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“Expensive if you don't have your own boat” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Princess Louisa Inlet

Princess Louisa Inlet
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Malibu
Attraction details
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
240 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Expensive if you don't have your own boat”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2014

Took a Zodiac boat trip here, the falls at the end are fine but the big plus is the views on the way there which are stunning. We also had dolphins riding the wake which was worth the outlay in itself. If you have time I would recommend going as long as the weather is fine

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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22 reviews from our community

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  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Gig Harbor, Washington
Level Contributor
172 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 263 helpful votes
“Beyond beautiful and breathtaking”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 December 2013

Buried in the heart of the British Columbia coastal range , north of Vancouver, B.C., is the stunning, spectacular coastal fjord of Princess Louisa, reached only by floatplane or boat. The entrance is hidden by the narrow, dog-leg Malibu Rapids. It is the wise boater that waits for slack water after an ebb or flood tide to navigate through this rock-girth channel -- more than one boater who failed to do so has scraped the side of his boat on the rocks, for when the tide is at full flood or ebb, it becomes a reversing waterfall of daunting power.

Right next to the Mailibu Rapids at the entrance, is the terrific Malibu Club camp, owned by Young Life, an international Christian youth organization that reaches out to primarily high school youth. Although they now have many camps and dude ranches for teenagers around the world, Malibu is widely considered to be their crown jewel and the most sought after. They have a long float on the inside of the rapids, and visiting boaters are always welcome to tie up for a couple of hours or so and take a tour of their property which includes a short golf course and a swimming pool hacked out of the boulders and rocks right at the Mailibu Rapids entrance- -- and maybe to buy an ice cream treat or two. But they do not have gas to sell or mechanics to work on your boat should you have a problem. Boaters need to be totally self sufficient for the long journey up the reaches and back again to Egmont, (the last place for fuel) including taking extra cans of gas for power boaters with smaller tanks.

This pristine piece of heaven is only bout 3.7 miles long and ranges in width from about a quarter of a mile to a little more than a third of a mile wide. Once inside, a panorma of serene, spectacular beauty unfolds, with small mountains rising steeply up from the shoreline to heights of 4,000 feet, 5,000 feet and even highe -- up to a mile high. And depending on which time of year you visit, you can see dozens upon dozens of waterfalls tumbling down the moutainsides like strands of white braided yarn.

Between May and September, when it is the most visited by boaters from throughout the greater Pacific Northwest, and indeed, boaters from all parts of the world who have come to experience it, the inlet is one of the most idyllic places on earth. The clear air and crystalline water is unusually still, almost like that of a mountain lake. As you enter you find yourself deep within unspoiled forestland with the waterfalls dropping hundreds, even thousands of feet from above.

About two-thirds of the way in, is Macdonald Island, named after James F. "Mac" Macdonald, who, in 1919, as a young man, first saw the inlet on his uncle's schooner. He was so enthralled by the experience, that years later, with a few thousand dollars he had saved, filed for a crown grant on a property at the head of Princess Louisa Inlet. The B.C. government sold him the property for the grand sum of $420, property that is now worth millions.

At the head of the inlet, is Chatterbox Falls, a dramatic and wide river of glacial water that plummets down through the forest mountainside -- parts of it are visible here and there up the mountain -- before thundering over the last rim into the inlet. A favorite thing to do on a really hot summer day is to walk to the base of the falls out into the boulders and sit in one of the little pools formed by the boulders while enjoying the cool spray of the falls, and a cold drink while looking down the pristinely beautiful inlet. Next to the base of the falls is a long wooden float for private boat moorage provided jointly by the private Princess Louisa International Society and the British Columbia Ministry of Parks which maintains the land around the head of the inlet as a Class "A" Provincial Marine Park. This unusual arrangement came about when in 1952 the aging "Mac" deeded his land to a collection of Pacific Northwest yacht clubs and other boating organizations to preserve his treasure and keep it safe from commercial development. The clubs responded by quickly forming the new Princess Louisa International Society to administer and protect their new prized property.

Because it is so remote and isolated, relatively few people have been able to experience this largely overlooked, hidden treasure. But those who have, have almost all fallen in love with the inlet. it has been described often as "the Yosemite of the North", or a "Marine Yosemite" or "Drowned Yosemite," all adequate descriptions for those who can imagine what the valley floor of Yosmite would look like if it were covered with water leaving only the peaks of El Capitan, Half Dome and the others poking up into the sky. Earle Stanley Gardner, the famous novelist, saw it and labeled it as the most beautiful place on earth, with "a peace that passeth understanding."

For many years, the upscale travel magazine, Travel & Leisure, has had an annual section about the top ten of this and that, includeing top ten airlines, both domestic and international, top ten domestic hotels and resorts, top ten international hotel and resorts, top ten attractions, top ten city destinations, both domestic and international, and so on. Readers of the magazine are invited to send in their votes and the winners are a result of those receiving the most votes. One of the categories was World's Top Ten Most Beautiful Places -- and several years ago, Pricness Louisa made the list as one of the world's top ten most beautiful places. This was almost unbelievable considering the remoteness of the location and the somewhat difficult journey to get there -- which means that almost everyone who has been there and read Travel & Leisure, must have voted for it.

There is, however, a continuing threat of development in other parts of the inlet not owned by the Princess Louisa Society or B.C. Parks. Weyerhauser owns several large chunks, some of which it bought from McMillan Blodoel, another timber company. Wealthy individuals and organizations have stepped up to buy a few of the large lots to help preserve the unspoiled nature of trhe inlet, but at least three large lots are currently being offered for sale for logging or other commercial development by Timberland Trust.

On behalf of all of those of us who have had the pleasure on several occasions of visiting this world-class gem of an unspoiled, magnificent piece of nature at its finest, we can only hope for the best that the inlet will continue to be protected and preserved as it is now for the enjoyment of generations to come.

Visited July 2013
5 Thank ThorneBirdGT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East Wenatchee, Washington
Level Contributor
232 reviews
65 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Young Life Camp at Malibu is AWESOME”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 October 2013

Beautiful Camp/Resort, great food, hundreds of activities, swimming in a 95 degree pool, the blob, water skiing, hiking, ropes course, zip line, coffee shop, ice cream/snack shop, shopping, great speakers, sand volleyball, kayaking, rowboats, wildlife, music, etc. Wonderful Experience! Majestic.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank TrvlJunkE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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