Cougar Creek Recreation Site Is One of the Best Camping Sites

Cougar Creek Recreation Site is nestled in between two small creeks that flow into Tlupana Inlet.

And one of the best camping sites on Vancouver Island. 

It is a forestry recreation site with old growth sentinels watching over the users who grace its 60 campsites.

It beckons all recreational vehicles and campers to its remote destination in Nootka Sound where adventures await the outdoor enthusiasts.

Truly a diamond in the rough that is free from September to May of each year for all who seek out the serenity and peace of mind it offers.

UPDATE: This site is now closed from September to April/May and as such no longer allows free access. Needless to say the locals are very disappointed.

UPDATE: The new ramp is finally installed and accessible now (2024). See photos below.

photo of the new ramp for the dock at Cougar Creek Recreation Site on Vancouver Island
photo of the new ramp for the dock at Cougar Creek Recreation Site on Vancouver Island
photo of the entrance sign to Cougar Creek Recreation Site in Nootka Sound

Affordable and Family Friendly Camping

Cougar Creek is very family oriented and budget friendly. 

The cost per night is $15 ($10 for seniors 65+), $10/night parking or $40/week, $5 launching fee for users not paying the overnight fee. 

The length of stay is 14 consecutive nights.

The whole campground is very well maintained with 40 parking spaces, a gazebo in front of the wooden dock floats for your boat, fish cleaning tables, 7 pit toilets with one having handicap access, a gravel boat launch and garbage pickup.

Each site has a sandy entrance to a good sized spot with a fire pit and picnic table. 

Towering above each site is Douglas Fir Trees alongside Western Red Cedar. 

The road that connects the campsites is gravel and well maintained.

The recreation site is great for motorhomes, pickup campers, rv’s, tents, tent trailers and don’t forget your boat, canoe, kayak and quad.

An information kiosk is next to the Camp Host that details the rules and regulations for both the forestry site itself and the saltwater fishing opportunities in the ocean next to it.

There are also postings regarding the wildlife in the area and next door is a fire wood box.

The campsite is open to paying customers from mid May until September of each year with an annual fishing derby held on the third week of August with proceeds being donated to the local Nootka Sound Watershed Society to enhance and protect the salmon stocks in the local waters.

photo of a dome tent and tarp set up for camping in the rain at Cougar Creek Recreation Site

Things to do While Camping At Cougar Creek Recreation Site

Fishing is the main draw during the spring, summer and fall months in Nootka Sound with hundreds of anglers travelling here every year to catch trophy halibut and salmon.  

There are plenty of dungeness crabs and prawns that feed a lot of hungry campers.

However, there are other attractions such as caving, hiking, kayaking, photography and whale watching,  experiences that will boggle the mind.

Cougar Creek Recreation Site is pet friendly also so bringing your dog is no problem as long as you scoop after your pet does his or her thing. 

Many campers are throwing sticks into the ocean for their dogs to retrieve and get a refreshing break from the heat of summer.

The Beginning of Your Camping Adventure

Your journey starts by finding your way to Vancouver Island from the place where you reside. 

This can be achieved by taking one of three ferry rides across the body of water that separates Vancouver Island from the Mainland of British Columbia and the USA.

Use the form below to find out how to get to Cougar Creek Recreation Site using Google Maps.

Anacortis, Horseshoe Bay and Tswassen ferry terminals are the places where you hop a ferry to cross over to the island where you will drive highway 19 to Campbell River. 

From there you will take highway 28 west to Gold River. 

After arriving in Gold River you will not turn into the township but continue to follow the signs that lead to the village of Tahsis.

About 3 km past Gold River you will cross over a bridge. 

photo of signage showing the way to Tahsis and Cougar Creek Recreation Site

There is a tee intersection with signage that point to Tahsis, Muchalat Lake Campgrounds and Woss. 

Take the left turn towards Tahsis for about 300 yards where you will come to a forest service road called the Head Bay Road.

Photo of the Head Bay Forest Service Road turnoff which leads to Tahsis and Cougar Creek

Turn right at this branch and drive for about 23 km where along the way you will climb to the Bull Lake summit passing Upana Lake and the Upana Caves a popular and easy cave system that follows along the Upana River which runs from Bull Lake to Upana Lake.

From the summit you drop down to the Tlupana River via a series of three steep hills that can test the brakes on any vehicle if your speed isn’t below 50 km/hr.

Take your time and you’ll do fine as the road is in excellent condition.

