British Columbia Destinations

Destination: Roscoe Inlet

Friday, October 31, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

Roscoe Inlet may be 23 miles long, but the real journey doesn’t begin until a mile south of Boukind Bay.  It’s here that the channel forks to the east, narrows and takes on a serpentine route that carries you the remaining 12 miles inland through some of the most breathtaking scenery along the Central Coast.  With the exception of one or two small areas that continue to recover from past logging, Roscoe Inlet is pristine and appears as it did hundreds of years ago – barely a trace of man exists, something that greatly appeals to both David and me.

The upper reaches of the Roscoe Inlet are dramatic and much like travelling through an Ansel Adams photograph, especially on an overcast day where the scenery seems to develop in monochrome—every inch leaving you speechless.  It’s easily one of the most beautiful places along the BC coast, if not the world, and demands more than one visit . . . so, this year we made our third.

A granite dome in Roscoe Inlet (photo 2012).

One of the many bends in the road along the goosenecks of Roscoe Inlet (Photo 2012).

The inlet, on average, is less than a half-mile wide and lined with steep granite domes that rise up from the sea and reach heights above 1,000 metres (3,300 feet).  Dark, sheer walls provide a canvas for the striations left behind by the glacier that formed this majestic fjord.  And evergreens spread from the shoreline where they cling for dear life.  These are just a few of the sights Roscoe Inlet has to offer.  Every turn through her goosenecks has something else to share – a snow-covered ridge, a cascading waterfall, a treeless island floating in the channel – until you reach the head and, sadly, your passage is over.

Striations caused by glacial action.


Salubrious and Cambria anchored in Clatse Bay, August 2014.

Clatse Bay:         Clatse Bay is located 5 miles south of Boukind Bay and offers good protection in most weather.  A shoal along the east shore extends mid-channel near the entrance to the inlet but is clear beyond that.  Good holding can be found in 16 to 20 metres (53 to 66 feet) in mud near the head of the bay. 

Anchorage can also be found in Shack Bay (1.5 miles north of Clatse Bay) along the eastern shore of Roscoe Inlet, but we haven’t anchored here ourselves.  We’ve been told by Nearly Normal Norman that there’s an old logging road that leads to Ocean Falls located in the bay. 

The view south down Roscoe Inlet from Boukind Bay (Photo 2012).

Boukind Bay:      When visiting Roscoe Inlet, Boukind Bay is our first stop. The bottom is flat, there’s ample swing room, there’s good protection in most weather and it has good holding in mud (in reasonable depths of 9 to 12 metres).  It’s also conveniently located one mile north of Roscoe Narrows and a good base for exploring the inlet. 

Quartcha Bay (Photo 2012).

Quartcha Bay:    Quartcha Bay is located 5 miles from Roscoe Narrows and is a beautiful glacial valley surrounded by high mountains and waterfalls BUT the bottom is steep-to and we weren’t able to find a place to anchor off the marsh at the head of the bay that we considered safe enough for an overnight stay.

Cambria and Salubrious anchored at the head of Roscoe Inlet in August, 2014.

The Bitter End:  According to the Douglass cruising guide, “Exploring the North Coast of British Columbia”, the head of Roscoe Inlet rarely sees any wind.  And while it’s true that it normally dies out before at the final gooseneck, we have seen afternoon breezes pick up while anchored there. The shore is steep-to but it’s possible to find anchorage in 16 to 20 metres (53 to 66 feet) along the southern shore east of the creek where the holding is very good in sand and mud. 

Cambria anchored at the head of Roscoe Inlet in 2012.

Waypoints of Interest:

Clatse Bay:                  
52°21.915’N, 127°51.581’W (Approach)
52°20.527’N, 127°50.650’W (Anchorage)

Boukind Bay:     
52°27.069’N, 127°56.262’W (Approach)
52°27.772’N, 127°56.262’W (Anchorage)

Quartcha Bay:   
52°29.960’N, 127°50.871’W

The Bitter End: 
52°27.064’N, 127°43.300’W

Things to Do:
  • Kayaking is always at the top of the list of activities when we visit Roscoe Inlet.
  • Walk to Briggs Lagoon (Boukind Bay).*
  • An orange trail marker is located along the eastern shore in Clatse Bay, but we didn’t investigate. 
  • Walk to Twin Lakes or Ocean Falls from Shack Bay.* 

* Be bear aware!

For more photos from Roscoe Inlet and other locations along the Central and North Coast of British Columbia, visit the photo albums on our Facebook Page.


On our first visit, it was an overcast day without a breath of wind.  In our opinion, this is the best way to experience the drama of Roscoe Inlet.  The granite domes reflect beautifully off the water and the deer flies, a major issue on sunny days, are nowhere to be found. 

Disclaimer:  This blog article is not to be used for navigation.  It is solely an account of our personal experience and anchor locations in Roscoe Inlet during settled weather conditions.  What worked for us at one particular time is no guarantee or indication that it will work for others.  There are no services in the immediate area and any boat that enters should be self-sufficient.

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  1. love your photos... makes me homesick for the PNW!

    1. Behan, our plan is to do Alaska and Haida Gwaii next season and move on after that. But every time we try to decide what's next, we get pretty emotional. I really don't know how we're going to leave this magical place.

  2. Must be one of the most beautiful bays I have seen and it certainly makes me want to visit. The depths you anchored in were pretty deep but how close to the shore was you in those depths.
    Love the website

    1. It's steep-to at the head of Roscoe Inlet but there's a narrow flat section in the 16 metre range, so we always drop the hook there . . . a whopping 30 to 35 feet from shore.