Bowen Island: A Serene Sanctuary 20 Minutes Away From the City
Bowen Island is a relaxing, charming, and serene sanctuary 20 minutes away from Metro Vancouver. It is an ideal refuge for city dwellers looking for respite.
In 2021, the population of Bowen Island was 4,256, equivalent to a 15.7% increase from 2016. In contrast, the average population increase in the province of BC is 7.6%, and 5.2% in the entire country. The land area of Bowen Island is 50.12 square kilometers and the population density was 84.9 people per square kilometer for the same time period.
Starting Your Adventure
Bowen Island’s tourism website is right – there is no bridge but there is a ferry.
You must get on the Queen of Capilano ferry to get to this island. This ferry is managed by BC Ferries. It shuttles passengers safely and conveniently from Horseshoe Bay to Snug Cove Terminal.
The ferry ride is only 20 minutes but gives an awesome view of Howe Sound.
In April 2022, it cost me $11.05 for a return fare as a foot passenger. All tickets include a return fare. Don’t look for a ticket office or ticket booth when you depart Bowen Island. There is none. Also, nobody will check your ticket as you get on the ferry on that end.
If you are going to Horseshoe Bay from Downtown Vancouver through public transit, you need to get on the 250 Horseshoe Bay or 257 Horseshoe Bay Express.
Enjoying Bowen Island
Since it was my first time and it was a spontaneous trip, I only really explored the busiest area close to Snug Cove.
Arts and Artisans
One thing that I noticed was that the trade focused on artisan products. I saw some interesting personal care products, jewelry, and gift items.
The community has a strong artistic vibe. In fact, their tourism website states that Bowen Island is the 5th most artistic community in Canada based on the number of residents who derive their primary income from the arts. But the affinity to and passion for arts do not start with adults. During my visit, the Hearth Gallery had an exhibit featuring the works of kindergarten to Grade 12 students from the island.
Bowen Island has a wide range of food options that will suit your palate. The restaurants have homey and unpretentious vibes.
Bowen Island is a popular destination for hiking, biking, and kayaking.
Hiking seems to be a popular activity in this tiny paradise. There are many places to explore in this paradise.
Casual hikers can explore the Killarney Lake Loop trail- a 9 km flat hike around the lake and through a beautiful forest. This would take approximately 2.5 hours to complete.
More adventurous hikers will enjoy Mount Gardner, the island’s tallest mountain with an elevation of 719m. Hikers will be rewarded with panoramic views of Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, and Vancouver Island. This challenging hike will take six hours or more to do the round trip if you start at the ferry terminal.
Bowen Island likewise offers whale watching experiences. The island is part of the Whale Trail, a series of sites along the Pacific Northwest coast to view marine mammals.
Bowen Island is known for its exciting outdoor activities. However, it is also popular as a yoga destination. The calming green spaces and tranquil view of the water enable yogis to establish a deep connection with their inner selves.