Once at the bottom of the Tlupana River valley you will cross the main bridge that crosses the river and head another km where you will see a sign on the right side of the road that points you to the Nesook log sorting yard for Western Forest Products. 

photo of the signage leading to Nesook Dump and Cougar Creek Recreation Site

There is a small sign that also says Cougar Creek.

The road will branch off to the left here and that is the direction you want to head. 

You will travel on a gravel road for about 10 km to the log sorting yard. 

This road is a lot worse off than the Head Bay Road so take your time here so you don’t cause any damage to your vehicle(s).

At the log sorting yard (Nesook Dump) you will veer to the left and travel another 4 km to a view point of Nootka Sound with a small pullout for photographers to capture the beautiful scenic landscape. 

Look down to your left along the shoreline and you’ll see boats tied up at the docks of your destination about 1 km further down the road to Cougar Creek.

You start down the hill towards the campgrounds and after a km you will see the sign at the entrance with a yellow gate that should be open depending on the time of day you arrive. 

Photo of the sign and gate for the entrance to Cougar Creek

Across the road is a parking lot for boat trailers and the overflow for campers. 

Turn into the campsite and about 100 feet in is the camp host’s trailer where you can register and find out more information.

Summing Up Cougar Creek Recreation Site

Enjoy your stay and take in the beauty of one of Vancouver Islands best kept secrets known only to the angler who comes up every year to fish for dungeness crab, halibut, prawns and salmon.  

During the months of July, August and September this campsite becomes very crowded to the point of discomfort for those who don’t fish.  

Which is why most kayakers or explorers launch from Cougar Creek and head to another remote area to set up a tent to get away from it all.

Here is a 10 minute video walk through of the 40 campsites, boat dock, pit toilets and old growth forest that encompasses the recreation site. Enjoy

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The new ramp to the marina docks at Cougar Creek Recreation Site

143 thoughts on “Cougar Creek Recreation Site Is One of the Best Camping Sites”

  1. george Warner

    I would like to leave my truck and boat trailer at Cougar creek campsite..Aug 5th,6th and 7th…is this possible????/please let me know….George Warner

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi George, there is a big parking lot across from the entrance of Cougar Creek for that purpose. It will depend on the amount of room available however and the only way that I know of to find out is to ask the caretaker once you arrive. I believe there is a charge also for that service. I will be going out there on Saturday, Aug 1 and will ask the caretaker for more information. I’ll post a reply here for you on Sunday and hopefully that will give you enough time to make other arrangements if you have to. Hope this helps.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Brian, I believe it is first come first serve. I am going out tomorrow and will discuss this with the caretaker to see if we can work something out to give you guys some kind of regular capacity updates if it is possible to do so. I do know he is very good at finding campers a spot so everyone can have a space until a regular campsite opens up. Campers are leaving every two to three days and usually there is a lot that leave on Sundays. I’ll post back here on Sunday with an update so come back and check this thread.

      1. Van Isle Camping

        Hey guys, the host at Cougar Creek says that he will find you a spot when you come out. The campground is full but there are a lot of turnovers every day or so. You may have to be placed in an overflow area for a day until a spot opens up but eventually he will place you in a campsite when one opens up. As it is first come first serve, make sure if you are waiting for a spot to open up and decide to go fishing while you wait that you have someone available to move your camper or trailer etc when the host comes to get you or you will lose your place in the queue. Campers have a better chance of getting placed right away than trailers or motor homes. George he said he’ll find you a place for your truck and trailer. Here is a quick video of the boat dock to show you how deep they are rafting their boats.

  2. Can you please tell me if it is possible to trailer a 26′ boat out t cougar creek, if a person was to take their time? The truck will have a camper as well. I’m just not sure if it is the grade or narrowness of the road one would have to worry about. The reason I ask is I am bringing my children and no one can run the boat or truck if I was to take the other. Thanks

  3. Is there kayak rental available at Cougar Creek? I am planning to rent for approx. 1 week (2 kayaks) in July. Thanks!


  4. Patricia Anderson

    What are the dates for the August 2016 fishing derby? We are not fishing the derby but would like to camp with a 20 ft trailer August 15 through the 18th. What are our chances?

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Patricia, thanks for your inquiry to Vancouver Island Camping. I will try and get a hold of Dick to find out the dates for you. I can tell you however, he is very good at finding you a spot in the overflow if the campground is full and moving you into a spot once one opens up. He rarely turns anyone away as the turnover rate is very quick. Check back and I’ll post the date and Dicks comments here when I can track him down.

