Suquash section

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The Suquash Trail or Suquash section of the Vancouver Island Trail links the communities of Port McNeill and Port Hardy and passes through the Kwakiutl/Kwagiulth First Nation community of Fort Rupert.

In the short term, the route follows existing roads from Port McNeill town-site to the mouth of the Cluxewe River (trails will hopefully soon replace most of this road).  Camping is available close to town at the Broughton Campsite ( http://www.vancouverislandnorth.ca/stakeholder/list/broughton-strait-campground/ ) or at the Cluxewe Resort – www.cluxeweresort.com/ – a First Nations business which also provides beachfront cabins to rent.  From the resort/campground, walk the beach (best at mid to low tide) on the outside of the prominent sand-spit that encloses the Cluxewe estuary and salt-marsh complex.  The Cluxewe River is wadable at low summer flows at a shallows just upstream of the final bend in the river before it merges with the ocean.  Once across, you can walk along the margin of the salt-marsh vegetation at mid to low tide levels to a second smaller stream.  Across this stream, follow along a beautiful sand beach to the Cluxewe Beach Trail at the northern end of the salt-marsh.  Be sure to stay off/out of the sensitive salt-marsh plant communities (this is a  Nature Trust of B.C. property – http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/habitat/conservation-lands/wma/cluxewe/), which are of course inundated during  high tides.

From the inland trail-head of the Cluxewe Beach Trail to the mouth of the Keogh River, the VI Trail route follows a series of recently cleared trails and sections of inactive logging road along the top of a short steep slope (old sea-cliff) that extends down to a narrow beach/rock shelf along the shoreline of Queen Charlotte Straight.  The Keogh, like the Cluxewe can be waded at its mouth at low summer flows.  Once across the Keogh, follow the fisherman’s trail along the beach just outside of the perimeter fence of the Port Hardy Airport property.  The route then follows Tsakis Way road through the community of Fort Rupert that links with the “Commuter Trail” that cuts across the peninsula to the east of Port Hardy as far as the Bear Cove Highway (access to the BC Ferries terminal to Prince Rupert).  From here, the route follows a series of shoreline trails and roads around Hardy Bay to Port Hardy town centre and wharf.