Have you ever seen a whale before? In coastal British Columbia the ocean is our backyard. The ocean is also home to incredible wildlife like seals, sea lions, Killer Whales and Humpback Whales.
The Whale Trail is a network of shore-based whale watching locations along the Pacific Coast. Visit a Whale Trail location near you as a great weekend activity. Explore the coast with your family and learn about marine mammals along the way.
Each Whale Trail location is marked with an interpretation sign so you can learn more about the marine mammals you may see, cultural history of the area and actions you can take to help protect marine mammals.
Visit the Whale Trail at these three Parks Canada locations:
ṮEḴTEḴSEN (tek-tek-sin, East Point) on Saturna Island in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is one of the very best locations in the Southern Gulf Islands to see whales from shore. On June 22, 2023, a ḰENES SOȽ (kwun-us-saw-lh) Whale Trail Opening Ceremony took place. Come and enjoy the new benches by a W̱SÁNEĆ (wh-say-nich) carver, an audio box with W̱SÁNEĆ stories and two new interpretive signs.
Bring your binoculars to get a closer look at whales swimming off the shores of Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites. Look for far off spouts and dorsal fins. While you’re there, explore the inside of the restored lighthouse and experience what life was like for lighthouse keepers and their families.
Enjoy a front row seat for your shore-based whale watching experience on the deck near the Kwisitis Visitor Centre in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The marine waters of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are important feeding areas for the Pacific Coast Feeding Group, a population of grey whales.
Your actions matter; help protect marine mammals like the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.
If you’re lucky, you might spot a Southern Resident Killer Whale while you are enjoying the Whale Trail in these Parks Canada locations. Southern Resident Killer Whales are endangered. They struggle to find enough food to eat (primarily Chinook Salmon) and are vulnerable to contaminants. Noise and disruption from boats interfere with their hunt for prey.
Exploring the Whale Trail and enjoying shore-based whale watching is one way you can reduce your impact on Southern Resident Killer Whales and other marine mammals. As you learn more about the unique species of marine mammals who live in our backyard discuss what other changes you and your family can make to help protect them.
There is more to Xplore!
Looking to learn more? Or don’t have time to visit the Whale Trail? Check out the Southern Resident Killer Whale Xplorer booklet! Complete the activities and become a “whale hero.” You can pick up your activity book and collect a different stamp from participating Parks Canada locations listed below. We are all connected to the ocean.
• Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, Front Desk
• Fort Langley National Historic Site, Visitor Centre
• Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites, Welcome Centre
•Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Sidney Operations Centre, Saturna Island Fog Alarm Building or Pender Island Museum
• Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Pacific Rim Visitor Centre