      1. Van Isle Camping

        Hi Patricia, talked to Dicks wife who informs me that it will be on the weekend (20 & 21) so you are good to go and there should be no problem with a 20′ trailer.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Russ, the campsite is not usually full this time of year and the fishing is okay but can be hit or miss for salmon. Halibut fishing is good offshore if the weather permits.

  5. Is the Cougar Creek campground usually full during the month of July ?

    My wife and I want to stay 14 days and will either be in a 20 ft Travel Trailer with a 12 ft aluminum for a boat or a truck and camper with a 16 ft Double eagle. Do you need to go “offshore” for the better salmon fishing or is it good enough in the inlets ??

    Also, does the Moucha Bay resort have shower facilities available for a cost for Cougar Creek campground guests, and will they store salmon in their freezer for people that are staying 2 weeks but don’t have the capacity to keep all their catch at their campground {for obvious reasons lollol } ??

    Not new, just new to there. 😉

    thanks so much,

    Brett & Michele

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Brett, yes Cougar Creek is usually full in July, but the camp host will find a temporary spot for you until a campsite opens up. Fishing for salmon in July is usually good inside and outside depending on the weather and other variables. Most people fish inside as there is an abundance of fish holding in areas within 10 minutes of Cougar Creek.

      As for your questions regarding Moutcha Bay Resort, you’ll have to ask them directly (1-877-337-5464) as I cannot answer those questions.

      Good Luck and enjoy your stay in Nootka Sound!

  6. Patricia Anderson

    Thank you for your earlier answer back in March regarding the fishing derby. Now, I would like to find out about sani-dumps that are available between Cougar Creek and Strathcona Provincial Park. Is there a dump at Gold River? Our plans are to be camping at Cougar Creek on 8/16 – 18th leaving for Strathcona Park on the 19th. Any information would be appreciated.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Patricia, you’re very welcome. Yes there is a sani-dump at the visitor information center in Gold River. Bring your own drinking water hose as some ignorant users also use the hose provided to flush out their pipes and don’t clean it afterwards. There is the possibility of contaminating your drinking water if you use the existing hose provided.

  7. Good morning, I am planning a kayaking trip and am hoping to leave my car in the parking lot. Arriving late June 30 heading out to Nootka sound on July 1st returning July 4th. Will need to set up camp the night of June 30 only. Is this possible? What are the charges? Is the kayak launch site at cougar creek or is it a different location?

    thx John

    1. Van Isle Camping

      John, thanks for your request. I’m not sure if the camp host will be there on June 30 or not but they should be. I do know there is a gate that is locked around 10pm so you may have to camp in the overflow until morning when you can speak to the camp host and make other arrangements.

      The charges are in the article above under the Affordable and Family Friendly Camping header. There is a natural gravel boat launch and docks that kayakers use to launch and load their kayaks.

      Hope this helps.

  8. Hi. Is dock space reserved or first come first serve. Is there a moorage fèe? Thanks for your help.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi John, thanks for your inquiry. Dock space is first come, first served and there are some generic rules that boaters follow like when rafted next to another boat, try to walk gently across it when accessing your own boat. When moving a rafted boat away from yours before you head out on the water, try to double check that you have tied the rafted boat up securely as it could be your boat that doesn’t get tied up properly the next time. There are others but you will learn them from talking to other boaters and the camp host.

      Your moorage fee is included in the overnight camping/parking fee. Hope this helps. Have fun.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Len, thanks for your request. You will have to bring your own drinking water in although there is Cougar Creek to use for dishes or showers etc. If you plan to drink from the creek remember to always boil the water for 1-3 minutes to kill any bacteria or other parasites that may live in the water. Cool the water and bottle or place in a container afterwards.

  9. Hey – great info – one suggestion:
    The inquiry last year about towing in a 26 ft boat was well responded to but it is worth knowing that the launch at Cougar is without a concrete ramp and is shallow – even at high tide. I wouldn’t try to launch my 26 there and instead suggest plan on launching at Mucha Bay if you don’t want to run in from GR, or if you have a truck camper as well…

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Shane, thanks for your comments. I always used to launch my 26′ Bertram at Cougar Creek but it does require making sure you are able to launch close to the dock as that is the deepest part of the ramp especially at low tide.

