Pollen and conifer stomata analyses of lake sediments from Hippa Island on the north coast of British Columbia were used to reconstruct the vegetation history of this small hypermaritime island. Between 14,000 and 13,230 cal yr BP, the island supported diverse herb–shrub communities dominated by Cyperaceae, Artemisia and Salix. Pinus contorta and Picea sitchensis stomata indicate that these conifers were present among the herb–shrub communities, likely as scattered individuals. Transition to open P. contorta woodland by 13,000 cal yr BP was followed by increases in Alnus viridis, Alnus rubra and P. sitchensis. After 12,000 cal yr BP, Pinus-dominated communities were replaced by dense P. sitchensis and Tsuga heterophylla forest with Lysichiton americanus and fern understory. Thuja plicata stomata indicate that this species was present by 8700 cal yr BP, but the pollen record suggests that its populations did not expand to dominate regional rainforests, along with Tsuga and Picea, until after 6600 cal yr BP. Conifer stomata indicate that species may be locally present for hundreds to thousands of years before pollen exceed thresholds routinely used to infer local species arrival. When combined, pollen and conifer stomata can provide a more accurate record of paleovegetation than either when used alone.