Hotham Sound Kayak Touring and Information
Paddling the Hotham Sound, British Columbia
It will take a couple of hours to paddle into Hotham Sound from your launch site in Egmont but once you’ve arrived, you will have quite the welcome. Freil Falls, a 1,400-foot tiered waterfall, greets paddlers entering the tranquil Hotham Sound. The falls serve as the Sound’s gorgeous gatekeeper and even though they can be seen from a good distance, it is worth taking time on your trip to take them in up close. Freil Falls, officially named Harmony Falls, is one of Canada’s tallest waterfalls. Its water cascades from Freil Lake, which is near the mountaintop, down sheer rock walls into the edge of Hotham Sound. You can paddle close to feel the spray of the falls and many people even get out of their boats to walk at the base of the falls. While this can be a neat experience, we advise that you watch your footing; the rock surfaces can be slippery.
Some of the deepest water on Canada’s coast is right here at the entrance to Hotham Sound. Depths just outside the sound reach down to 2,400-feet which make this an ideal location for the American and Canadian Navy to use for submarine and sonar testing, and they do. This depth also means that as you view Freil Falls, it is likely that you are sandwiched between almost 4,000 feet of water. (2,400 ft. into the deep below and 1,400 ft. cascading from above.) Once you have taken in Harmony Falls, paddle a short distance onward, keeping parallel with the shoreline; you will reach a fantastic paddling playground called the Harmony Islands.
The Harmony Islands are a great place to set up camp and use as a base for further explorations of Hotham Sound. Pack your swimsuit on this trip, because the water in Hotham Sound is exceptionally warm for the west coast and there are great spots for a summertime swim. It also isn’t a bad idea to pack a snorkel. Ever wonder what creatures are swimming beneath you as you slice through the water in your kayak? This is a great place to put on a mask and check it our. The warm water makes it a comfortable place to spend a long length of time underwater checking out the Sound’s underwater reef culture; you will observe a healthy environment full of sea critters from fish to crabs to beautiful and colorful plant-life. This is one of the only places where you can come up for air after a morning of snorkeling and see snow-capped peaks in the distance. If you don’t have a mask and snorkel, don’t worry about it; from above the water it is easy to observe sea creatures in one of the area’s many tide pools. If you don’t feel like swimming, the islands are also can be a great place to spend an afternoon fishing or just relaxing on a secluded beach.
Despite the wealth of recreational opportunities in the Harmony Islands, the most common rational kayakers use for stopping here is what these islands lack: bears. The mainland surrounding Hotham Sound is a perfect habitat for black bears and their abundant population in the area is reflective of that. These islands provide a unique, comfortable, bear-free place to pitch a tent while exploring Hotham Sound by kayak.
Beyond the Harmony Islands, you can continue paddling north into the sound to pass Syren Point and explore some interesting tide pools in Baker Bay. No matter where you take your boats within Hotham, you will most likely be enjoying some very easy paddling. The Sound’s secluded location, shielded by mountains on all sides, makes its waters some of the calmest around. Even though you will have to paddle through some choppy water in Jervis Inlet on your way to Hotham, we still recommend this trip to beginning paddlers. Gliding across Hotham’s still water is a quick way to fall in love with the ease of maneuvering a kayak.
Learn more about Kayaking the Hotham Sound with Kits Kayaking Tours