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View our guide on when, where, and how to watch marine animals from shore.

The waters of British Columbia are home to diverse and abundant marine species, including 25 species of whales and dolphins, 5 species of seals and sea lions, and river and sea otters.  From the wild west coast of Vancouver Island to the inland waters of the Salish Sea, Whale Trail sites offer spectacular vistas and opportunities to view marine mammals. Learn about whales at places like the Killer Whale Interpretive Center in Telegraph Cove, Shaw Center of the Salish Sea, and Oceanwise in Vancouver. Plan your visit using the interactive map below.

  • All Regions
  • BC Greater Vancouver
  • BC North and Central Coast
  • BC Northern Gulf Islands
  • BC Southern Gulf Islands
  • BC Vancouver Island North
  • BC Vancouver Island South
  • BC Vancouver Island West Coast

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

Barkley Sound is a rich feeding ground for many marine mammals. Our sheltered waters also make a great rest stop for migrating whales. 
Salish Orca

BC Ferries

BC Ferries is one of the largest ferry operators in the world, moving more than 60,000 customers throughout coastal BC every day. With 25 routes, BC Ferries provides an essential link between the mainland of British Columbia, and the various islands and remote areas without road access. BC Ferries also serve as advocates for the…

Bellhouse Park, Galiano Island

Located on Burrill Point, Bellhouse Park offers excellent views of busy Active Pass, Mayne Island, and the Strait of Georgia.

Cape Roger Curtis, Bowen Island

The Bowen Island Whale Trail site is located in the south west corner of the island, in the Cape Roger Curtis area. Its lovely western view looks toward Vancouver Island and offers glorious sunsets, not to mention whale sightings.

Carmanah Point Lighthouse, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is nestled in the ḥaḥuułi (traditional territories) of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. The resources of the ocean and temperate rainforests have traditionally supported the social, cultural and economic well-being of the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples for generations upon generations.

Discovery Passage, Campbell River

Discovery Passage forms part of the inner channel between Vancouver Island and the Discovery Islands, connecting Johnstone Strait to the north with the Strait of Georgia to the south.

Drummond Bay, South Pender

Drummond Bay offers a large crescent shaped pebble beach with a huge collection of driftwood. The viewing platform at the entrance offers two benches and is a beautiful place to enjoy the scenery and to watch for whales.

East Limestone Island

East Limestone Island is located in the K'uuna Gwaay Conservancy on Haida Gwaii. This island is home to Laskeek Bay Conservation Society's remote field station, where the organization has been conducting long-term monitoring and research for nearly 30 years with the support of citizen scientist volunteers.
East Point, Gulf Islands National Reserve. Photo credit: Parks Canada

East Point, Saturna Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

East Point, on Saturna Island, is one of the very best locations in the Southern Gulf Islands of Canada to see orcas from land. The Southern Resident Pods swim past East Point from May to November as they travel from the Pacific Ocean to the Fraser River Delta, which is one of their favorite feeding…

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites are located on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, today known as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day. We extend our appreciation for the opportunity to live and learn on this territory.

Fred and Bette Cotton Community Park, Mayne Island

This beautiful community park overlooks Active Pass, offering excellent views of marine mammals as they transit to and from Georgia Strait. In the summer months, keep a lookout for southern resident orcas.

Georgina Point, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Established in 2003, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve protects a portion of the Strait of Georgia Lowlands natural region. It is part of the homeland of the Coast Salish First Nations.

Gorge Harbor, Cortes Island

Nestled at the entrance to Desolation Sound in the unceeded territories of the Klahoose, Tla’amin and Homalco Nations, Cortes Island lies at the doorstep of the breathtaking fjords that penetrate British Columbia’s wild coast.

Gowlland Point, South Pender

At the very tip of South Pender Island is Gowlland Beach Public Ocean Access. A crescent shaped pebble beach reached by wooden steps from the road, it has impressive views of the San Juan Islands and on a clear day, Mt. Baker. There is a platform with a bench directly next to the parking area.


Kitimat is located at the head of the Douglas Channel on the traditional territory of the Haisla Nation. The waters here are rich with marine life. While soaking in the natural beauty of the area, make sure to keep your eyes peeled. You might have the opportunity to see the misty blows from humpback whales,…

Kwisitis Visitor Centre, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is nestled in the ḥaḥuułi (traditional territories) of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. The resources of the ocean and temperate rainforests have traditionally supported the social, cultural and economic well-being of the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples for generations upon generations. The sandy beaches and the lush rainforests of the Long Beach Unit are part of the…

Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver

The newest Whale Trail sign was recently installed in West Vancouver! Congratulations to Bailey Eagan of the BC Cetacean Sighting Network (BCCSN) and everyone involved. This is the fourth of five signs funded by a grant from Mountain Equipment Coop to BCCSN – The Whale Trail BC is well underway.

