in Whaletown or down Jimmy Smith Road, through the Cortes Pit.
Estimated Walking Time: A variety of walks available. ~1.5 hr – 4 hours.
Local’s Tip: Maps are posted at most junctions, and trails are well-marked and easy to follow.

Grandmother Grove

Cortes Island Forests Grandmother Grove

Grandmother Grove sits on the southwestern bank of Carrington Bay, where the sand disappears into the mouth of a stream surrounded by tall spruce and dense ferns. One of the most beautiful and accessible of Cortes Island’s day hikes.

Access: Down Jimmy Smith Road past the Cortes Pit. A longer hike can begin from Carrington Bay Road in Whaletown.
Estimated Walking Time: Various trails. ~1.5 hr – 4 hours.
Local’s Tip: Maps are posted at trail intersections. Trails are very easy to follow.

Kwas Park

Kwas Park Cortes Island Forests

Kw’as Park, a Strathcona Regional District park stretching between Hague Lake and Gunflint Lake, has more than 170 acres of hiking trails through old growth cedar, spruce groves, and bluffs with pine and manzanita. Wildlife is often spotted in the park. With so many trails, Kw’as Park is the perfect forest to explore.

Access: Off Seaford Road near the Cortes Motel or on Kw’as Bay Road — take Bartholomew Road east from Sutil Point Road, turn left at the first junction (Hague Road) and then right at the first junction (Kw’as Park Road), following the signs downhill.
Estimated Walking Time: ~1.5 hr – 4 hours.
Local’s Tip: Maps are available at both road heads. There’s also a PDF map here. The trail to the rusted Steam Donkey is an island favourite.

Siskin Lane

Siskin Lane Cortes Island Forests

The Siskin Lane Forest has two parts: a 13 acre park held by the Strathcona Regional District and a network of well-kept trails that run through the park and Siskin Lane common land, a perfect spot to walk and explore. A conservation covenant held by The Land Conservancy of BC prohibits any timber harvesting or development to protect the park’s ecological values in perpetuity.

Ha’thayim (Von Donop) Marine Provincial Park

Von Donop Marine Provincial Park Cortes Island Forests

This undeveloped marine wilderness park encompasses lakes, estuaries, a salt water lagoon and the old-growth forest Coast-Salish First nations call “Ha’thayim”. Wilderness camping is permitted and the area is popular with cruising boats seeking remote tranquility in this beautiful area. Opportunities for wildlife viewing, camping, hiking and exploration exist in this rugged park, which features reversing tidal rapids, steep-sided fjords and tidal flats within its boundaries.

If you have any updates on Cortes Island Forests, please email us at: ourCortes@gmail.com