You’ll join daily land and sea explorations with expert guides and specialists, take time for yourself, stroll Bamfield’s historic boardwalk, explore coastal rainforests, rocky shores, and sandy beaches, encounter whales, sea lions, and sea otters, view bears foraging on the shore and eagles soaring overhead, and be nourished by our locally-sourced meals created by our professional chefs, all in our cozy yet elegant lodge atmosphere situated steps from the edge of the open Pacific Ocean.
Outer Shores Lodge is also available for events such as multi-family gatherings, reunions, retreats, weddings, and workshops of all kinds. Please contact us for more information.
Outer Shores Lodge is nestled at the edge of a rocky outcrop on the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, in the remote historic fishing community of Bamfield and traditional territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation.
It’s located in an unbelievable spot in Barkley Sound, directly fronting Canada’s exposed west coast but only a minute’s walk to a protected harbour to safely launch our daily excursions. Canada’s most renowned marine biological research institution, the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, is situated directly across the harbour, which reflects the accessibility to the outer coast and significance of the surrounding ecology and marine biodiversity.
The lodge is situated on what was formerly one of many Huu-ay-aht villages called ʔuc̓uuʔa (pronounced “ootsuu-a”).
The village stood for many centuries at the current site of Outer Shores Lodge. This location is revered for its sweeping views out to the ocean, which was most important for Huu-ay-aht whalers.
With support from the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, we are deeply committed to providing visitor experiences that reflect the guidance of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations for protecting and honouring the history and significance of this site.
We’re fortunate to be able to share this awe-inspiring location with visitors from around the world, and we don’t take that for granted.
Today, this remarkable five-acre oceanfront lodge consists of the main lodge with five unique spacious bedrooms, four with private ensuite bathrooms, and features a luxurious great room with massive stone fireplace, spacious dining room, a spectacular kitchen with secondary dining area, library, and workshop space.
The site also features two private cabins, a single-story cabin with one-bedroom and a two-story cabin with two-bedrooms and loft, each fully self-contained and situated on the adjacent bluff that offers wonderful panoramic views of Barkley Sound, including west coast sunsets and winter storm viewing!
Other on-site amenities currently include a beach-side fire pit, indoor steam shower, plus an abundance of private forests, gardens, and shorelines to find peace, solitude, and space for relaxation and contemplation.
Our 5-night Spring Explorer expeditions take us on an exploration of the ecosystems, wildlife, natural history, Indigenous cultures, and the post-contact era of Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. These expeditions (also available a 7-night itinerary) give our guests the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the rhythms, ecosystems, and deep cultural history of this remarkable region while enjoy the luxury and amenities of both the classic wooden schooner Passing Cloud and Outer Shores Lodge.
Our expedition begins with your mid-morning arrival in Bamfield, typically either by floatplane from Vancouver or via the passenger and freight vessel MV Frances Barkley from Port Alberni. Upon arrival at Outer Shores Lodge, you’ll be greeted by our expedition staff who will settle you into your accommodations and give you a tour of the lodge and its amenities. After lunch, we’ll enjoy a walking tour of West Bamfield, including local beaches and the historic boardwalk.
Back at the lodge this afternoon you’ll have time relax in the ocean-front big room with stone fireplace, explore the surrounding gardens and forest, or enjoy a soak in the outdoor hot tub or indoor steam bath.
Evening presentation: Marine Mammals of Barkley Sound
If you’re an early riser, you might start your day with some pre-breakfast bird watching or photography around the lodge or the forests and beaches of West Bamfield. After breakfast this morning we’ll board the schooner Passing Cloud and cruise or sail to the Broken Group Islands of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Our excursion today will take us to the eastern portion of Barkley Sound and the Inner Broken Group Islands. We’ll anchor the Passing Cloud and board our inflatable skiffs to explore this beautiful area. We’ll be on the lookout for bald eagles, black bears feeding along the shore, as well as mink, river otters, seals, sea lions, and whales. A warm and delicious lunch will be served on the aft deck, or below deck in Passing Cloud’s spacious salon. This afternoon we’ll continue our explorations before sailing home to Outer Shores Lodge in time for dinner.
This evening, after another wonderful chef-prepared dinner, enjoy a spectacular sunset from the bluff or relax in the great room with a book from our resource library.
Evening presentation: Return of Sea Otters and Kelp Forests to Barkley Sound
Start this morning off by enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee while chatting with our culinary team or head up to the lookout bluff and enjoy panoramic ocean views and sounds as the morning unfolds around you. You can’t help but be moved by this incredible setting!
Today’s excursion aboard Passing Cloud will take us in the heart of the Broken Group Islands. After anchoring in a protected lagoon formed by Dodd, Willis, and Turtle Islands, we’ll board our inflatable skiffs to explore this spectacular area. On shore we’ll see extensive shells middens, indicating thousands of years of Indigenous habitation here. We’ll also stroll among giant old-growth cedar and spruce trees, and learn about the incredible ecological relationships that make these forests among the most productive on the planet. And if the tide is low enough, we may even see the remains of ancient clam gardens and stone fish traps as we make our way back to the ship.
Because it’s spring on the Pacific Flyway, we also expect to see a diversity coastal birds today, including kingfishers, mergansers, harlequin ducks, bufflehead, goldeneye, oyster catchers, cormorants, grebes, loons, turnstones, bald eagles, geese, and a wide variety of songbirds.
This morning we’ll start the day with another delicious breakfast at Outer Shores Lodge before boarding the Passing Cloud and departing for the outer Broken Group Islands, approximately seven nautical miles (~13 km) away. On route, guests will enjoy comfortable seating on deck, inside the wheelhouse, or even below deck in the cozy main salon enjoying our extensive library with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
Today we’ll anchor the Passing Cloud in a sheltered bay situated within the outermost of the Broken Group Islands. This exhilarating region is the domain of high-energy shorelines, seals, sea lions, whales, and even the sea otters that are currently returning to this region. Once in our inflatable skiffs, we’ll skirt the edges of kelp forests and learn about the dramatic ecological transformations that are taking place as sea otter make their come back. And, if time and tide permit, we’ll also go ashore to explore low tide in the “Great Tidepool” and explore the diverse and colourful world of seashore animals, including giant green anemones, lemon nudibranchs, bat stars, peanut worms, frilled dog whelks, and iridescent seaweeds.
After lunch we’ll travel the short distance to nearby Benson Island and tour the ancient village site of C’isaa, birthplace of the Tseshaht First Nation. Sailing home this afternoon, we’ll contemplate the more than 5000 year history of Indigenous subsistence and adaptation in this region.
Our expedition crescendos today with an inspiring and insightful guided tour of the ancient Huu-ay-aht Nation village and fortress site of Kiix?in, located just a short distance from the Outer Shores Lodge. Our Huu-ay-aht guide and cultural interpreter will lead us on a cultural journey through the history of this remarkable site, situated on a beautiful beach fronted by sea stacks, and surrounded by old-growth coastal temperate rainforest. The moss-laden remains of 12 longhouses, including standing house posts and beams, outline this village that once housed more than 500 people. We’ll learn about the lifeways of the people who lived here and how they constructed and used the adjacent fortress to protect themselves when needed. This is an approximately six-hour tour that includes a short boat ride, strolling along a boardwalk through coastal rainforest, a short beach walk, and a chef-prepared picnic lunch.