Sunday, April 15, 2007

Texada Island Airplane Camping

Wayne and I like to camp by airplane. We travel frequently to Canada and have found Texada/Gillies Bay Airport (CYGB) to be an excellent place to stop for overnight or longer. After you clear immigration and customs (we like Boundary Bay or Nanaimo), Texada Island is only a short distance away, about 50 miles north of Vancouver.

Final approach at Gillies Bay Airport.

The island is about 32 miles long and 6 miles wide. The airport is 3000’ of asphalt along a flat ridge in the northern portion of the island.

Parked near the small terminal.
The current airport manager is Valerie. She has a wealth of information about the area. Day parking is free, but there is a fee for overnight. The camping area is grassy with picnic tables and a fire ring. Public transportation is limited.

The camping area with picnic tables.
There used to be are several bikes you can take to Gillies Bay. Check with Valerie, but beware, the hills are steep. There are trails to the village and beach, so walking/hiking is an option. If you call ahead, some of the restaurants and lodging facilities will provide pick-up services. Two you might try are Ravenous Raven in Gillies Bay.

The beach below the airport.
We went to Texada this spring for a day trip and hiked the trail to the beach. You can either take the dirt road north of the runway or a trail just past the windsock. We used both to make the trip into a loop. Both are easy to walk. If you take the road, bear to the right at each junction and follow it downhill to the beach.

A lush understory along the trail to the beach.
There are several ways to reach the water. We like the one at the end of the road. Bring a picnic. It’s likely you will have the whole beach to yourself. To take the trail back, retrace your steps and then take the first dirt road to the right and exit at the windsock. Years ago, this was a fir and hemlock forest, but it has since been logged. One caution, say on the trails. The forest floor is covered with bright green stinging nettles. On our spring walk we saw deer, robins, lots of Horsetail Fern and flowers just starting to bloom.

Parked near the camping area.
There are no aircraft services at Texada Airport, but you can get fuel, if needed, at nearby Courtenay Airpark on Vancouver Island.

Each summer in July there is a Texada Island Fly-In. The weekend is filled with events for pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike.

I hope you get to enjoy Texada Airport and the beauty the island has to offer. -- Margy

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:23 AM


    That's really wonderful, having airplane camping?



We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy