Cortes Island Activities and Attractions
There's plenty to keep busy with. Or it's such a great place to do nothing at all!
Hiking, Swimming, Walking, Boating...There's so much to do! There's lots of printed info at the cabin on local things to do, hiking trails, etc.
Hague Lake has a lovely sandy beach and also a clothing optional section on the rocky bluff.
Of course, one can swim right below the cabin in tranquil Gorge Harbour. But there is also gorgeous Hague Lague near Manson's Landing (see the map). For the clothing optional area, look for the two parking areas on the left of the road shortly after passing the Cortes Motel. Then walk into the lake on the short trail and pick a nice place to camp and swim off the rocks. For the white sand beach, drive a little farther and look for a parking area on the right.
There is also access to swimming in Hague Lake from the Swim Rock in Kw'as Park (after a lovely 45 minute or so hike.
Hikes & Walks
View from Easter Bluff
Kw'as Park has a series of trails around Gunflint and Hague Lakes. Access the trails across from the Cortes Motel on Seaford Road. There is a map in the cabin of the trails.
The Easter Bluff trail has some amazing views of Cortes Bay and beyond and also of Linnea Farm. Head towards Mansons then at the Seaford Rd T junction turn left towards Cortes Bay. Then turn left onto Cortes Bay Rd. From this turn, the trailhead is about 0.9 km. It is not well marked and the pullout is small but look for other vehicles and a small sign. (About 30 minutes to the top).
Green Mountain/Gorge Harbour West View. From the main road at the cabin, right right up road to the Y. Stay left (in the direction of Squirrel Cove). Take driveway on your left. Follow road up, it will quickly change from road to trail. (About 1 1/2 - 2 hrs return from cabin, less if you drive to the trailhead).
Gorge Harbour East View. From Cabin take old logging road up behind cabin to paved driveway. Continue up paved driveway until you come to main road. Walk down past Maintenance Works Yard--just past the Works Yard is an old road. Follow up main part of road to top/clearing (approx 1 1/2-2 hours).
Von Donop Inlet/Hathayim BC Parks Trail. Take road to Squirrel Cove. 4.7km from cabin to trailhead on left side of road. A small sign marks the turnoff. 6km return trip.
There's some good info on hiking on the Our Cortes website.
Hot tub at the Gorge Harbour Marina
The Friday farmer's market at the Manson's Community Hall from 12 - 3 is wonderful for food and crafts. There are also farmer's markets at Squirrel Cove and Gorge Harbour Marina. 500 meters past the Co-op there is a roadside stand Cortez Preserved for baking and jams, it is best to call ahead.
At the Gorge Harbour Marina, there is wireless internet, a pool, hot tub and daily yoga classes available (during summer) for a small fee. There is a store open all year as well as a restaurant open May to October.
At Squirrel Cove there is The Squirrel Cove General Store and laundromat. Liquour, wine and beer can be bought at either the Cortes Market or Squirrel Cove General Store. 3 km past the Squirrel Cove store is the dump, recycling center and free store. It's a very island experience to drop off your garbage and recycling then browse the treasures (or leave your own) at the free store!
There are also a number of craft stores and galleries. There are local maps and information books available at various places on the island (and usually on the ferry). Pick up a copy for more info on shopping, dining and services available on the island.
Cortes Co-op Cafe
There is a cafe located beside the Co-op which is open year round (but limited hours off-season). There is a takeout at Squirrel Cove open in summer (the well-regarded Cove Restaurant closed) and another take out beside the Cortes Market in Manson's. Hollyhock has a dinner buffet, call for reservations. The Floathouse Restaurant at Gorge Harbour Marina is open year round but limited days off-season.