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Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park
About This Park
“There is a calm tranquility which stretches from the smooth surface of the reflecting water straight up into infinity. The deep calm of eternal silences is only disturbed by the muffled roar of throbbing waterfalls as they plunge down from sheer cliffs. There is no scenery in the world that can beat it. Not that I’ve seen the rest of the world. I don’t need to, I’ve seen Princess Louisa Inlet.”
– Erle Stanley Gardner, “Log of a Landlubber”
Far inland, approached from the Strait of Georgia by way of Jervis Inlet, Princess Louisa Inlet has a charm and scenic beauty that must be seen and experienced.
Glaciation of millennia past carved the magnificent granite-walled gorge through the snow-tipped mountains that rise sharply from the water’s edge to heights in excess of 2,100 metres (7,000 feet). As placid as a mountain lake, the ocean waters of Princess Louisa Inlet move constantly with the tides, but currents are practically nonexistent, except for the seven to ten-knot Malibu Rapids at the entrance. The inlet, almost completely enclosed, is 300 metres (1,000 feet) deep and never over 800 metres (1/2 mile) wide in its eight-kilometre (five-mile) length.
Until mid-June, the warm sun melting the mountain snow-pack creates more than sixty waterfalls that cascade and spume down precipitous walls to mingle with the waters of Princess Louisa Inlet. Beautiful Chatterbox Falls at the head of the inlet tumbles 40 metres (120 feet).
This spectacular park contains a number of campsites, a ranger cabin, picnic shelter and toilets. For boaters there is a mooring buoy, stern pins, a boat dock and a dinghy dock.
Know Before You Go
- The marine park is managed by BC Parks with the cooperation of the Princess Louisa International Society. The Princess Louisa International Society raises funds to maintain and develop the Princess Louisa Inlet Marine Park: to provide additional and enhanced facilities; to acquire additional lands within Princess Louisa Inlet for dedication as Park; to preserve and protect the unique marine and upland environment of the Inlet for the benefit of all. Memberships and tax receipts for donations are available from the Society.
- To help preserve the natural values in this park, please do not discharge sewage at docks or in anchorages, but keep sewage contained in holding tanks while at anchor.
- Maximum vessel length allowed on the docks is less than 18 metres (55 feet).
- Slow down to less than 5 knots and keep your wake to a minimum when approaching the dock.
- Minimize exhaust and noise from generators and limit their use to 9:00am to 11:00am and 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
- Please consider your neighbours and observe the quiet time from 11:00pm to 7:00am.
- Dock use may be limited to 72 hours during the high-use season.
- Rockfish Conservation Areas occur within this park.Fishing activities are limited in Rockfish Conservation Areas. Before you go fishing please refer to the Rockfish Conservation Area descriptions available from Fisheries and Oceans Canada DFO. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
This marine park is located in the Princess Louisa Inlet and is only accessible by boat or plane. There are no public roads. The only entrance to the marine park is through the Straight of Georgia by way of Jervis Inlet, 90 km north of Skookumchuck Narrows.
Nature and Culture
History: The park was created in June 24, 1965. The area surrounding Chatterbox Falls was originally purchased by James F. Macdonald until it was passed on to the non-profit Princess Louisa International Society in 1953. After years of guardianship by the Society, the park’s administration was given over to the Government of the Province of BC for all to enjoy. Learn more about this park’s fascinating history.
The marine park is managed by BC Parks with the cooperation of the Princess Louisa International Society. The Princess Louisa International Society actively supports the park with capital investments to provide additional and enhanced facilities. Memberships and tax receipts (Revenue Canada only) for donations are available from the Society.
- Cultural Heritage: Princess Louisa Inlet referred to as Suivoolot or “sunny and warm” by indigenous peoples, served as an active part of indigenous lore for such groups as the shíshálh Nation.
- Conservation: The park offers a unique setting with tranquil waters surrounded by a granite-walled gorge. Cut by a glacier, the walls rise to heights in excess of 2,100 metres. Numerous waterfalls ribbon the walls of the gorge as snow melts, including the magnificent Chatterbox Falls.
Activities Available at this Park
There are opportunities for canoeing or kayaking at this park.
Princess Louisa Inlet has been designated a Rock Fish Conservation Area. All fishing is prohibited within the inlet.
There is a year-round Shellfish closure, harvesting is prohibited within the inlet (this includes, clams, mussels, oysters and other bivalve molluscs).
There are 800 metres of trails/boardwalks located at Chatterbox Falls.
A new trail adjacent to Macdonald Island was completed in 2015. It is a 1km easy to moderate loop trail that winds thru the forest to a rock out cropping where two benches are placed overlooking the inlet. Access is from dingy dock and past the campsites.
Outside the park is a nearby hiking trail to Trappers Cabin that takes approximately 2 hours and is somewhat dangerous and difficult. It is approximately 7 hours to the alpine and another half day to the icefield. These trails are recommended for experienced mountaineers only.
For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
Pets on Leash
Pets/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.
There are scuba diving/snorkelling opportunities. There are no facilities provided. Scuba parties must be self-sufficient.
There is no designated swimming area in the park. All swimming is ocean swimming but some people like to swim where the creek from Chatterbox Fall enters the ocean. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
A viewing platform is located at the bottom of Chatterbox Falls. The entire Princess Louisa Inlet provides an outstanding viewscape. Numerous waterfalls ribbon the walls of the gorge as snow melts, including the magnificent Chatterbox Falls.
Facilities Available at this Park
This park does not have a boat launch. However, there is a 200 metre mooring float at Chatterbox falls and 5 mooring bouys located at Macdonald Island. Vessels travelling in Princess Louisa Inlet are asked to keep vessel speed below 4 knots. To help preserve the natural values in this park, please do not discharge sewage in anchorages, but keep sewage contained in holding tanks while at anchor. Maximum vessel length allowed on the dock is less than 18 metres (55 feet).
A new Airplane Float was added in 2015 at the end of the 200 metre mooring float.
Campfires are permitted in designated fire rings only. No firewood is provided; please bring your own firewood. While campfires are allowed and communal fire pits are provided, we encourage visitors to conserve wood and protect the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using campstoves instead.
Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please don’t gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil.
The MacDonald Memorial Shelter is available at Chatterbox Falls. The Macdonald Memorial Shelter is a teepee style structure with 3 large openings around the perimeter and a large fire pit at its centre. There are 2 picnic tables at the shelter. 2 pit toilets, located centrally in the park, are used by campers and boaters from the main dock as well.
Pit or Flush Toilets
There are three pit toilets in this park: two are at the main Chatterbox Falls area and one is at the campsite near MacDonald Island.
Boat-in camping is allowed. There are eight walk-in tent sites available at McDonald Island and at Chatterbox Falls. The sites are available year-round, when accessible.
MacDonald Island: There are four bare ground tent sites at MacDonald Island, of which only two have tables with 1 pit toilet for all. There is no communal fire ring at MacDonald island sites: Fires are prohibited at this site. The campsite is located on the mainland adjacent to Macdonald Island with a dinghy dock for access. The campsites are located in the forest behind a small grassy area. This site is particularly suited for small boats or kayaks. Surface water is available from a spring at the rear of the camping area. The water should be boiled prior to consumption.
Chatterbox Falls: There are 4 bare ground tent sites with a picnic table at each. These are located just above the high tide line along the edge of the forest. There is 1 communal fire pit for the tent sites. Water is available from taps at the main dock and from 1 tap behind the MacDonald Memorial Shelter.