Gold River is in Central Vancouver Island, close to its geographic centre. The village has a picturesque setting, and has developed tourism and sport fishing as its main economic supports, as a base for such activities as the Nootka Island trek, hiking the Elk Lake trail, climbing Golden Hinde mountain (Vancouver Island's highest peak), Crest Creek climbing crags, and the Great Walk.
Gold River developed in 1967 as a prototypical logging and pulp and paper industry community, and quickly sprang into prosperity and established excellent community facilities. Shifting world markets brought the mill closure in 1998, forcing many of Gold River's inhabitants to relocate.
In 2001, a two-year-old male orca, later named Luna, was seen in Nootka Sound alone as far inland as the marina at Gold River. Presumed to be an orphan separated from his pod, Luna became a local and international celebrity by his playful and curious behavior with lumber tugboats and recreational watercraft on Nootka Sound, and with people, including young children, on the Gold River dock. The popularity of Luna made Gold River an international attraction from early 2002 through March 2006, when Luna was killed in an accidental collision with a tugboat propeller.
- 1 Gold River Tourist Infocentre, ☏ . City government office.
13 km south is Muchalat Inlet, which extends 55 km west into Nootka Sound. The inlet's maximum depth is 380 m, and it serves as a staging area for log exports, fishing, a ferry, and seasonal tourism and sporting activities. From 1 here departs the ship MV Uchuck III for the round trip to 2 Friendly Cove.
It's also possible.
Gold River is the terminus of Hwy 28.
It's most practical. Most visitors arrive by car anyway.
- 1 Golden Hinde (The Rooster's Comb), 30 km southeast. At 2,195 m (7,201 ft), it is the highest peak on Vancouver Island. The mountain took its name from Sir Francis Drake's ship, the Golden Hind, by an early fur-trading captain, who was reminded of Drake's ship as sunset hit the mountain (which is visible from the west coast of the Island) and in honour of Drake's reputed presence off the coast of the future British Columbia during the explorer's circumnavigation of the globe from 1577–80. The present name was not officially conferred until 1938, but this was done after a reference to the peak in a fur-trader's log. The alternative name "The Rooster's Comb" was used by early alpinists because of the mountain's appearance.
- 1 Clayworks Cafe Gallery, 500 Industrial Park Place (just across the bridge), ☏ . Offers breakfast, lunch, special coffees, smoothies and homemade baking, surrounded by the works of local artists and the pottery of owners, Neil and Anita Lawrence.
- 2 Sawyer's Coffee House, 375 Nimpkish Dr Unit 31 & 32, ☏ . Good place for lunch.
- 1 Gold River Chalet, 390 Nimpkish Drive, toll-free: , fax: . Nestled at the base of the mountain with picturesque views. Free WiFi and free self serve breakfast - toast, cereal and juice.
- 2 Lodge at Gold River, 100 Muchalat Dr. Upscale lodge with 1,200 feet of riverfront.
- 3 Peppercorn Trail Motel & RV Park, 100 Muchalat Dr.
- 4 Ridgeview Motor Inn, 395 Donner Ct, ☏ .
- Yuquot is easily accessible from here. Take MV Uchuck III.
|Routes through Gold River|
|Yuquot ← ferry ←||W E||→ Strathcona Provincial Park → Campbell River|