      You will also need to make sure there are no boats tied up to the dock next to the ramp after the waters edge. Most guys are really good at moving their boat(s) for you until you launch and then move them back afterwards.

      Of course, your best bet is to check the tide levels for arrival day and ensure you take into account your travel time to launch at the preferred tide.

      You’re right I neglected to state this in that post and Moutcha Bay has a good ramp also which may be better suited if you don’t want your truck tires to enter the water at all.

      After talking with Moutcha Bay, they charge $30 for non-registered users to launch their boat and another $30/night to park your vehicle and boat trailer. Payment is required up front at the office.

      I always flush my trailer and truck tires/rims afterwards to mitigate the corrosion from the saltwater.

  10. Hi, Could you tell me if there is space for me to camp at cougar cr. for a couple of days next week ………how has the fishing been?

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Ted, unfortunately I cannot confirm the availability at the campground, however I do know that Dick and Pat are very good at finding you a temporary spot until one frees up if they are all full.

      Fishing has been very good.

  11. Hi,

    Is there cell reception at cougar creek campground or a general # to call if we need to reach a camper for emergencies?


    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Maggie, thanks for your request. Unfortunately there is no cell phone service in Nootka Sound and no land line service at Cougar Creek campsite.

      It’s something that is desperately needed in our area for sure.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Jetemy, that is a good question. I’ve seen SUV’s and Minivans make it by driving really slowly.

      The last ten kms from the Nesook turnoff are the worst, as that part of the road is narrower and never sees a grader like the Head Bay road.

      I guess it depends on how mechanically sound your VW is and if your tires (including your spare) are in good shape.

      Maybe someone else who follows this site can provide more information for you. Good luck.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi John, thanks for your question, sorry there is no power at Cougar Creek or showers. If you’re looking for those amenities your best bet would be to go to Moutcha Bay Resort or Tahsis.

      1. Van Isle Camping

        Eric, July 10 is when the season starts to get busy but there will be still room at Cougar Creek for another few days before the onslaught of anglers. There is no power due to the wilderness nature style of the campgrounds. Most campers pack in gensets or use solar panels etc to provide power.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Eric, thanks for your interest in our Vancouver Island Camping website. Sorry but there are no showers or running water at Cougar Creek. It is a wilderness style forestry campground where you bring everything in yourself. There is a year round creek that is next to the campground and some use the water from it to wash and bath in by packing it back to their campsite.

      If you’re looking for a full amenity style campground than you’d be better off going to a more suitable campground like Moutcha Bay or Tuta Marina.

  12. Is it possible to leave a vehicle, and one with a sea kayak trailer for an extended time there. Approximately June 11 – July 5.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Steve, yes it is possible but you have to okay it with the camp host first. The official opening day is May 5. I’ve sent you an email at the address you provided with a phone number so you can contact the camp host for all the details. If no one answers just leave a message as they’ve assured me they return all calls. Please let me know if you don’t receive the email.

  13. Marilyn Curley

    Are reservations necessary ??? If so, who do I contact to make reservations?
    How busy is it in June ???

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Marilyn, thanks for your question to Vancouver Island Camping. Reservations aren’t necessary for Cougar Creek as it is a first come, first served campground. June isn’t too busy so you shouldn’t have any issues finding a campsite. July, August and September are the busiest months where you may have to wait in the overflow area to get a campsite when one becomes available.

  14. Is it possible to leave a full size pickup with a trailor, and a full size van there from approximately June 23 thru July 5? We would also be looking to camp there on The 23rd and 4th. 12 people, 4 tents.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Steve, I know that there is parking available in the campground and your time frame isn’t during the peak times yet so I think you’ll be okay.

      Give Dick and Pat a call at the same number we gave you previously.

      If you don’t have it anymore, use our contact form and send us a message so we can provide you with the camp host phone number to confirm.

  15. Hilton Oliver

    I am planning to come to cougar creek July 1st to 5th 2017 truck with camper and18.5ft trailered boat will this be ok

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Hilton, thanks for your question and visiting our Vancouver Island Camping website.

      With that being the Canada Day weekend you may find the campground busy but the camp host will find you a spot in the overflow and move you into a campsite once one becomes available.

      A camper truck will be easier to place than say a trailer. If Cougar Creek isn’t too busy than you’ll have no problem getting a spot as soon as you arrive. Your boat and trailer should be no problem either.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Andy, Dick isn’t associated with this website but I’ll see if I can find out the dates for you.

