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Maquinna Marine Provincial Park and Protected Area
About This Park
The park, located northwest of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, also encompasses a significant wilderness area known for coastal hiking, wilderness camping, sea kayaking and wildlife viewing.
Numerous tourism companies in Tofino, Ahousaht, and Hotsprings Village offer tours and/or transportation to Hot Springs Cove, which is only accessible by water or air. A pleasant half-hour along a boardwalk trail through old-growth rainforest leads to the hot pools, which remain at an average temperature of approximately 50 degrees Celsius.
The natural hot spring pools at this park are a very unique feature. The geothermal hot springs cascade down a waterfall into half a dozen rocky pools. These pools flow from one level to the next becoming gradually cooler as the fresh spring water is cooled by ocean swells. Interpretive signs posted along the boardwalk to the hotsprings provide information about the geology and thermal features of the park.
Established Date: January 7, 1955 for the park and July 7, 2004 for the Protected Area
Size: Park – 2,667 hectares (1,269 ha upland, 1,398 ha foreshore); Protected Area – 53 hectares
Know Before You Go
- Boardwalk can be wet and slippery. Please be advised that the wooden boardwalk to the hot springs can be wet and slippery. Park visitors should wear good footwear and be mindful of the conditions when travelling in the park.
- The two kilometre boardwalk to the hotsprings may not be suitable for all people. The boardwalk includes numerous sections of stairs and has many steps that could be physically challenging for some visitors. Access to the pools is through a rock strewn area and may also pose challenges due to the uneven footing.
- Avoid times of high tides and high swells. During winter high tides, the pools fill with cold sea water. Rough water and floating wood debris may cause bodily harm to bathers. Plan your visits to the springs to avoid times of high tides and high swells. Check with the tour operator, air carrier or water taxi before you start your trip.
- There is a day-use fee of $3.00 per person per day.
- Camping and fires are prohibited in the hot springs area at the southern part of Openit Peninsula in the park. Use the private campground located to the north of the park.
- Dogs or pets are not permitted at the hotsprings beyond the start of the boardwalk or in and around the pools.
- At times, local dogs may enter the park in their search for handouts. Please do not feed or pet the local dogs as it encourages them to stay.
- Park users should ensure their food is secure while they are at the hotsprings. The change room/picnic shelter has numerous hooks available for visitors to hang their bags out of reach of dogs or wildlife.
- Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the park.
- Glass containers are not permitted in and around the pools.
- Soap, shampoo and other cleaning materials are not permitted in or near the pools.
- Clothing in this public park is not optional. Visitors must wear appropriate bathing apparel such as bathing suits/shorts.
Guiding in Parks
- In provincial parks, any person acting as a guide or offering guiding services, including vessel drop-offs, must hold a valid Park Use Permit (Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulation, Section 4). Please ensure the company you hire is legally operating in the park.
Notice to Vessel Operators
- Maquinna dock overnight fee is in effect. This applies to all vessels mooring overnight. “Vessel” means a boat, canoe, kayak or other craft used, or capable of being used, for navigation on water. Maquinna Marine Park day-use fee is not included in the purchase of a docking permit.
- Moorage: $2.00 per metre, per night (includes taxes). Rafting of vessels is not permitted.
- Fee Payment: Either a park attendant may collect the docking fee or payment can be made at the self-registration fee station located next to the on shore park entrance Information Shelter.
- Reserved Space: Reserving dock space is not permitted, red painted tie rails and signage restricts dock space for park ranger vessels, or loading zones for authorized vessels and float plane.
- Vessel Size: Docking at this facility is restricted to vessels under 12m in length, larger vessels must anchor away from dock.
- Maximum Stay: Maximum length of stay is 14 days per calendar year.
- Tsunamis are a series of unusually big waves caused by a large-scale disturbance of a body of water. If you are on the beach and feel strong shaking from an earthquake or if the water suddenly recedes, move immediately to higher ground (greater than 15 metres or 45 feet above the tide line). There is no way to be certain how high a tsunami is going to be. The first wave to arrive at the coast is often not the largest, and each wave may be separated by up to an hour or more. Waves may continue for up to twelve hours, so you must stay on high ground until advised otherwise. Do not go to the beach to watch.
Location and Maps
The following companies currently have a Park Use Permit to provide water and air access service:
Adventure Tofino Bed & Breakfast and Wildlife Tours
1 250 725-2895
1 877 795-2255
Atleo River Air Service
1 866 662-8536
Browning Pass Charters
1 250 725-3342
Jamie’s Whaling Station
1 250 725-3919
Remote Passages Marine Excursions
1 800 666-9833
Ocean Outfitters – Tofino Adventure Tour Co.
1 877 906-2326
1 866 486-3247
Tofino Water Taxi
1 866 794-2537
Tofino Resort + Marina
1 844 680-4184
Tofino Wilderness Resort
1 833 886-3466
West Coast Aquatic Safaris
1 877 594-2537
Whale Buoys Tours Ltd.
1 888 474-2288
Maps and Brochures
Nature and Culture
- Cultural Heritage: Many Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations cultural heritage sites are contained in Maquinna Provincial Marine Park.
- Conservation: Well known for its natural hot springs, Maquinna Marine Park also includes an extensive coastal area with a variety of coastal ecosystems including extensive off-shore reefs, boulder, cobble and sand beaches, sea caves, sheltered bays, kelp beds, and mudflats.
- General Wildlife, Marine & Outdoor Ethics Information
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit or Flush Toilets
Coordinates: Lat. 49° 20’ 59” North; Long. 126° 15’ 34” West
Pool Water Temperature: 50°C
Facilities: Boat dock; 2 km boardwalk trail with stairs and viewing platform; change house; picnic shelter; composting pit toilets.
Comments: Also known as Ramsay Hot Springs. The hot springs have a faint sulphur smell. They flow down a waterfall and into 6 rocky natural intertidal pools, flowing from one level to the next and becoming progressively cooler towards the ocean. It’s about a 40 minute walk (2 km) from the Maquinna dock at Hot Springs Cove and through the old-growth rain forest.
The following are not allowed at the hot spring: dogs, pets, camping, campfires, glass containers, soaps and shampoos.
There is a $3.00 user fee, per person, per day for the hot springs and an overnight moorage fee of $2.00 per metre, per night for overnight boaters using the dock.