Located over 45km off the coast of British Columbia, across the mist-shrouded Hecate Strait, lie the tranquil, temperate rainforests and moss-strewn mountains of Haida Gwaii. Originally known as Xaadala Gwayee, or the islands on the boundary of the world,” Haida Gwaii archipelago is comprised of over 150 islands containing mystery, tradition and natural beauty at every corner.

Haida Gwaii British Columbia

The ancestral homeland of the Haida Nation, archaeological evidence shows that the islands have been inhabited for over 13,000 years, making it one of the oldest populated areas in Canada. 

Located far to the north of the province, these untamed lands at the edge of the world.” feature the full breadth of BC’s natural beauty and splendour.

Haida Gwaii Totem Poles British Columbia

What are the Best Things to do in Haida Gwaii?

Haida Gwaii’s sandy beaches are home to some of the best spots for cold water surfing in British Columbia. Visitors to Agate Beach in Naikoon Provincial Park might even find one of its namesake gemstones buried in the sand.

There are also many Haida Gwaii tours for kayakers and fishers, including multi-day trips along the islands’ serene coastline.

There are many Haida Gwaii art galleries that showcase traditional Haida art, like jewelry, canoes and memorial poles. The Haida Heritage Centre in Ḵay Llnagaay gives visitors the opportunity to learn about Haida Gwaii art and the traditional techniques used to make it at the Carving House and Canoe House.

Haida Gwaii Rainforest British Columbia

The islands have many beautiful natural areas and forests to explore, such as the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. Managed jointly by Parks Canada and the Haida Council, Gwaii Haanas is home not just to ancient, mossy cedars and rich wildlife, but also lost Haida villages where you can see the remnants of longhouses and memorial poles. For instance, the village of SGang Gwaay, or Ninstints, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains some of the oldest North American monument poles that still stand in their original locations.

Due to its cultural and historic importance, entry to Gwaii Haanas and SGang Gwaay is restricted to a certain number of visitors per day. Potential visitors must book in advance and attend an orientation where they will learn about Haida Culture and how to treat the land with respect.

Haida Gwaii Surfing British Columbia

Image by tasugringo via Wikimedia Commons.

How to Get to Haida Gwaii

One of the most remote, northernmost tourist destinations in British Columbia, stepping foot onto Haida Gwaii is like stepping into another world. From its breathtaking coastline to its ancient forests, the archipelago has truly earned its name, the Edge of the World.”

Note: Haida Gwaii is now welcoming fully vaccinated visitors.

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