      1. Van Isle Camping

        Hi Andy, still waiting to hear back from Dick or Pat regarding the fishing derby dates.

        Will post here if/when they get back to me.

  16. Hi, Other then the creek, where is the closest place to get drinking water? If we run out, just want to know where to go to get more. Many thanks!!

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Dan, unfortunately the creek is the only available fresh water at Cougar Creek. Everyone brings in their own.

      If you are going to drink the creek water remember to boil it for 1-3 minutes first and let it cool. Or bring a portable water purification system of some sort to avoid “Beaver Fever”.

      You would have to drive to Moutcha Bay, Tahsis or Gold River to get more.

  17. Hi, we are thinking of camping and fishing in the area with 4×4 truck with camper and 16′ boat in tow, would tuta campground be suitable or should we try cougar creek to camp, or are there other spots to try? I can’t find much info for Tuta marina and campground.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Cynthia, it will depend on the dates you want to arrive in Nootka Sound. I’ve left a message with Tuta Marina to call me. Their voice mail says they are fully booked for the Aug long weekend.

      As for other areas to camp, there is Cougar Creek and the camp host there will do his best to find a spot for you even if they are full. You may have to camp in the overflow area temporarily until a spot opens up. But because you are a truck and camper it will be quicker for you than if you were a truck/travel trailer or motorhome.

      Another option would be to contact Moutcha Bay Resort and see if they have availability.

      You could also camp at the Gold River Campground by the river in town and drive to the boat launch (roughly 10 km) every day to launch and travel by boat the 13 km to the fishing grounds. Might be a little more in costs because of the boat launch fee and extra fuel burned.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Van Isle Camping

        Just got off the phone with Shirley of Tuta Marina. She tells me that you have to book with them to get a spot and they are taking bookings from Aug 8 to the Labour Day long weekend.

        Send me a quick email and I’ll provide you with their phone number if you don’t already have it or can’t find it.

        She also apologizes to everyone about the website but they have been so busy they haven’t had time to keep up with it and it is being redone at the moment. Shirley wants to thank everyone for their patience and understanding.

        Oh by the way on a personal note I thought I let everyone know the fishing is unbelievable right now.

        I went out this past weekend and limited out within 1 hour. Lots of boats though.

  18. Hi. Just wondering where the closest boat fuel is to couger creek by water and land. How long would it take to get there by boat. My tank is not that large on the boat. Thanks

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Ken, your best bet is to fuel at Critter Cove which is just across the water towards the southwest from Cougar Creek(approx 5min).
      You could also fuel at Moutcha Bay Resort which is a few km towards the north from Cougar Creek by water(approx 10min).
      As far as I know only Gold River (approx 45min) and Tahsis (approx 35min) offer land based fuel stations in the area. Most boaters bring in a couple extra gerry cans full of fuel as a backup.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Amanda, the labour day long weekend at Cougar Creek isn’t as busy as one would think. You shouldn’t have any problems getting a spot.

  19. Hello, I stayed at Moutcha Bay this July and really enjoyed the beauty of Nootka Sound and of course the awesome fishing. I’m considering returning next year and camping at Couger Creek campground in mid September. Do you think campsite availability would be good in mid September? Also, is there a campground host still on site at that time?

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Tom, sorry I didn’t see this until now. Glad you enjoyed Nootka Sound! Yes mid September is a better time for campsite availability at Cougar Creek.

      I believe the camp hosts stay until mid September. I will double check with them and rely to this post.

      Update: Cougar Creek Recreation Site closes after the Labour Day long weekend now until spring. The gate is locked until then.

  20. Hello, approximately how long does it take to drive from Cougar Creek campground to Moutcha Bay resort?
    Thank you

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Tom, thanks for your question. Depending on what you’re driving it could take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. By boat it is 10 minutes.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Les, sorry for the tardy reply. As far as I know the senior rate is still in effect this year. I will look into it further and post a comment back here for you.

      Update: The senior rate still exists and is $10/night

  21. Hi there, the wife and I will be returning for our 3rd consecutive year at Cougar Creek this August. Is it true that the rates have gone up from 12 to 15 per night ? Still a bargain imho if it has but just wanted to know.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Brett, thanks for your question. I am sure that is the current rate but I’ll double check with Dick if/when he comes into town.

