Located along the immaculate Northwest Coast of BC, the Metlakatla Wilderness Trail is situated on land inhabited by Coastal Tsimshian people for thousands of years.
The trail runs along the forested shoreline of the Tsimshian Peninsula, 7 km from the city of Prince Rupert and a 15 minute ferry-ride away. Metlakatla is a small community that is one of the seven Tsimshian village communities in British Columbia. The name Metlakatla derives from the Tsimshian Maxłaxaała, which means “saltwater pass.”
After arriving at the ferry dock and a quick walk through the Metlakatla village you’ll come to the trail head. Along the trail are several ancient village sites, which can be identified by shell middens and culturally modified cedar trees. The trail is about 20km long there and back – and takes about 8 hours total to walk. It is an easy hike, and accessible to all age groups.
The first 5.5 km consists of a capped all-weather gravel surface and includes approximately 3 km of cedar boardwalk through the lagoon area which would otherwise be inaccessible. The trail offers three engineered suspension bridges and a forest canopy walkway to a tower viewpoint. A small campsite has been built at the 7.5 km mark suitable for up to 7 tents. Outhouses are available at the trailhead sign and campsite. The remaining 4.5 km of the trail are clearly marked and hikers walk on the mossy-surface of the forest floor following the natural contours of the coastal forested shoreline. The pristine shoreline can also be explored at all points along the trail and includes three sandbars which hikers can visit during low-tide. Please check our safety precautions for info on tidal safety.
Marine Environment and Wildlife
The Metlakatla Pass and surrounding area is home to a diverse array of marine sea-life that supports the dietary and traditional needs of the people who live here. In July and August, migrating humpback whales can often be seen from the shoreline. The trail has also been built within an area categorized by Birds Canada as an “Important Bird Area”, and is a recommended spot for birdwatchers. As stewards of the land, we value our local environment, and we request that you will too. Please take all garbage and belongings with you when you leave, and be mindful during your visit about your potential impacts on local land and habitats.