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 Home > Discover BC > BC Rivers > Nitinat River

Nitinat River
There are a couple of hidden pools located just north outside Nitinat by approximately 6 km (4 miles). Both are on the Nitinat River close to the Nitinat Fish Hatchery - one is called "Red Rock," the other "The Bridge."

A Little Cold
The swimming holes found at both spots contain absolutely crystal clear water but unfortunately the Nitinat River tends to be on the cold side. Once you're in swimming, the water can take a while to get used to but is quite refreshing. For people who don't want the cold water shock, try and get a short-style wetsuit.

'Red Rock'
The first swimming hole you come to when leaving from Nitinat (Ditidaht) going north on the Caycuse M/L logging road along the Nitinat River is called 'Red Rock.' The beach is located just off the Caycuse M/L before the road forks, either going to Franklin Camp on the Carmanah Main or to Cowichan Lake.

Small Sandy Beach
Near here is a very nice small beach where the river current is not so strong. During low water periods the beach has some nice sand and rocky areas for kids to play on. Remember there are no lifeguards here so please keep an eye on your children, especially around the swift water sections, it can be dangerous.

'The Bridge'
'The Bridge' refers to swimming hole that is below a logging bridge which is just past the junction that goes to Cowichan Lake, Youbou and Lake Cowichan. Rather than go to Cowichan Lake on the Cowichan Main, take the Carmanah Main logging road which goes towards Franklin Camp. This is the route that you would take to either Port Alberni or Bamfield.

Deep Swimming Hole
You can find a very nice deep swimming hole at 'The Bridge.' Also situated here is river rock waterfront beach area. The water goes deep right away making for a great dive off the shoreline. For skin diving it makes for a fabulous dive in and out of the river currents.

Inner Tube the Nitinat River
If you enjoy floating on an air mattress or floating in an inner tube the Nitinat River has a great little run starting at "The Bridge." The ride takes a couple of hours starting near the Nitinat River Bridge and follows a horseshoe route back to the Nitinat Road downstream, making it only a short walking distance back to your car by about 2 km (1.3 mile).

Be Prepared
Just remember, try to tube down in groups for security because the river does not follow the road but meets up back up with it a little downstream. Also, you might want to wear shoes and be prepared, you might need to hike out it and it's a long way back through the bush.

Travelling on Logging Roads
You can travel to Nitinat River either from Lake Cowichan or Port Alberni please respect the fact that you'll have to use logging roads. Large vehicles and heavy equipment are constantly encountered giving off dust storms in their trail. Always be cautious, have your lights on and make sure you pull over and give them all the room you can.

Parking by Nitinat River
When you park on the road beside the Nitinat River to access the swimming holes, expect your vehicle to get covered in dust from the passing logging trucks. Keep your windows up and try and give lots of room from flying rocks by parking well off the road.

Nitinat (Dididat) Village
Nitinat (Dididat) Village is close by to Nitinat River if you happen to need gasoline, public phone or grocery store. There is also a small café serving quick meals located here as well. If you would like to stay, there is the Nitinat Lake Motel next door to the store, plus there is a Forest Service Recreation Site at Nitinat Lake which features a campground.

Nitinat Lake Forest Service Recreation Site
The unfortunate problem is that during the summer months, the Forest Service Recreation Site tends to get quite crowded with people who are windsurfing on Nitinat Lake. The campsites along the ocean are pretty well all taken with an unofficial queue line of who is next in line for a choice spot. In the back area of the recreation site there are some campsites empty which tend to have a few more bugs but are actually quite private.

Bear Country
If you are enjoying the river and countryside around Nitinat, please remember this is Bear Country. Try to avoid the rivers during heavy salmon spawning as the bears tend to be along the river. Don't visit the river unless you feel comfortable with bears around and possible bear encounters.


Hidden Pools on Nitinat River
Hidden Pools on Nitinat River


Near Red Rock
Near Red Rock


Nitinat River Bridge
Nitinat River Bridge


Beach at "The Bridge"
Beach at "The Bridge"


Tranquil Waters on Nitinat River
Tranquil Waters on Nitinat River


Rafting Near Red Rock
Rafting Near Red Rock


Logging Trucks
Logging Trucks


Windsurfer at Nitinat Lake
Windsurfer at Nitinat Lake

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