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Nitinat Lake
Nitinat Lake is located in British Columbia
Nitinat Lake
Nitinat Lake
Location in British Columbia
Location Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Coordinates 48°45′00″N 124°45′00″W / 48.75000°N 124.75000°W / 48.75000; -124.75000
Type lake and inlet

Nitinat Lake is a large lake and inlet on the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The lake is about 150 km (93 mi) northwest by road from Victoria, BC's capital on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, and about 60 km (37 mi) southwest by road from the town of Lake Cowichan. The town of Port Alberni is about 80 km (50 mi) by road to the north.

The southern end of the lake lies in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, which also contains Nitinat Hill on the lake's northern shore and Nitinat Cone on the southern shore. Hitchie Creek Provincial Park and Nitinat Lake Ecological Reserve lie on opposite sides of the lakeshore about a third of the way from the lake's northern shore and headwaters, which is fed by the Nitinat River and the Little Nitinat River. On the lake's eastern shore lie Mt. Rosander and the foot of Carmanah Mountain, the eastern part of which is in Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park.

Nitinat Lake drains into the Pacific Ocean just north of the Pacific entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca via the Nitinat Narrows, a narrow tidal passage about 3 km (1.9 mi) long. Tidal bores (ocean waves traveling up the lake) occur on the Narrows, the heights of which depend on tide heights, and these can be dangerous. The small First Nations village of Whyac lies on the southern lakeshore beside Nitinat Narrows and just north of the First Nations village of Clo-oose, also on the coast.

The main volume of Nitinat Lake is salt water, with a thin layer of less dense fresh water floating on top.


Nitinat Lake has consistent winds that offer some of the best kiteboarding and windsurfing in North America, attracting kiteboarders and windsurfers from around the world.

Nearby lakes

There are many smaller lakes close to Nitinat Lake. Many of them, such as Hobiton Lake, Squalicum Lake, Tsuiat Lake, and Cheewhat Lake lie completely within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, while others such as Doobah Lake and Sprise Lake lie between Pacific Rim National Park and Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park.

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