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."
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.
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.
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' refers to swimming hole that is below a logging bridge
which is just past the junction that goes to Cowichan Lake, Youbou
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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