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Trip 229 - September 2, 2021 (Thursday)

Newcastle Island Trail Hike

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park

Near Nanaimo BC

Page 2 of 2

Location: Newcastle Island (Saysutshun), approximately 1.2 km off the East coast of Vancouver Island near Nanaimo.

Liked: A pleasant short ferry ride, an easy trail around the island, ocean and coastline views, several fine forest scenes, shade in the forest, sandstone quarry information signs, available coin shower, no bugs.

Of Note: Occasional noise from single-engine aircraft and passing vessels. Ferry runs on a schedule, and payment is required. Sailing waits are possible. One confusing trail intersection.

Related Websites: Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - by BC Parks, Newcastle Island Ferry Info Site.

Vancouver Island Backroad Mapbook (9th edition) Newcastle Island Coordinates: Page 19 (Nanaimo) D2.


A very pleasant Newcastle Island is located across Newcastle Channel from Vancouver Island, opposite from the city of Nanaimo. A small ferry takes just over six minutes to cover the distance of less than 1.5 kilometers from a dock in Nanaimo's Maffeo Sutton Park (not too far from Departure Bay Ferry Terminal, with service to Horseshoe Bay), to Newcastle Island, also known as Saysutshun in the language of the local indigenous people. The whole island is a BC Marine Provincial Park, and has boat docking, camping, bicycles and kayaks rentals, and hiking available. There is also a coin shower in the washroom building near the dock.

Today, we hiked the 7.5 km-long perimeter trail around Newcastle Island. There are many other trails which cross the Island and/or go to a small Mallard Lake. You can take a bicycle on the ferry (for an additional fee), but cycling is allowed only on a small portion of a perimeter trail. Besides, during busy times there could be a long line-up of people waiting to board, and someone may have to wait for the next sailing, if a bicycle takes a limited space on a small ferry.

Newcastle Island ferry runs on a schedule - check out the website linked above. If you miss the last sailing (which takes place fairly early in the day, but that depends on the season), you may have to either overnight on the island, or call a water taxi to get you back to Nanaimo.

37. Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail 4.3 km from the ferry dock.

Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail

38. A hundred meters later.

Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail in Nanaimo BC Area

39. Another fine forest scene at 4.6 km.

Hiking in Nanaimo BC Area - Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail

40. At about 4.8 km, we briefly exited from the forest before getting lost for a few minutes.

Newcastle Island Hiking British Columbia Canada

41. This is Departure Bay, with the ferry terminal about a kilometer away across the water (to the left), and loud announcements on board of those huge ferries can be clearly heard on Newcastle Island.

Hike on Newcastle Island BC

42-43. Here is this confusing part of the hike. Take note of the 5 knots sign on the tip of Newcastle Island, as this is where it all begins...

Newcastle Island British Columbia

Newcastle Island

44. ...go around the mini-cove...

Hike in Nanaimo Area - Newcastle Island Trail

45...re-enter the forest...

Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail - British Columbia Hiking

46...then, upon reaching the area around this former info board a few hundred meters later, keep LEFT. Coordinates for making that LEFT turn: N 4911.682' W 12356.694'. Elevation: -1 meter. Another marker is a pit toilet just off the main trail. Go PAST the toilet before making a right turn to continue hiking the perimeter trail.

Newcastle Island British Columbia Canada

47. If you were to make a RIGHT turn at the GPS coordinates listed above, the trail would soon deteriorate...

Newcastle Island Trail British Columbia

48...and you would end up having to scramble 10 meters up. It's possible to rejoin the main trail after that, but this sure was unexpected after such an easy trail up to this point.

Hiking on Newcastle Island

49. Here is that area near the pit toilet. Just follow the smooth wide path, making right turns after the toilet, and you won't go wrong.

Newcastle Island near Nanaimo BC Canada

50. Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail at 5.7 km from the ferry dock.

Hiking Trail in Nanaimo Area - Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail

51. The next attraction is Sandstone Quarry, at the 6.0 km mark of the trail. Coordinates: N 4911.339' W 12356.684'. Elevation: -5 meters.

Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail ad Sandstone Quarry Access Path

52. It's basically a haphazard pile of sandstone boulders, and several very interesting information signs (and a board), as well as a recovered sandstone column, brought back after the ship, which carried the column, sunk in a storm.

Newcastle Island Sandstone Quarry

53. This information board tells which prominent buildings in British Columbia used sandstone from Newcastle Island.

Newcastle Sandstone Information Board

54-56. And these two signs tell a story of a sandstone column carried by a ship named Zephyr, which sunk in a storm. The column was then recovered and brought back to serve as a monument.

Zephyr Sailship

57. Here is that column, nearly 150 years old by now.

Newcastle Island Sandstone Column

58. Continuing on the perimeter trail. At 6.3 km here.

BC Hiking - Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail

59. At 6.5 km, there is a view of the city of Nanaimo across from Newcastle Channel.

Nanaimo seen from Newcastle Island

60. Boats moored in Newcastle Channel near Newcastle Island.

Boats Moored in Newcastle Channel

61. Several deer were grazing near the trail.

Newcastle Island Deer

62. At 7.1 km, we are hiking past Newcastle Island camping area.

Newcastle Island Camping

63. A hundred meters later, we are in the open, with a huge field to our left.

Newcastle Island British Columbia

64. This fine-looking building is located at the end of the field, close to the ferry dock.

Newcastle Island BC

65-66. And we are back at the ferry dock, having completed the 7.5 km Newcastle Island Perimeter Trail.

Ferry Dock Newcastle Island British Columbia

Newcastle Island Ferry Dock

67. A good view of Newcastle Island (on the left) and Protection Island (on the right) from the ferry dock.

Newcastle Island and Protection Island

68. We are again on Grey Selkie ferry, approaching Nanaimo.

Approaching Nanaimo in Grey Selkie Newcastle Island Ferry

69. Back at the dock in Maffeo Sutton Park.

Newcastle Island Ferry Dock at Maffeo Sutton Park in Nanaimo BC Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park is a very pleasant place to visit, with a fine ferry ride, numerous good views, and easy hiking. Highly recommended.

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