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Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve

Old growth forest landscape in Haida GwaiiMarine Conservation Area & Haida Heritage Site

Gwaii Haanas is a remote wilderness archipelago situated in the North Pacific, off the west coast of British Columbia. The area is managed by the unique partnership of Parks Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation.

Butterfly Tours explores the isolated and pristine northern & southernmost regions of Gwaii Haanas; an area preserved in its natural state. By concentrating on the most remote regions of the archipelago, we leave behind all signs of civilization. Here, the temperate rainforests include giant old-growth cedar, spruce and hemlock, completely untouched by modern logging.

The Pacific coast of Gwaii Haanas consists of island clusters, jutting headlands, sheltered inlets and secluded beaches. Humpback whales and tufted puffins thrive in this rich and diverse marine environment.

Haida Gwaii is home to the only confirmed nesting site in the West for the horned puffin. The rich waters of Haida Gwaii is the perfect site to watch the migration of seabirds. Millions of birds stop their migration here and including many in the Auk family (murres, guillemots, auklets, puffins, and murrelets). The tree tops and skies are filled with bald eagle along the shorelines and have other birds of prey like the Peregrine falcons. Bears are scavenging for salmon on wild beaches and the ocean is teeming with marine mammals feeding and socializing. Experience a rich, remote landscape that is protected by the Haida, Parks Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans.

Haida Gwaii sits in the middle of the ocean along a fault zone and near the continental shelf. The shallow waters of the Hecate Strait provide nutrient-rich waters and a path for the migratory grey whales, humpback whales, and Northern Resident Killer Whales which follow the migration of salmon. These rich waters also include other marine mammals like harbor seals, stellar sea lions, pacific-white-sided dolphins, Finn whales, and mammal-eating Orcas!

There are a limited number of people permitted in Gwaii Haanas each year. With so few visitors, the remote south end of Haida Gwaii has maintained its true wilderness appeal. Butterfly tours is one of the few licensed operators that are allowed to offer guided kayaking tours in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve & Haida Heritage Site.

Scenic beach with driftwood in Haida Gwaii

Due to the unspoiled natural ecosystems and rich cultural history of Gwaii Haanas, the entire National Park Reserve has been nominated to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for inclusion on their list of World Heritage Sites. The expressions of the Haida Totem poles are unique to this vast world we live in. They were abandoned over 100 years ago but have stood to the test of time. They display crests and stories of a culture that has not been lost. A highlight for our Southern Waters of SGang Gwaay is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of SGang Gwaay. More Haida Totems can be found on our Northern Haida Heritage Tour which is found in the remote villages of Skedans and Windy Bay. Many of the campsites we will visit on both of our tours through Gwaii Haanas will be ancient Haida sites, allowing you to find Culturally Modified Trees (CMT’s), canoe runouts, midden’s, and fish weirs.

Haida Guaii Logo

  • Haida Gwaii was previously named the Queen Charlotte Islands. (Haida Gwaii means Islands of the People in the Haida language.)
  • Gwaii Haanas is the abbreviation for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve & Haida Heritage Site, which is located on the southern portion of Haida Gwaii. (Gwaii Haanas means Islands of Beauty in the Haida language.)
  • SGang Gwaay is the Haida name for Anthony Island, near the remote southern tip of the archipelago. An incredible ancient Haida village is located on this island. The village is a World Heritage Site, once known as Ninstints or Nan Sdins. Today, the village site is known as SGang Gwaay Llnagaay. (SGang Gwaay was once thought to mean Red Cod Island in the Haida language. It is now translated as Wailing Island; referring to the sound created at certain tides when air is pushed through a hole in a rock on the island.)
Multiple kayaks lined up on a Haida Gwaii beach
Map of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve in Haida Gwaii

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Discover the breathtaking seclusion of Kunghit Island during a 6-day journey through Southern Gwaii Haanas, with an aim to visit the ancient village site of SGang Gwaay and secluded beaches.

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Explore the stunning landscape of Southern Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve on an enthralling 8-day wilderness adventure.

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Book Your Sea Kayaking Trip of a Lifetime with Butterfly Tours

Experience the untouched beauty of Gwaii Haanas' isolated east side with multi-day kayaking tours.

Immerse yourself in the otherworldly coastline, comprised of clusters of islands, jagged headlands, secluded beaches and tranquil inlets.

Encounter a diverse range of marine life in their natural environment including humpback whales, ancient murrelets, salmon and tufted puffins.

Witness nature's unbelievable beauty firsthand on our breathtaking tours through pristine landscapes. Experience raw and exquisite assets like never before.

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