      Update: yes the rates are now $15/night

  22. Hi, I am wondering if there is anyone who will rent kayaks from Cougar Creek or bring one there for me? I’m hoping to do a kayak trip there in Aug, but do not have a way to transport a kayak.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Elizabeth, sorry for the late reply. As far as I know no one rents kayaks from Cougar Creek.

      I know you can rent them from Moutcha Bay Resort. I will ask around to see if any other companies rent kayaks and get back to you.

      Update: Seems no one rents kayaks other than Moutcha Bay right now but that may change in the future.

  23. Is cougar creek campsite within the “fog zone” ? Curious if the campfire ban includes the campsite or will you still be allowed to have them ? The only map I can find doesn’t have very good border lines. Thanks

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Brett, thanks for your question. The fog zone is classified as the coastline only no inlets are open.

      Here are two maps for reference:!Project/WildfireNews/7182018~111437_18%20Coastal%20MAP%20INFO%20Prohibition%20color%208X11L%20Legal%2020180718.pdf?WT.cg_n=HootSuite!Project/WildfireNews/5302017~30540_16%20FogZone%20MAP%20Overview%2011x17L%2020160812.pdf

      Cougar Creek is inside Tlupana Inlet therefor no campfires are allowed. Although check with the camp host upon arriving for confirmation.

      If you were camping out at the Nootka Trail or Friendly Cove however, you would be allowed to have campfires.

  24. Sorry, one more question before we venture out there.Does Moutcha Bay have a ATM machine ? If not is Gold River the closest ?
    Thanks for all your replies btw.

  25. Okay Paul one more then lollol, does Dick accept credit card payment for campsite fees or strictly cash ?

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Brett, I don’t know whether Dick is set up to accept credit cards or not so you better take some cash with you in case he isn’t.

      I know there is no hydro there so if he is it is probably done manually.

  26. Hey Paul, hope all is well. Just curious as to what’s going on dock wise out there. Talks of new finger docks and a new breakwater were supposedly in the works for this summer ?

      1. Van Isle Camping

        Hi Brett, just wanted to let you know I haven’t heard back from Dick or Pat yet but I have a friend who is going out there prawn fishing for 10 days and he’ll probably meet up with Dick while he’s there as Dick is apparently doing some work out there at the moment.

        1. Van Isle Camping

          Okay just heard back from Dick regarding the upgrades to the docks this year.

          Apparently the funding that was supposed to be earmarked for Cougar Creek has fallen through and there will be no upgrades this season.

          Hopefully the powers that be will recognize the importance of these upgrades and dig deep for next season.

  27. I was wondering if there would be a spot to leave my truck and trailer July 16,17,18 , 2019 I was considering driving to cougar creek instead of leaving out of Gold river because of the long run up the inlet. I’m staying at Critter Cove . Cheers Mark

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Mark, there is usually a spot for parking a truck and trailer but this year maybe different due to the closures around the island.

      There will be a lot more anglers in Nootka Sound this year starting July 15.

  28. Al Biesenthal

    We are thinking about coming to the campsite in the third week of June. I have a 40 ft holiday trailer. Do you see any issues with pulling this big a unit down into there and back out. My truck is a two wheel drive tandem.
    Thanks for any info you can give me

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Al, sorry for the delay in responding to your question.

      With only a two wheel drive you may have issues coming back out pulling your trailer up the hills on the Head Bay Forestry road depending on the power of your truck.

      The road is in great shape which will make it much easier.

      Make sure to keep your momentum up when approaching the hills on the way out.

      As for the road to Cougar Creek you’ll have to take your time traveling along it being careful to watch for pullouts and logging trucks etc.

      Make sure your truck and trailer brakes are in good shape as well as the tires and you should be alright if you take your time.

  29. Hi, I was wondering if there is availability to park my truck and trailer there from July 16-19 2019. I’m staying at critter cove. I would like to launch at your site rather than the gold river ramp Will there be space. It’s my first time there.

    Cheers Mark.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Mark, sorry for the delay in answering your questions.

      There is usually room for parking trucks and trailers for those who use Critter Cove but this year will be busier because of the fishing closures for the rest of the island.

      I’ll see if I can contact Dick or Pat for more information and get back to you.

      Update: Unfortunately Dick and Pat aren’t returning my calls which means they’re pretty busy.

  30. Hello:

    I am looking at coming there from Victoria for the long weekend in August, but won’t get there until late Friday night. I would assume that all sites will be taken long before we arrive. Is there any way to reserve, or at least make sure we can squeeze in somehow? i would had to travel 5+ hours and have nowhere to stay. We are 4 people in 1 or 2 tents, one vehicle.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Kelly, very sorry for the late reply.

