The town of Port McNeill is located 198 km (123 miles) north of
Campbell River and 44 km (27 miles)
south of Port Hardy on Hwy 19.
Situated on the east side at the northern end of Vancouver Island,
Port McNeill is a small community that enjoys a lifestyle that is
associated with living near vast wilderness and next to an ocean
Port McNeill economy has traditionally relied on the vast forests
that surround the community and the waterfront that fronts the east
side of town. Large scale logging and transportation of timber,
plus some fishing, has been the mainstay of employment amongst the
To get to Port McNeill you have to travel off Hwy 19 east on Campbell
Way to get to town. The road follows down a hill into town to Broughton
Way. Here you can find a grocery store, heritage museum, hotel and
pub and the beautiful waterfront walk along Beach Drive on the shores
of Broughton Strait.
The fishing, wildlife watching, sailing, hiking and hunting are
all very popular outdoor sports around the Port McNeill area. If
you enjoy the vast wilderness, the region south of Port McNeill
around the Nimpkish Lake is just excellent. One area situated 5
km (3 miles) south in the Lower Nimpkish Provincial Park offers
excellent fishing for various salmon and trout.
Whale watching is all around Port McNeill with various eco-guides
offering tours in the world-famous Robson Bight area. Robson Bight
is south of Port McNeill past Telegraph Cove at the north end of
Johnstone Strait. This area is considered the world's best location
for observing Orcas (Killer Whales) in the wild.
McNeill Boat Harbour
If you do happen to be boating in the Broughton Archipelago or along
the British Columbia coastline, Port McNeill boat harbour has all
your marine needs. It is centrally located in Port McNeill where
you can easily find groceries, pharmacy needs, medical attention,
laundry, banking and liquor stores.
and Alert Bay
Located just off the coast of Port McNeill are the communities of
Sointula on Malcolm Island and Alert Bay
on Cormorant Island. Both Islands can be accessed from Port McNeill
using scheduled service by BC Ferries. The ferry terminal is located
right downtown, along the Port McNeill waterfront.
For nature lovers there is also a whale interpretation centre located
at Telegraph Cove just south of Port McNeill off Hwy 19. Telegraph
Cove is very historic in the settlement of the Johnstone Strait
area because of the presence of a past telegraph line. Telegraph
Cove is now home to Telegraph Cove Venture, a full-service marina
that offers guiding into Robson Bight.
Port McNeill is located just north of Woss
where you can find access to Mt. Cain, one of Vancouver Island's
highest peaks at a 1,804 metre (5,920 feet) elevation. Found at
Mt. Cain is where you can find the ultimate winter getaway for excellent
skiing and snowboarding. Then, in the summer, there is great hiking
and some mountain biking along some backcountry scenery.
Trucks and Equipment
If you like there is a bus service from a lower parking lot to Mt.
Cain Resort. Please remember that Mt. Cain is only open during the
weekends not on weekdays. Also the road up Mt. Cain is restricted
during the week with only forest equipment and logging trucks allowed.
Lake Provincial Park
One other lake featuring a provincial park close by to Woss that
you might want to explore is Schoen Lake Provincial Park. This park
is considered by some to be the most beautiful on Vancouver Island.
The turnoff to Schoen Lake is via the gravel road of Davie just
south of Woss on Hwy 19.
Just a reminder, if you do enjoy exploring, Port McNeill is home
to lots of bears and cougars in the forests. So much so that both
species have been scene right in town. So please be careful and
wary when walking or cycling around especially all long creeks and
rivers during the fall when the salmon spawn.
If you would like to see bears in the wild, there are eco-guide
operators offering grizzly bear viewing opportunities over on the
mainland of British Columbia situated just east of Port McNeill.
Other areas around Port McNeill worth discovering include: Beaver
Cove located near Telegraph Cove - historically a Post Office &
Steamer Landing - now a log sort used by Timber West and Canadian
Forest Products; Kokish Fish Hatchery and the forestry road into
Bonanza Lake; Nimpkish Lake where you can find great windsurfing
and freshwater fishing; Tsitika Main Line forestry road east of
Woss going into Lower Tsitika River Park. Other communities in the
area with ocean access include Port Alice,
Port Hardy, Coal Harbour, Sayward and
Remember, if you are exploring the area by forestry roads, that
these are private logging roads with the probability of encountering
heavy equipment and logging trucks. Please remember logging trucks
have the right of way; drive with your lights on as vehicles must
use pullouts and yield to logging trucks at all times.
on Port McNeill