The popular 5 km (3 mile) Beautiful Bay Trail (K-3 on map) winds along a ridge through stunning rain forest with periodic glimpses of the sea and coastal mountains. Beach exits and the tide give hikers the option of designing their own circuit route. Please note the trail has been closed half-way and no longer goes all the way to Malcolm Point.
The 6km (4 miles) Mateoja Heritage Trail begins on Third Street above the town site (M-17 on map). This trail wanders through the site of an early 1900`s homestead and a marshland skirts a couple of ponds and continues on to Big Lake. Along this route there are numerous decks and benches ideal for picnics and birdwatchers. This trail is an educational trip through the ecosystems of Malcolm Island.
Both trails are rated as moderate hiking, although Beautiful Bay is more strenuous. Hikers need to allow for a return time. Plan on a halfday to complete either of these journeys.
For a shorter hike try the “S” Lake Trail (I-7 on map). Turn left off the ferry, follow First Street around to the other side of Rough Bay (approximately 4kms). Continue on the gravel road to the top of the hill and you’ll arrive at a map for Woodlot 1909. Follow the “S” Lake signs. This 1 km hike takes you through a mossy, delicate environment to a small lake and back. “S” Lake is not for swimming and no camping is allowed in this area.
Our newest hike is at the beginning of Kaleva Road, starting at Dickenson Point (T-21 on map). Kaleva Road Walkway is a 3 km long interpretive nature walk which goes to Mitchell Bay Road. This seaside walk takes about 1 ½ hours return and has viewing platforms, benches and picnic tables to enjoy the stunning views of the landscape and wildlife.
Walking around Sointula
At First Look – Go Left
Arriving in Sointula, after a short ferry ride from Port McNeill, visitors are immediately aware of the uniqueness of this historic village which effortlessly blends the past with the present. From the 100 year old Co-op in the heart of the village to the historic community halls up the street, the visitor will get a sense of the hopes and aspirations of the people who came to create a new and better society than the one they left behind.
The downtown area includes the Resource Centre, Co-op store, Gas Station, Bakery, Hotel and Post Office.
The main street to the left is a narrow road along the water, with colourfully painted older houses set in fenced gardens. On the water side are net lofts and marine ways. A walk of three blocks takes you to the interactive museum, offering a glimpse into Sointula’s past. Up on the hill by the historic halls is a working forge. Continue your stroll along 1st Street to the hardware store and finally the boat harbour. Don’t miss the historic anchor and take a moment to read the “Lost at Sea” memorial.
The commercial fleet and pleasure boats share the harbour. There is plenty of space for visiting mariners, along with power and water. There is a facility with showers, laundry and public restrooms.
A Longer Walk – Go Right
A right turn off the ferry allows a variety of activities. A shore walk past neat houses and marine ways leads to the cemetery. The gravestones offer you another slice of history. Kaleva Road continues from the cemetery for another nine kilometres along the beach. You can watch for cruise ships along any shoreline on Malcolm Island but southbound ships make a narrow turn between Dickensen Point and Haddington Island allowing for great viewing.
You can bike, walk or drive down Kaleva Road with the ocean on one side and farmland on the other. Kaleva Rd points of interest include an Artist Studio and stunning views of Vancouver Island, Cormorant Island and possibly even a glimpse of some of the many marine mammals that frequent this area in the summer.