      We aren’t associated with Cougar Creek but have talked to the camp hosts in the past.

      They have told us that they will place you in a temporary area ( I believe it is an overflow lot) until a spot opens up if they are full.

      There are no reservations available as it is a first come first served style of campground.

      Hope this helps.

  31. Hi Paul, Brett here, hope all is well.
    Have you heard jf jts busker out there this year compared to last ? I understand the closures in other areas might bring more people that way but curious id toube actually heard or not…regardless we’ll be heading out on the 2nd for our annual 2 week stay. Year 4 this year !!

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Brett, all is well thanks for asking.

      Based on the amount of boat/trailer traffic I’ve seen on our local roads I’d say it’s pretty busy in Nootka Sound.

      I know someone who is going to be out there this weekend so I’ll ask him early next week to see how crowded Cougar Creek is at the moment.

        1. Van Isle Camping

          Hi Brett, sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

          My buddy just got back yesterday and told me that it is very busy at Cougar Creek.

          All ready rafting boats and using the overflow parking area to place campers until a site opens up.

          This is usually the norm in July/Aug but this year will be more busy due to the fishing regulation changes.

          Enjoy your stay and good luck!

        1. Van Isle Camping

          Hi Mitch, thanks for the info.

          I have left a message with the camp host to get back to me, but I do know that there are lots of logging roads in the area for quads etc.

          I guess it will depend on whether they are allowed inside the campgrounds.

          Hopefully the camp host will confirm this.

  32. Brett taylor

    You are allowed to have atv’s inside the campground but as all other frs you have to idle and out. Lots of places to go though

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Brett, glad you found out the rules as I still haven’t heard back from the camp hosts.

      Hopefully Mitch sees this in time for his trip.

      Probably busy with the renovations.

      1. Old dock is actually still there, there are worries about covid19 as to be expected. From what I have been told they are worried about toilets, touching people’s garbage and money handling. Hope to hear more soon

          1. Van Isle Camping

            Hi Brett, just talked to Pat and she informs me that Cougar Creek opened on Monday June 1, but the dock is closed and all boaters will be required to pull their boats out at the end of the day or after every outing.

            As for covid-19 rules she says everyone is responsible for themselves and social distancing.

            She wants to refer everyone to the sites and trails website for more info:

  33. Brett taylor

    Curious as to whether the new dock is being put in yet and if we’ll be campingbthere this year. I know the old dock is now gone.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Brett, still waiting to hear from the camp hosts. They’re not returning my calls. Will keep trying though.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Mac, thanks for your question.

      We are not the official representatives for the Cougar Creek Recreation Site but once in a while the camp host does correspond with us.

      Based on what we’ve been told the camp hosts are not opening the campsite until given permission from the government which won’t provide any further information until June 1.

      They have concerns with the virus and the handling of money, garbage, cleaning etc.

      1. Van Isle Camping

        Hi Mac, just talked to Pat and she informs me that Cougar Creek opened on Monday June 1, but the dock is closed and all boaters will be required to pull their boats out at the end of the day or after every outing.

        As for covid-19 rules she says everyone is responsible for themselves and social distancing.

        She wants to refer everyone to the sites and trails website for more info:

  34. Leslie in Perry

    Is there a way to get ahold of Dick or Pat
    Would like to know if they ate going to open Couger Creek in June, and what restrictions there are going to be?

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Leslie, just talked to Pat and she informs me that Cougar Creek opened on Monday June 1, but the dock is closed and all boaters will be required to pull their boats out at the end of the day or after every outing. As for covid-19 rules she says everyone is responsible for themselves and social distancing. She wants to refer everyone to the sites and trails website for more info:

  35. Latest rumor is that the new dock will be ready by the end of summer. As for right now it’s highly unlikely people would want to camp there while having to haul their boat out every time they come back from fishing but this is what they say you have to do.
    Best choice would be to come back next year Imho

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Brett, yes that was the answer I got regarding the new dock also.

      If anglers want to be able to dock or moor their boats than they will have to use Moutcha Bay Resort, Tuta Marina Resort or go the extra 30 kms to Tahsis and stay at Westview Marina or campgrounds close by to the marina.

      Moutcha Bay Resort is only a few kms from the Cougar Creek (Nesook) turnoff towards Tahsis and Tuta Marina is another 20kms past Cougar Creek on the same road you use to get to Cougar Creek (Nesook Mainline).

