A Day Trip to Bowen Island

Bowen Island
The easiest accessible island from Vancouver offers a perfect opportunity for a day trip

There are many things this island has to offer. Just a short 20-minute ferry from Horseshoe Bay, you can spend a day full of trail riding, cider tasting, and beach exploring.

The farmer’s market full of delicious pastries, veggies, and fruits runs from May to October, so if you wish to attend, this is the best time to head over to the island. Beautiful forest trails start right after you get off Snug Cove and can lead you straight to the market, located on the grounds of Bowen Island Community School.

Once you get your snacks, you can head back to the forest and continue exploring gravel towards Killarney Lake. On the map, you will see trails along the whole lake, although only part of them are bikeable, the rest are for hiking only. If you feel like hiking, bring a bike lock along, bike stands are located at the lake parking lot. An easy hike around the lake includes a few viewpoints with benches to sit down and enjoy the view of the water. If you decide to ride by the lake, there is a little offshoot to an easily accessible beach. Swimming is not recommended, due to the healthy population of leeches, but it’s a nice spot you can view the whole lake from.

Continuing towards Grafton Lake, you may notice a few side single tracks by the road. They are fun and give you the option to avoid the pavement. Grafton Lake is a beautiful spot for gravel riding and swimming, so if you want to stop by later, after visiting the cidery, keep going. You don’t need to worry about missing out on it, as you will be riding back the same road to the ferry terminal as you are to the cidery.

My favorite cidery is Riley’s. Even though it requires slightly more riding and hill climbing, their picnic area overlooking the orchard is just too beautiful. They also have one of Canada’s most diverse apple orchards, including nearly 1000 varieties of heirloom apples. Finding out more about the history of this place is really interesting, definitely something worth visiting!

When you get back to Grafton Lake, the best way is to ride the trails clockwise, so you end by the beach. This spot, which is mostly just a big rock, provides easy access to the water as well as a nice opportunity for a picnic with friends. Go for a swim, relax and enjoy the beautiful nature around you before you head back home.

If you want more food before catching the ferry to Vancouver, we recommend stopping at Artisan Eats Cafe at Artisan Square. If you crave tacos or ice cream, Branch on Bowen located down by the ferry terminal has both.

Hope you have a great time exploring the island!


If you would like to head to the beach after cidery, Tunstall Bay is just down the road.

For disc golf lovers, there is a great, fairly newly built, course at Veterans Park. Go check it out!

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