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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > The Islands  > Ditidaht 

Ditidaht
Ditidaht or Nitinat is a small First Nation Community located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Ditidaht or the 'people along the way/coast' is situated at the end of a large tidal lake called Nitinat Lake which is approximately 23 km (14 miles) long.

Lake Cowichan
There are a couple of ways that you can reach Ditidaht. One way is past Lake Cowichan by using the North Shore Road through Youbou around 52 km (32 miles) or via the South Shore Rd and Honeymoon Bay which route is just a little longer.

Port Alberni
The other way in is from Port Alberni 70 km (43.5 miles) away by taking the road to Bamfield, then turn off at Franklin River and follow the Little Nitinat River to Nitinat.

Dididat Village
Dididat Village is a very small community with limited services. At one time there was small grocery store with gasoline, a few groceries and a small café serving quick meals but unfortunately it has now closed (July 2011). Apparently the public phone outside the store still works.

Nitinat Lake Motel
There is the Nitinat Lake Motel next door to the closed store, basically besides the campground, the only other accommodation in town.

  • Nitinat Lake Motel (250) 745-3844

Nitinat Lake
Continue on the left road and Nitinat Lake is just beyond here by around 1.8 km (1.1 mile) Look for the Forest Service Recreation sign that leads to the lake. This is the site where people who chase North America's winds try the Nitinat Lake for kiteboarding and windsurfing.

Kiteboarders and Windsurfers
Nitinat Lake is deceiving. When you visit the lake early it is unbelievably calm just like glass. Then, like clockwork from 10 am to 2 pm, the wind picks up from the west and the place comes alive with kiteboarders and windsurfers.

'Wind Chasers'
The report about Nitinat is that the wind springs up quickly on a sunny day and next to "The Gorge" in Washington State and Padre Island, Texas, this is a regular spot for the world's 'Wind Chasers,' especially during the months from April through September.

Nitinat Lake Forest Service Recreation Site
This is a very nice campground along the shores of Nitinat Lake. The unfortunate problem is that during the summer months it tends to get quite crowded with people. 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 were some campsites empty which tended to have a few more bugs but were actually quite private.

Be Prepared
If you do stay at the campground be prepared. There is no fresh water available here so make sure you pack in some water. The store was kind at the time and was allowing people to fill their empty containers but don't rely solely on this.

'River Loop'
If it rains, which does happen, the winds tend to stop, so besides your windsurfing and kiteboarding equipment bring a bike or kayak, or walk and be prepared to wait it out. There are a couple of great little mountain bike trails, 'The Skulls Ride' and a favourite the 'River Loop' which leads to a great little swimming hole on the Cayuse River.

Swimming holes on the Nitinat River
There are a couple of hidden gems located just outside Nitinat by around 6 km (4 miles) near Nitinat River Provincial Park one called 'Red Rock' the other 'The Bridge.' These swimming holes contain absolutely crystal clear water and tended to be a little cold but once you're in, the water is excellent.

'The Bridge'
You can tube for a couple of hours starting at 'The Bridge' to the beach next to the Nitinat Road. A great thing also because the river does not follow the road but goes like a horseshoe making it only a short walking distance back to your car about 1 km (.6 mile).

Bear Country
Just remember 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 times unless you feel comfortable with bears around.

Little Nitinat River
Located on the Franklin River road just past the turnoff to Cowichan Lake is Canada's largest salmon hatchery located on the Little Nitinat River. This hatchery has proved to be a great resource for sport fishing, providing some excellent fishing in Nitinat River, Nitinat Lake and at Nitinat Narrows and the 'The Gap' a 3 km (2 miles) long tidal channel where the lake meets the ocean.

West Coast Trail
Nitinat is just the start of discovering the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Located at "The Gap" on Nitinat Lake is where the Dididat operate a ferry across for people hiking the West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park. The trail goes usually in-between Port Renfrew and Pachena Bay but can be accessed through Nitinat with proper reservations and pick up arranged with the West Coast Trail Bus.

The Nitinat Triangle
There is also a little known canoe route close by called the Nitinat Triangle which rivals the Bowron Lakes circuit located in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. The circuit involves three pristine lakes called Hobiton, Squalicum, and Tsusiat Lakes and is a tough 38 km (24 miles) circuit.

Permit Required
Be prepared for some hard portages and plan for at least five days but you will find the scenery and wildlife well worth it. A permit is also required by Parks Canada and can be obtained by visiting The Nitinat Lake Visitor Centre or by contacting Pacific Rim National Park.

Provincial Parks
There are a couple of provincial parks close to Nitinat. Hitchie Creek Park accessed from Nitinat Lake is a wilderness campground offering great opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature appreciation. Then 1.3 km (.8 mile) from Nitinat is the turnoff to Carmanah/Walbram Provincial Park where the world's largest spruce trees and one-thousand-years-old cedars grow.

Travelling
When you travel here please respect the fact that these are logging roads. Logging is very active both on the Cowichan Main Road and the Alberni-Franklin Mains, the routes that you need to take in order to get to Nitinat.

Be Prepared
Always be cautious, have your lights on and make sure you pull over and give all the room you can to these trucks and equipment. There is no need to hurry; please carry a good spare tire, keep your eyes on the road and be prepared for dust.

 

 

Map of Nitinat, British Columbia
click map for larger image

 

Nitinat Lake
Nitinat Lake

 

Windsurfers on Nitinat lake
Windsurfers on Nitinat lake

 

Kiteboarder on Nitinat Lake
Kiteboarder on Nitinat Lake

 

Nitinat Lake Recreation Site
Nitinat Lake Recreation Site

 

"River Loop" Trail
"River Loop" Trail

 

Cayuse River swimming hole
Cayuse River swimming hole

 

Nitinat River swimming hole
Nitinat River swimming hole

 

Nitinat River
Nitinat River

 

Logging Truck on road to Nitinat
Logging Truck on road to Nitinat

 

Logging Truck on road to Nitinat
Another Logging Truck

 
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