A Favourite Camping Spot
Smuggler Cove is a small, unique, picturesque surprise. Final access is via a 4km trail, complete with segments built up on wooden platforms over an incredible, other-worldly wetlands. The trail is manageable for all cyclists, though with several short pushing stretches.
The campsite is basic: ~5 sites on tent clearings, set against a treed area, with 2 outhouses (no tables). Bring in water. In season, there are often sailboats moored in the cove, or kayaks along the beach; sometimes folks like to come ashore to camp. The cove itself is a gorgeous stretch of pocketed coastline, with some excellent seaside trails to explore at hand.
Part of the appeal of camping at Smuggler Cove is that it feels a little like you've entered into an unexpected, hidden world. And there's history, as the nestled pocket coves attracted smugglers of rum, and Chinese labourers, in days gone by.
As noted above, camping facilities are just the basics. The pic below shows one of several areas cleared and flattened for tents. They are set in a little (~10-20m) from the shoreline, and you'll see a trail heading in just after you pass the outhouses and the info sign about the history of Smuggler Cove. Here's the link to Smuggler Cove park website. There's a notice suggested outhouses may have been decommissioned in October 2017, though it's not really clear if this might just be along the trail, as the 'wilderness campground' remains open. Would appreciate an update if any readers make the trip in. There's lots of forest should it be necessary to use the bush toilet.
Because access to the campground is either by boat or a 4km hike (or by cycle), you generally meet a pretty interesting crowd if you camp at Smuggler Cove.
The wider, well-tended trail ends when you reach the Cove. You'll see the outhouse and sign with some history. The trail does continue to the outer seaside, but it is basically a hiking trail (see pic below). But you should definitely check it out, as it'll take you to some picturesque spots along the pocketed coastline.
The turnoff west to Smuggler Cove is a couple of kms north along the coast from the village of Halfmoon Bay, which is roughly halfway between Langdale ferry terminal in the south, and Earl's Cove terminal (to Saltery Bay) in the north. It's about 15kms north of Sechelt. There's a store and little restaurant in Halfmoon Bay (just off Sunshine Coast Hwy101), and the bay itself is very scenic. You may want to water up there, or keep an eye out for a creek as you ride.
North of Halfmoon Bay along the highway, keep an eye out for Brooks Road (paved) heading west. It's~3kms from the highway to to the trailhead for Smuggler Cove, which is well signed. Then 4kms of trail to the camping area. Check out the map below.
Can't resist finishing up with a final shot from the wetlands along the fabulous trail into Smuggler Cove. Memorable.