Milner Gardens, Vancouver Island University

Milner Gardens is a seaside garden in Qualicum Beach on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Located on the traditional lands of the Qualicum First Nation and overlooking the Strait of Georgia.

Moresby Camp, Haida Gwaii

Moresby Camp is a launch point for exploring the incredible marine diversity of Gwaii Haanas Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site.

Oak Bluffs, North Pender

This steep hike climbs up switchbacks and stairs through a dense tree canopy to the top of the 15 bluffs. Two viewpoints and three benches allow you to fully appreciate the scenery from 100 metres above sea level. The first view shows Bedwell Harbour Marina and South Pender, while the second looks toward Swanson Channel…

Pedder Bay Marina, Victoria

The Strait of Juan de Fuca connects the inland waters of the Salish Sea to the Pacific Ocean and serves as the main highway for shipping traffic in British Columbia and Washington State.

Port of Kelsey Bay

Located within Vancouver Island's Inside Passage, near the village of Sayward, The Port of Kelsey Bay awaits your arrival.  Orcas and sea lions are visible in the Johnstone Strait from the newly restored wharf which includes an inclement weather, glass enclosure viewing room.

Prince Rupert

The Prince Rupert Whale Trail is located down on the Cow Bay Marine and public Dock. This easy to access viewpoint provides a stunning view of the harbour and Tuck Inlet.
Qualicum First Nation Campground Cabins

Qualicum Beach First Nation Campground

Located north of Qualicum Beach, the Qualicum First Nation Campground overlooks the Strait of Georgia with a spectacular view of the coast mountains. Stop here for a great spot to camp, swim and relax while following the whale trail up Vancouver Island’s east coast. From the beach, watch for blows, flukes, and dorsal fins, as…
Mt. Baker

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Located on the lands of the WSÁNEĆ Nations of the Coast Salish Indigenous peoples, the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is an award winning non-profit aquarium and learning Centre dedicated exclusively to the Salish Sea Bioregion.

Summit Lodge, Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish

Summit Lodge overlooks the headwaters of Howe Sound, 85 meters below. Howe Sound has only recently rebounded from many years of industrial activities and pollution. Marine mammals are increasingly seen as the habitat recovers and improves.
Taaw Tldáaw

Taaw Tldáaw (Tow Hill)

Taaw Tldáaw, also known as Tow Hill, is a large volcanic plug on the north end of the Naikoon Peninsula of northeast Graham Island in Haida Gwaii. Near the mouth of the Hiellen river and within Née Kun Protected Area, Taaw Tldáaw is located on the traditional territory of the Haida Nation. Here you can…

Telegraph Cove

Telegraph Cove is the gateway to one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. The cold currents of the Broughton and Blackfish Archipelagos provide food and habitat for large and small marine creatures. These waters are used by marine animals for feeding, breeding, resting, overwintering and migrating.

The Whale Interpretive Centre

The Whale Interpretive Centre is located in Telegraph Cove, BC and run by the non-profit Johnstone Strait Killer Whale Interpretive Centre Society. The Centre was founded in 2002 to provide a venue in which to increase public awareness about the biology of marine mammals and the anthropogenic threats facing their populations.
Thieves Bay Marina

Thieves Bay, North Pender

Thieves Bay Marina is located on Swanson Channel in the Southern Gulf Islands. Thieves Bay is in the heart of the southern resident orca range. During summer months, orcas may swim close to the breakwater, making the vista point next to the marina one of the best orca-watching spots in the region. The vista point…

Tonquin Trail, Tofino

Located within the Ha-houlthee (traditional land) of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and designated Tribal park, the Tonquin Trail is a great place to observe wildlife in a remarkable archipelago of rocky islands, coves and reefs that support the world’s largest marine creatures.

Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is Canada's largest aquarium, and a non-profit organization focused on conservation of aquatic life. The Aquarium conducts ground-breaking orca research through its Cetacean Research Lab. The Aquarium is also a partner in the B.C. Cetacean Sighting Network, and operates a very popular Adopt-A-Whale program.

Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet

Our latest sign was unveiled in the spring of 2016 along the Wild Pacific Rim Trail in Ucluelet. This 9-km trail meanders along the dramatic and beautiful west coast of Vancouver Island — a great place to watch whales, and storms! The Whale Trail sign is located at Amphitrite Point, offering good views of gray…

Work Channel

Work Channel is a unique site along the Whale Trail as it is one of the best places in British Columbia to observe humpback group bubble net feeding behaviour.


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