      Unfortunately this is the way it has to be for this season due to Covid-19.

      1. Id the Brass would just accept a bid and let them get to work the dock could be ready in a matter of weeks at most. This is what I’m hoping for as I heard a rumor the end of July the dock could be ready. But like everything you “hear”, you must take it with a grain of salt and just hope it becomes a reality lol. Fingers crossed as I wanna use my new boat out there.?

  36. If you have to take your boat out every time can you ask if there are rules on what time you can start in the morning and if the have a place to park boats and trailer? Thanks

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Matt, excellent question. Unfortunately no one has replied to my voice mail.

      I will make an assumption that they will be placing all boats and trailers in the overflow area or maybe in the individual campsites if there is room.

      Again this is my assumption and not what I was told by the camp hosts.

      I guess you will just have to find out when you arrive.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Yves, I am sorry but I don’t know how busy Cougar Creek is at the moment. I haven’t been out there for a very long time.

      For the record I am not the camp host in case you assumed I was.

      I do know that there is an overflow area in case the regular sites are full.

  37. Hi there! Seeing as there is no moorage currently at Cougar creek, just wondering your thoughts on the gold river municipal site? I know there is no moorage there, but if I am going to be pulling my boat out every day anyways, I figured I could maybe skep the gravel road drive out of Gold River. How long of a run would it be out from the Gold River boat launch? Should be about 20-30 km I think? Is this something that people do or would I be better off to go to Tuta?

    Thanks very much

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Branden, the drive to the boat launch from the municipal campground is about 13 minutes.

      The boat ride to Tuta Marina from the boat launch is roughly 13 km.

      There are anglers who do this every year and from what I’ve heard it is not much of an inconvenience other than loosing fishing time.

      There are also a few anglers driving the extra 10 km to Tuta due to the confusion over the docks at Cougar Creek.

      The newest update from the sites and rec website states that Cougar Creek Dock is open on July 10.

  38. Hello
    I am wondering if the camping is open for mid March or April?
    Will the gates be open? Looking to get an early start!

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Carmen, I sent you an email reply to your request also. Maybe you didn’t get it or it landed in your spam folder. The campsite at Cougar Creek is closed right now and I heard it may open in April or May.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Olivia, Cougar Creek is a first come, first served recreation site with a caretaker on site.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Brett, I haven’t been out to Cougar Creek this year due to Covid but will ask around to see if there are any to show.

  39. Van Isle Camping

    Hello everyone, just thought I update you on the condition of the Head Bay Forestry Road leading in to Cougar Creek and Tahsis.

    Its the worst I’ve seen it in a long time due to all the rain we’ve seen this spring.

    On Thursday May 12 there was a dump of 6inches of snow at the summit by Bull Lake. It’s all gone now but that is the kind of spring its been.

    The grader is back working again so hopefully the road will improve somewhat over the next week but the rain will keep it from being what it should be.

    Heard from a friend of mine a week ago and he and his son caught a 33lb salmon on an anchovie rig which is a nice sized salmon for this early in the year.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Here is another update for those of you heading to Cougar Creek for the May long weekend.

      The HBR is now in good shape as the weather improved and the grader has been working for the last two days and will continue to work for the next week.

  40. Hi, just wondering if the campground is now to busy to get a site? We would like to come this week coming, however, will wait later if its to busy.


    1. Van Isle Camping

      Sorry Emily, just saw this now.

      Usually Dick and Pat are pretty good at finding you a spot in the overflow to hold until one opens up.

      Hopefully you found a spot and had a wonderful time.

  41. Just checking in to see if there is any available campsites for August 6th? Hate to drive that far and have no place to stay.

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi John, I haven’t spoke to the camp hosts for a while now but I do know they are very good at finding a spot in the overflow lot until something opens up.

      Seeing a lot more boats and campers leaving Gold River than arriving but not sure how many are leaving or heading to Cougar Creek.

      Good Luck!

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Kyle, Thank you for your question.

      You can but I cannot guarantee I will see them throughout the year. And they don’t always return my calls as they are usually busy preparing for the upcoming season.

      Your best bet would be to discuss it with them when you arrive as I do believe they hand out their phone number to those who ask.

      I usually just get a message to them via someone I know who is going there from Gold River for a weekend or whenever.

      I am going there myself in May and can try to set something up with them then. No guarantees though.

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