Zeballos is a small village located approximately 42 km (26 miles)
west of the Hwy 19 junction found just north of Woss
and south of Port McNeill on northern
Zeballos is named after Lieutenant Ciriaco Cevallos by the Spanish
explorer, Captain Alejandro Malaspina, in 1792.
During the 1920's, gold was discovered in the creeks and riverbeds
throughout the Zeballos area. The gold ore was of such a high quality
that the name 'Zeballos' became synonymous with new gold activity
throughout the mid-1900's in North America.
After World War II, the gold industry never recovered in the Zeballos
region and both logging and later an iron mine became the main job
creators. The iron mine eventually shut down in 1969 leaving logging
as the main economic means for the locals in Zeballos.
Road to Zeballos
The turnoff to Zeballos is located just north of Woss on Hwy 19
just south of Nimpkish, usually taking around 25 minutes from Woss.
The gravel road in to Zeballos from the junction point on Hwy 19
usually takes around 1.5 hours to drive.
Once you're on the Zeballos Road you'll first pass over a one lane
bridge across the Nimpkish River. If you enjoy a good refreshing
swim there is a nice swimming hole just below the bridge where the
river flows through a rock canyon.
to Anutz Lake
Just past Nimpkish River is the turnoff for Anutz Lake which offers
some good fishing. After Anutz Lake there is Dianne Lake, Little
Hustan Regional Cave Park and Hustan Lake. Other fishing lakes in
this area off the Zeballos Road include worth exploring include
Mukwilla, Artish and Atluck.
Little Hustan Caves offers self-guided tours along a very large
limestone system called the Quatsino Formation.The caves make a
great introduction for the novice caver featuring some canyons,
rock arches, sinkholes plus a river which disappears, then reappears,
amongst the limestone formations.
Zeballos is situated at the end of Zeballos Inlet that happens to
be an arm of the larger Esperanza Inlet. Esperanza Inlet borders
the north side of Nootka Island and opens up into the Pacific Ocean
and the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This closeness to the Pacific
makes Zeballos just ideal for excellent saltwater fishing and unreal
boating around Nootka Island.
You can find the Zeballos General Store which has a liquor outlet
plus fuel near the public dock. Close by to the waterfront by a
short walk is also some public washrooms, the Zeballos Community
Centre, Village Office, Zeballos Museum, Zeballos Hotel, Rosa Island
Lodge and the Iris Lodge Motel. The hotel has a pub,the lodge contains
a restaurant and general store, the motel a fully licensed restaurant
called Carrie's Cafe.
There is also a rustic campground in Zeballos called Cevallos Campsite
with a maximum stay of 14 days. Cost is an unbelievable $5 a day
per unit to be paid at the Village Office.
There are a couple of hiking trails which start right out of Zeballos.
One is the Little Zeballos Trail which serves as an evacuation route
in case of a tsunami, the other is the Zeballos River Estuary Trail
where you can find lots of boardwalks with excellent bird watching
opportunities especially at the wildlife platform found near the
The Artlish Cave Provincial Park is located just north of Zeballos
- these are some of the biggest caves on Vancouver Island. They
can only be accessed by guided tours. Check with the Zeballos Chamber
of Commerce for more information on operating conditions and accessing
the entrance to the caves.
There are some very impressive large granite-faced mountains on
the road into Zeballos. Some areas are quite popular for rock climbing
or rock hounding especially near Rugged Mountain which is just outside
the south boundary of Woss Lake Provincial Park.
River Forestry Road
You have to take the forestry road found east of town up the Nomash
River. The rough gravel road goes up into the Nomash and Wapiti
Valleys where you can find Rugged Mountain. A favourite rock climbing
face found here is called the Nomash Slabs. The Dale Earnhardt Dome
has an amazing rock face appearing right out of the mountains.
The forest and bush around Zeballos is very beautiful with lots
of trails and roads found throughout the area. One thing you'll
want to be on guard for is the possible encounter with cougars or
bears. Be prepared and always watch your children or dogs, especially
when exploring the remote areas.
Remember when you are travelling into and around Zeballos area by
forestry road that most of the roads are owned by private logging
companies. Please keep in mind that logging trucks have the right
of way, so drive with your lights on and keep in mind that vehicles
must use pullouts and yield to logging trucks at all times.
If you are driving into Zeballos there are signs present required
to have chains. The road passes through a narrow steep gorge along
the Zeballos River called Canyon Hill which can prove to be quite
treacherous during the winter time. From Canyon Hill there is a
beautiful view of 1,576 metres (5,170 feet) high Zeballos Peak.
For those of who want some more adventure try continuing on the
Zeballos Road to Fair Harbour about another hour away. The 32 km
(20 miles) gravel road goes along Espinosa Inlet, inland to Kaouk
River then down the river valley to Fair Harbour. Fair Harbour sits
on the eastern side of Kyuquot Sound with good boat access to the
Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation village of Kyuquot. You can find a goverment
dock, a very rustic campground and primative boat launch at Fair
If you do happen to bring a boat of some kind, try and view some
of the provincial marine parks situated nearby where you can find
excellent sightseeing, exploring and kayaking. A couple of favourites
to visit are Bunsby Islands situated south of Brooks Peninsula Provincial
Park, Kyuquot Sound and Nuchatlitz Inlet.
To service the various coastal communities on the West Coast of
Vancouver Island, the M.V. Uchuck III sails through Nootka
and Kyoquot Sounds. The M.V. Uchuck III offers passenger
service weekly service from Gold River
to Zeballos with stops along the way at Tahsis
and Yuquot (Friendly Cove) through the summer months.
If you happen to be in the Zeballos area for the caving, you might
also want to try the Upana Caves. These are located east of Campbell
River near Gold River. The Upana Caves have both an organized
tour and self-guided tour available taking you through the various
caves that join up through 15 known entrances.
For real serious hikers who enjoy going out for a number of days
at a time, try the Nootka Island Trail located on the south side
of Nootka Island. The hike is very challenging, quite remote and
requires being well-prepared. Zeballos Expeditions, a local operator,
offers water taxi service to get you to either of the two trailheads.