The Maude Island Trail

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Maude Island is the historic 1950s site of the greatest man-made explosion the world had ever seen apart from the atoms bombs dropped during WW II. The explosion came about after miners tunneled into the rock of Maude Island, out under the sea floor, and laid tons of dynamite under the deadly Ripple Rock, a rock outcrop which jutted out from the ocean floor here and sunk many ships. The explosion removed Ripple Rock, and cleared this important passage, Seymour Narrows, for safe shipping.

To hike the he Maude Island Trail you must first drive north from Heriot Bay for about 6kms to the Walcan Road on your left. The Walcan Road is signposted on your left with a ”  ⇐ Walcan Seafood ”  sign. This dirt road takes you a kilometer or so to the Morte Lake Trail car-park on your right, which is one access point for the Maude Island Trail. (1) Park your car here at the Morte Lake car-park and then hike to Morte Lake (aprox. 30mins) to where the trail forks, then hike around either side of the lake to its far shore (aprox. 30mins more) until you reach the signpost pointing to the Maude Island Trail, where you then hike northwest from the Morte Lake Trail. The Maude Island trail goes through forest then meets and follows an old logging road and follows that before branching off and taking you around Mount Lolo. There still may be an open branch trail off the main trail, up to Lolo’s summit, about 20 minutes up. This branch trail may, however, be overgrown. The main trail now takes you out to Seymour Narrows.

maude island tug

A tug heads north through Seymour Narrows, as seen from the Maude Island Trail

then along the coast and back across Quadra to the causeway across to Maude Island. This causeway was built to allow trucks to travel out onto the island during the Ripple Rock removal work in the 1950s.

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The man-made causeway, once a road, looking from Quadra Island to Maude Island. This is now the site of a possible tidal hydro-electric project. The Maude Island Trail runs along top of the causeway.


You walk across this causeway and continue along the trail on the northwest coast of Maude Island until the trail ends at the ocean, overlooking Seymour Narrows and the old Ripple Rock site. From Morte Lake carpark to Maude Island allow yourself at least three hours of hiking time each way.

(2) The alternative and shorter trail to Maude Island can be found if you drive along the Walcan Road and go past the Morte Lake car-park and past Mud Lake and turn right down the next logging road then continue driving down this, following the correct branches, until you reach the parking area for the Maude Island Trail. From here the trail takes you for about 90 minutes to Maude Island. Note: Before you go this way ask someone who knows which logging roads to take off the main logging road, to arrive at the trail-head. Otherwise use the Morte Lake access to the Maude Island Trail.

It is interesting to sit and have lunch at the end of the trail on Maude Island and watch the vessel traffic passing through the narrows during the busy summer season. This traffic includes naval vessels, huge cruise ships, and huge tugs towing huge loads. Many of these vessels are coming from and going to such destinations as Alaska.


morte lake on right and seymour narrows on left from near Chinese Mtn summit to Beeches Mtn Trsail.jpg

This is looking down from the North Chinese Mountain Trail on Quadra, to Morte Lake on the right and the southern entrance to Seymour Narrows on the left.

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Three trails-work volunteers enjoy lunch beside Seymour Narrows at the far end of the Maude Island Trail.