Geo Domes, Waterfall Picnics and Luxe Lodge Dining Await in Small-Town Egmont
This seaside village offers solitude and scenery on the Sunshine Coast.
September 24, 2018
As you drive north along the Sunshine Coast towards the small village of Egmont, the tree-lined roads get curvier and the cell reception disappears completely—along with your big-city stresses. Sitting on the Sechelt Inlet, but still part of the mainland, this weekend escape provides a refreshing change of pace.
Stay: Checking In at the Spacey-Cool Geodesic Domes
The Backeddy Resort and Marina offers a mix of rustic and modern accommodations in the way of waterfront and large vintage cabins, inn rooms, RV campsites, and its most recent addition, geodesic glamping domes. Since they opened two years ago, these summer igloos are the only type of its kind in B.C. and book up quickly (available from April to October).
These sci-fi-looking domes have metal frames with a tarp-like fabric separating you from the outside elements. Consequently things can get pretty nippy at night, but each dome comes equipped with a little space heater to keep your toes warm. Spacious enough to house two people comfortably, it’s back to basics inside the dome. Each comes equipped with a small seating area by a big bay window and a queen bed with curtains for privacy. Evening reading happens by way of two small lamps, but the dome is covered in portholes that are great for stargazing.
As far as on-site food goes, there’s the Backeddy pub above reception (with an inlet view) that serves up hearty pub-standard burgers, nachos, poutines and the like. Located on 600 feet of remote shoreline, the resort had fantastically spotty wifi (but who doesn’t need a good digital detox on vacation?).
Play: Thundering Waterfall Picnic and a Hike with a View
Departing from the marina in front of the domes, Sunshine Coast Tours offers a five-hour round-trip to Princess Louisa Inlet and its star feature, Chatterbox Falls. The tour coasts along Jervis Inlet, where the Navy likes to practice because of the inlet’s extreme depth (732 metres at its deepest point). Between the fjord views and scenes of mossy rock formations, you’ll stop to check out ancient pictographs on the cliffs and sea lions lounging lazily on isles. There’s a bit of a history lesson that comes with your hike to the falls. Our guide told us all about how Mount Churchill was used as a quest back in the day to test young adults to see if they could make their way down safely; and we learned that Vancouver Bay, named after George Vancouver, still acts as a hunting ground for black bear, deer and elk.
Just before you get to the falls you’ll see the stunning Malibu Camp, a former resort to celebrities the likes of John Wayne and Bing Crosby, although our guide told us that nowadays it plays host to the U.S. Army and a Christian summer camp. As you’re in the heart of the rainforest here in the Princess Louisa Inlet, Chatterbox Falls is appropriately misty. A BYO lunch is had picnic-style, right in front of Chatterbox and the area is sparsely populated so it’s like you’ve got those thundering falls all to yourself.
Fitting in a sightseeing hike is a must in a place like this, so check out Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park, which is just a few minutes away from Backeddy by car. Roughly a two-hour round trip, the trail at this park is well developed, and besides a few slight inclines and some roots to climb over, the hike is a breeze for beginners. We passed Brown Lake during our trek; the ice-still waters created a mirror image of the old-growth forest and blue skies above (a.k.a. Insta gold). Your main destination is Roland Point, to get the best wide-open view of the Sechelt Rapids at Skookumchuck Narrows. Twice a day, the tide changes and reverses direction, resulting in waves that can get up to nine-feet high, attracting adventurous kayakers and surfers from all over the world.
Eat: Sticky Cinnamon Snacks and Gourmet Waterfront Fare
Your post-hike snack is at Skookumchuck Bakery and Cafe (marked by an old pickup truck with a surfboard on top). Situated at the base of the trail in the forest, the bakery will lure you in with the scrumptious aromas wafting from its daily fresh-baked blackberry muffins and spinach feta rolls. Also on the menu: soups, sandwiches, locally-roasted coffee and smoothies, but we suggest you opt for a soft and gooey Skookum cinnamon bun and enjoy it out onto their cozy patio overlooking the forest.
Egmont isn’t flush with dining options, but the luxe and woodsy West Coast Wilderness Lodge is just a few minutes away from the Backeddy. Open from May to October, the lodge is really popular with international visitors and in the summer it hosts a wedding nearly every weekend. Sitting on a tree-lined cliff, overlooking the Sechelt Inlet and a smattering of tiny islands, is the lodge’s fine dining option, Inlets Restaurant. Feast on dishes like seafood chowder, wild mushroom risotto, beef tenderloin and pistachio-crusted lamb (a table favourite). For dessert, they have this new (and fabulously decadent) panna cotta with orange and ginger gelée on top. As you dine, the skies beyond Sechelt Inlet turn from coral to inky black, which serves as the perfect backdrop to the canopied patio roof entwined with twinkling lights.
Where is it exactly? Egmont is located 6 kilometres east of the BC Ferry terminal at Earls Cove at the north end of the Sechelt Peninsula on the Sunshine Coast.
Directions: From Vancouver, take the Horseshoe Bay Ferry in West Vancouver to Langdale (about 40 minutes) and drive 85 kilometres to Egmont via Highway 101.
Time: About 3 hours start to finish (or roughly the equivalent of 18 rounds of eye spy, with breaks for carpool karaoke).