Princess Louisa Inlet B.C., Kayak Touring and Information
Paddling the Princess - Pics from our 2007 Paddle to the Princess
Princess Louisa Inlet is one of the most serene and sublime paddling playgrounds in British Columbia. Generally speaking, princesses are known to wear a lot of jewels and this “Princess” is no exception; her jewels are just a little different. They come in the natural form of a myriad of waterfalls cascading down the gorge’s towering granite walls into tranquil inlet water. The crown jewel of this inlet is undoubtedly Chatterbox Falls at the inlet’s apex; where glacial water thunders 45 meters into the water below. The roar of these falls will beckon from the moment you paddle into Princess Louisa Inlet through the Malibu Rapids.
Within this canyon, sheer rock cliffs tower over paddlers making their way through glassy water; in some places these cliffs exceed 2,100 meters in height. Kayaker’s arriving here before the middle of June will enjoy the sight of over sixty waterfalls cascading down these cliffs as the warm sun of late spring melts the winter snow.
Princess Louisa Inlet is often referred to as “the Princess” and natives call it “Suivoolot,” which means “sunny and warm.” The shelter of the inlet’s steep rock walls, which were formed when glaciers sliced through the mountains several millennia ago, likely blocks the winds that stir Jervis Inlet, providing calm paddling and warm air and water here. The pleasant conditions within Princess Louisa make it a popular place to swim without being shocked by the normally frigid water of the British Columbia Coast. While kayakers from across the globe yearn to paddle the Princess, she is not necessarily easy to reach.
Between the Egmont launch site and Princess Louisa Inlet is Jervis Inlet that stretches over 80 km. Negotiating Jervis Inlet will be an adventure in itself, with paddling conditions that are typically more challenging than those within Princess Louisa Inlet. The waters of Jervis Inlet are subject to notorious winds that beat off the cliffs lining the water. The trip from Egmont to the opening of Princess Louisa Inlet often takes two days and depending on the winds, your arms may get a workout. Don’t be discouraged though. Jervis Inlet is a sight in itself, rich with native culture and west coast beauty. For additional information about paddling through this inlet, check out the Jervis Inlet section of our website.
Malibu Rapids marks the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet. In order to get into the inlet, you will need to run these rapids. This may be quite an experience as at times, Malibu Rapids can create up to 1,000 meters of turbulence. Take comfort in the fact that Kit and Company have years of experience with this portion of the trip and have successfully instructed kayakers of all skill levels to paddle these rapids without incident on their own. Kit’s emphasis on safety and knowledge of the tides usually makes paddlers’ experiences with these rapids more fun than fearful and inevitably, these rapids mark an exhilarating entrance to one of British Columbia’s most precious natural gems.
Once you have negotiated Malibu Rapids, you will immediately be taken by the elegant tranquility of Princess Louisa Inlet. The water will be noticeably more serene than the water within Jervis and paddling will be made especially relaxing as the sound of water delicately cascading thousands of feet down vertical cliff walls tickles your ears. Paddling into Princess Louisa Inlet for the first time is guaranteed to be a stunning, exhilarating experience for even the most seasoned paddlers.
As you slice through the calm water, Princess Louisa will be a quiet place- likely the only sounds you hear will be the voices of your colleagues echoing off canyon walls and the sound of water making its descent down the cliffs. But as you paddle further in, you will begin to hear Chatterbox Falls rumbling in the distance. The paddle through Princess Louisa is only about 7 km. long and once near the end, you will know by the sight of these magnificent falls. The air will be misty with its spray and the rumbling you heard at the inlet’s entrance will have grown to a roar. Here water is tumbling 45 meters into the inlet from a massive bowl at the top of the waterfall. The bowl is constantly collecting water from a nearby glacier and you can count on seeing the falls year-round. There is a great campsite near Chatterbox Falls and plenty of recreational activities to keep visitors entertained in its vicinity. For those that like the land, there are about 800 meters of hiking trails that can take you through the ancient old-growth forest and even into some alpine meadows. For those who like the water, try taking a slide down mellow waterfall just east of Chatterbox. The water here is warm and these areas near the falls are great places to take advantage of the nice swimming conditions. Just be careful close to the falls as jellyfish like it here too.
Learn more about Kayaking the Princess Louis Inlet with Kits Kayaking Tours