Say Nuth Khaw Yum Park [aka Indian Arm Park] is managed collaboratively by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the province of British Columbia. Say Nuth Khaw Yum means “Serpent’s Land.” It is in the core of Tsleil-Waututh traditional territory that has from time out of mind been an area of significance to the Tsleil-Waututh people. For over a millenium, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation has continued to use the land, water and resources of the entire area of Indian Arm.
This conservation park protects the shores of Indian Arm, an 18km fjord that extends north from Burrard Inlet in Vancouver. The park area was once heavily glaciated, leaving behind a spectacular landscape featuring rugged, forested mountains, several alpine lakes, and numerous creeks. There are waterfalls, including Silver Falls and the 50 metres high Granite Falls. The park also includes Racoon and Twin Islands, both characterized by sparse vegetation, open cover, and exposed rocky ledges.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of recreation activities such as motor boating, kayaking, canoeing, and scuba diving. Indian River and the lower reaches of some creeks are perfect for recreational fishing. The old-growth forested mountains are ideal for hiking, wildlife viewing and nature appreciation. The flat beach areas along the shorelines of Bishop Creek provide opportunities for rustic camping, picnicking and other day-use activities. Marine access camping is also available on the south side of Granite Falls. Visitors can also enjoy limited, rustic camping on North (Big) Twin Island.
Marine-accessible camping is available on the south side of Bishop Creek. There is camping available on North Twin Island. There are 20 elevated wooden tent pads at the North Twin Island campground.
Please note that there is no camping on South (Little) Twin Island.
There is also marine access camping available at South Granite Falls. Gravel tent pads are available at the South Granite campground. Grassy forest clearings are available at the South Bishop campground. There are pit toilets available at each camping area. There are no mooring facilities at South Bishop Creek. There is day moorage available for vessels under 5.5 metres in length at North Twin Island and North Granite Falls.
There are no fires permitted in Say Nuth Khaw Yum Park. Bear and raccoons are common throughout the park so please hang your food and garbage in a tree out of reach of bears or use the bear-proof containers when available. Weather up Indian Arm can change rapidly, so please be prepared for heavy rains, high winds and cool temperatures.
There are no camping fees charged at this time.
There is no boat launch within the park. The nearest boat launch is at Cates Park (North Vancouver Municipal Park) located on Dollarton Highway. This launch has four paved lanes with a moderate grade. There is parking available for vehicles and trailers. Overnight parking it available at Cates Park, within the boat launch parking. This parking area is intended for the use of boat launch patrons. An overnight parking pass is required. This pass can be obtained through the District of North Vancouver at 604-990-3800. If you need overnight parking and do need the boat launch, you must find alternate overnight parking for your vehicle. Parking is available in Deep Cove.
Boats can be left in the water or beached overnight. However, overnight moorage is not permitted at any of the docks within the park. Overnight moorage is available in Deep Cove.
Sewage cannot be disposed of within the Port of Vancouver. Say Nuth Khaw Yum Park falls within the Port of Vancouver. All Sewage must be contained within a holding tank and removed.
A day-use area is located on the north side of Granite Falls near a small dock. It has a grassy area of approximately 80 x 30 metres. There is also a large grassy area at the South Bishop backcountry site. There are rocky beaches at both North and South Granite Falls. There is also a tidal beach at the mouth of Grant Creek below Granite Falls. It is a mixed sand and cobblestone beach. No fires are permitted. There are no picnic tables. Barbeques must be placed on the ground when in use, and are not permitted on the dock.
Racoon Island and South Twin Island are day-use areas, only.
This park has pit toilets. Two at North Twin Island, two at South Bishop Creek, two at South Granite Falls and two at North Granite Falls. Do not dispose of garbage in the pit toilets. It is for human waste only.
Please refer to the trail information link below. It should be noted that hikes in this area tend to be very steep and require vigorous effort. Exceptions are the B.C. Hydro trails near Buntzen Lake. Remember any elevation gain must also be lost and travelling down a steep slope can be slow and arduous. As well, these hikes are at elevation and are subject to harsh weather conditions. Snow can fall in the spring and fall and weather can close in very rapidly. Most of the hikes (except Diez Vistas) are ridge-top hikes and are therefore exposed to the elements.
Visitors can swim in the ocean but keep in mind there is no roped off area. There is a sandy beach at the mouth of Granite Falls. It is only dry at low tide. There is also a small sandy beach in the lagoon between North and South Twin islands. This beach is also dry only at low tide. All other beaches throughout the park are rocky or cobble stone.
