Deep Cove is one of Vancouver’s most popular destinations for locals and tourists alike. The main attraction is the deep fjord that creates an impressive vista. It is often shrouded in clouds, offering a moody atmosphere with a distinctly Pacific Northwest feel. The fjord runs deep inland, sheltering it from most weather, so it is an ideal place for beginner paddlers. For those looking to experiment with overnights, carrying families, or who just want a short distance to paddle, Twin Islands is an ideal place to aim for. The Provincial Park is a popular area with some interesting viewpoints nearby.
Sourcing a boat is often the tricky part if you don’t already have one. Cove Kayak Centre is located right at the water's edge in Deep Cove Park to the south of the main jetty, and rentals here start at $99 for a single for 24 hours, and $139 for a single for 48 hours. Mountain Equipment Co-op also offers the same rentals for $40 per day and canoes for $35 per day.
Beyond boats you will need the usual paddling gear that is legally required: PFDs, bailer, spare paddle, and rope throwbag. Synthetic clothes and an extra set in a dry bag are always recommended. Be warned as rains can come suddenly all year long, so some type of waterproofing is a good idea. In the morning, heavy mist is common, so lights and a compass are good option if you plan to kayak in those conditions.
If you are bringing your own boat or renting one from MEC, you’ll want to turn into the park driveway and stop by the kayak centre. Look carefully for signs because it’s an easy turn off to miss. On the beach you will see several kayaks, canoes and paddleboards set out. These are generally the rentals coming and going. The beach itself is smooth pebbles, and it makes for a perfect launch spot. Do your best to stay out of the way; the staff stays busy all year long. Once you’ve pulled your gear out you can park your car a 5-minute walk away on Roe Street, which runs along Cates park. Overnight parking appears to still be allowed here.
Launching from the beach is easy, but it gets pretty busy pretty quick. The main jetty is often packed with water taxis coming and going. Be warned, as there are many unlicensed rental boaters coming and going. It’s best to keep closer to the shore where possible. You can also head directly east out of deep cove to get the inevitable open water crossing over with early. If you cross early you will pass Jug Island, it’s beaches, Belcarra, and then head up north toward Racoon Island. Racoon can make for a lovely stop if you’re taking things slow and want a midway stretch. There is a good beach on the north end of the island. About 1.5 kilometers past this is the first of Twin Islands.
Alternatively, if you follow the West Shore you will paddle beside cottages and homes for a couple of kilometers. It is a pleasant paddle with plenty of seals, herons and sometimes a black bear. Bald eagles fishing is also a common sight. Eventually you will have to cross over. Often aiming for the smaller, southern Twin Island is a good bet. At high tide you can paddle between the islands easily with good views to the rocks bellow. Halfway up the larger Twin Island on the eastern shore is the dock. It has three sides, one of which is specific a paddlecraft-only space. If you encounter motorboats parked here, feel free to move them.
From here you can explore the island. It is rocky and covered with tent platforms. The summit has lovely views, and walking to the north end gives a lovely perspective up the fjord, beside the lighthouse. Camping here is possible as well, should you choose to stay. Otherwise you can return along the opposite shore you came up.