our Story

 Hot Springs Cove - Where We Live

Hot Springs Cove Village is located within the protection of Refuge Cove on the central-western side of notoriously beautiful Vancouver Island. Surrounded by the lush green rainforests of the infamous Clayoquot Sound, Hot Springs Cove is the northernmost village of the Nuu Chah Nulth tribes. Similar to the rolling tides near our home, the number of people here rise and fall with the ebb and flow of economy and tourism. The core of our village is small but big-hearted and we welcome all visitors.

The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere

In 2000, the United Nations declared the Clayoquot Sound a biosphere and raised global awareness of how important the Clayoquot Sound is to the heritage of our people who have lived here thousands of years, the symbiotic nature of our culture in its relationship to the environment and the environmental importance of rainforests to the planet.

Our Culture

The Hesquiaht people’s close relationship to the land and sea have impressed upon us our culture. We are connected to the animals, the trees, the sea and each other. This is reflected in our colorful mythos of animal tales, skilled wood working of handcrafted canoes, totems and communal long houses where we share, feast, drum and dance.

Each of our Houses (known as clans in other First Nation traditions) hold cultural teachings as a sacred responsibility. Ancestral cultural knowledge is important to us. We rely upon the oral stories and teachings of our grandfathers and grandmothers to instill in us the knowledge of our ways.

Hesquiaht lands, throughout west-central Vancouver Island, Alberni Valley, are dotted with villages. Our people are able to move freely through Hesquiaht territory, and it is tradition that all Hesquiaht are welcome to visit and stay in our villages including Hot Springs Cove.

 Hesquiaht Language Endangered

The tribes of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth share the same linguistic family but our language was almost lost. Only a few are still completely fluent. Language is a cultural treasure trove of ancient knowledge—a window into the daily lives of our ancestors, their practical skills, social organization, values and spiritual beliefs. Extensive written documentation, recordings and educational programs are efforts being made to ensure language preservation. Our cultural pride is strong and we actively and proudly seek to reclaim all aspects Hesquiaht cultural life.

The Tsunami of 1964

The largest ever-recorded North American earthquake shook our village at the head of the Bay in Refuge Cove. When the Tsunami hit of 18 homes on the shores of Hot Springs Cove, only two were not destroyed. Amazingly, despite the lack of warning and given the magnitude of destruction, no lives were lost in Hot Springs Cove that night. With no power for lights, people scrambled to high ground by the light of the full moon as rising water lifted houses off their foundations. Some were forced to swim with their babies on the bitterly cold March night. The village was decimated and those who lived there were displaced until 1972 when the decision was made to relocate to the east side of Refuge Cove, where the community remains to this day. 

Eco-Tourism is Sustainable

Hot Springs Cove is located 30 nautical miles away from Tofino, BC—where from by boat or plane only, Hot Springs Cove is accessed. An extensive range of our lands and territories are yet untouched. The trees up to a thousand years old, the streams crystal clear and clean and rugged and sandy beaches await exploration—all full wildlife! Making Hot Springs Cove a popular destination with tourists looking to experience a pristine rainforest environment.

 We are surrounded by natural wonders and opportunities to explore nature at every corner. Fishing, whale watching, surfing, hiking, beach combing and kayaking are some of the most popular activities with our visitors. There is history here too. Cougar Annie is the first European woman to make a life here and her garden is still tended today. Amongst the forest are curious old buildings and structures that now blend into the environment.



hot springs cove