Submitted Aug 8, 2021 by Nick Jones
The Copeland Islands are located at the Northern end of the Sunshine Coast near Lund BC and near the mouth of Desolation Sound.
If you are located in the Greater Vancouver area you will need to plan for 2 ferries (Horseshoe Bay to Langdale and then Earl’s Cove to Saltrey Bay). Driving will take up between 4-8 hours from Horseshoe Bay to Lund depending upon traffic and ferry waiting times.
There are 3 launch points in Lund. The main, official one is the public boat launch in the middle of the “town” across from the Lund Hotel (there is a small charge to launch here). There is also a narrow, steep gravel ramp right behind / North of the hotel. And there is a third option which is to use the old boat building ramp behind the “The Stockpile” store which is located behind the hotel (NOTE that this 3rd option is best used at high tide given that at low tide there are rocks, beams, broken glass, etc. that you have to walk over).
Parking is available in the town but is limited to 4 days. Longer term parking is available via the hotel operators and is on the left side of the road just before you turn to go down the hill to the hotel (this lot charges $40 for 5 days and allows you to go over at a daily rate).
The paddle route from Lund to the Copelands is straightforward and follows the East shore of the peninsula North West from Lund. Once you leave Lund Harbour you will see the South Copeland Island and the channel that you follow to the Mid and North Islands. Total paddle distance is 6-7km and should take about 1-2 hours depending upon weather and tide. Depending upon the wind, one option is to cross over to the Copelands (once you are close enough to make a safe crossing) and work your way NW along the shore of the islands or in amongst the islands to find protection from the wind. NOTE that when there is a strong SE wind blowing down the channel towards Lund and a flooding tide, significant waves can build up.
Tides in this part of Georgia Straight flood to the North and ebb to the South. Lund has a tide station and so there is good tide data available online for this area.
There are currently only 2 campsites in the Copeland Islands: Mid Copeland Campsite and North Copeland Campsite. The Southern campsite is currently closed in order to allow the land to recuperate. The Mid Copeland campsite is the smaller of the two and has 10 tent platforms and 1 picnic table. North Copeland has 20 tent platforms and 2-3 picnic tables. North Copeland has a wonderful inner bay for swimming but can get crowded. North Copeland also has a couple of places to pull out kayaks. The North end of Mid Copeland has a decent pullout and has good campsites but the South end does not have any good kayak pull outs. Mid Copeland can be less busy and a good option to consider. Both islands have outhouses that are maintained by the park operator.
There is not fresh water available on the islands so you have to bring your own. If you run low however, Lund is only a couple of hours away for food and water resupply.
Base Camping & Day Trips
One good option is to set up a basecamp on either North or Mid Copeland Island and spend your days doing day trips exploring the area. Day trip options include:
Paddle to Savary Island and back. Distance there and back is about 8km either way, 16km total. Requires the right tides and winds as half the route is in open water.
Explore the Copeland Islands and Powell Islets.. There are many channels and islands in the Copelands to explore.
Paddle to Sarah Point and back (4km either way, 8km total) or even around the point into Okeover Arm (as long a paddle as you want).
If you are keen for some pastry, you can also paddle back to Lund to get Cinnamon Buns (and other tasty treats) at Nancy’s Bakery.