Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, is located off the coast of British Columbia, roughly southwest of Prince Rupert. While the archipelago consists of literally hundreds of islands, the two largest are Graham Island (the northernmost one) and Moresby Island. It's a 20 minute ferry ride between the two. The islands are primarily famous for their excellent salmon fishing, native cultural heritage, and abundant sea life. As such, most visitors hire guides to explore the region by sea (typically via kayak or zodiak with floating base camps), but as we're prone to motion sickness we decided to stick to the land.
The islands are accessible by either ferry (via Prince Rupert) or plane (landing in either Masset or Sandspit). We chose to take an overnight ferry so that I'd have my trusty car with me for exploring the logging roads. As a side note, we heard from a few guides and travelers that the flights to get there are often overweight and must be partially unloaded, meaning it is common for travelers to arrive without their luggage and gear! Guides recommend arriving a few days early to ensure your gear arrives by the time your tour departs.
We also treated ourselves to actual walled accommodations rather than our usual tent. If you do choose to tent, be aware that this is a rainy climate and it is not unusual to get a week of continuous wet weather. The places we stayed were Beach Cabins, Chateau Lawnhill Cottage, and the Seaport Inn B&B. All were absolutely fantastic places in all ways, including the prices! By splitting up where we stayed we were able to avoid driving more than about 30 minutes to reach a trailhead, with the exception of a few beaches only accessible by logging road.
As for hiking and exploration opportunities on foot, you should be aware of a few things before you go. First, most of the islands are a temperate rainforest, meaning it's wet, humid, and muddy. Locals wear rubber boots; we wore our hikers and gaiters. There are also not as many hikes as you might expect for such a beautiful area. I know of no trail guides for the islands and the one available hiking map has a disclaimer that states "do not rely on [this map] as being a precise indicator of routes, nor as a guide for navigation". As many of the trails on the map, particularly those on the east coast, are unknown to locals and impossible to find, I agree with the necessity of the disclaimer! A number of beach hikes are also dependent on the tide, so be sure to check the tide tables before you go.
The galleries in this collection highlight our adventures around the island, both very short excursions and full day difficult hikes. A map with the locations of each hike can be found here. Enjoy!