Caution: Previous Quarry work in the North Granite Falls area has left the cliffs unstable. Large debris flows occur infrequently along steep mountain creeks. There are no lifeguards on duty.
Kayaking and canoeing is available for the experienced paddler. Paddlers can travel up the arm to either the Bishop Creek or Granite Falls camping areas (travel time with the current is approximately two hours). The estuary at the head of the arm is a unique paddling experience. At high tide the first kilometre of the river can be navigated upstream in a kayak or canoe.
A tide chart must be referenced for travels up Indian Arm. Travelling up toward the head of Indian Arm on a rising tide allows the paddler to work with the current. Conversely, while heading south, leaving the arm towards Burrard inlet, paddlers should be travelling with a falling tide.
All four camping areas can be accessed by kayak or canoe (see the above marine-accessible camping information).
The Indian River supports five species of salmon as well as sea-run cutthroat, and a small steelhead population. The pink salmon run starts in July and runs into October. Chum salmon and smaller numbers of coho and chinook salmon find their way back to the Indian River each year.
The estuary is vital habitat for prawns and crab. A wide variety of rockfish and other bottom fish are available. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
There are no viewing platforms but there are locations within the park which offer good wildlife viewing.
The Indian River estuary has excellent migratory bird watching. There have been 79 bird species identified in the park area. The entire Indian Arm has excellent sea duck activity in the winter. A variety of wildlife can be found in the park including black bear, black-tailed deer, cougar, coyote, red fox, and a variety of smaller mammals and amphibians.
Harbour seals are also common throughout Indian Arm. The sandy isthmus connecting Twin Islands is home to a variety of clams and other shellfish. Tide pools along the rocky shoreline are abound with sea life.
The fish concentrate in the Indian River estuary and then work their way up the Indian River. A large run of pink salmon (approximately 60,000 fish) make their way up the Arm on odd numbered years. The chum salmon make their way up the arm annually in large numbers. They can be seen jumping all along the shoreline. Smaller numbers of coho and chinook salmon find their way back to the Indian River each year. With the concentration of salmon in the fall, large numbers of eagles are often overhead, and amongst the salmon there are many seals feeding.
Pets and domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to the potential for problems with bears and other wildlife.
There are scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities at this park. The shoals around Raccoon and Twin Islands offer good scuba diving. There are well known scuba diving locations outside the park near Lighthouse Park and Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver as well as Porteau Cove Park in Howe Sound.
Hunting is allowed in this park. Please check the BC Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis for more information.
Adjacent to Mount Seymour Park in North Vancouver, the park is situated on the eastern and western shorelines of the upper portion of Indian Arm. The park is primarily accessed by water and the logging access road (maintained by the Squamish Forest District Office) from Squamish is closed. The closest communities are Deep Cove, North Vancouver, Belcarra, Port Coquitlam and Anmore.
Twin Island was established in 1905 as one of the earliest recreational reserves in the province. Raccoon Island was established in 1951. The reserves were designated as a park in 1981. Indian Arm was designated to park status in July 1995 as part of the Lower Mainland Nature Legacy initiative. A management agreement was signed in 1998 between the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the province of British Columbia, establishing a park management board that oversees any issues related to the management, conservation, recreational and cultural heritage objectives for the area.
This is an important hunting and fishing area for the Coast Salish First Nation, including the Tsleil-waututh (Burrard), Musqueam, and Squamish bands. Their traditional use of the area is evidenced by pictographs found in the park. The historic Wigwam Inn, at the north end of the inlet, was once a luxury resort that attracted customers travelling by steamship up Indian Arm.
The park represents the Coastal Western Hemlock and Mountain Hemlock biogeoclimatic zones and has extensive stands of old-growth forests. Typical species include western mountain hemlock, western red cedar, Douglas fir, yellow cedar, and red alder. Groundcover on lower elevations include sword fern, deer fern, and salal.
A variety of wildlife can be found in the park including black bear, blacktail deer, cougar, coyote, red fox, and a variety of smaller mammals and amphibians. Seventy-nine bird species have been identified in the park area. The Indian River supports five species of salmon as well as sea-run cutthroat, and a small steelhead population. The estuary is vital habitat for prawns, crab, and many species of overwintering waterfowl. Harbour seals are also frequent visitors to the area. The sandy isthmus connecting Twin Islands is home to a variety of clams and other shellfish. Tide pools along the rocky shoreline abound with sea life. Indigenous species include anemones, nudibranches, tritons, shrimp and rockfish. Crabs are particularly abundant and use the area off Twin Islands for breeding. View the wildlife safety page for more information on staying safe.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.