Posted by: cherylyoung | June 25, 2013


A quick 20-minute ferry ride west of Vancouver brings

 visitors to Bowen Island, an emerald island in the

 waters of Howe Sound.

 With a beautifully rugged landscape and friendly

 laid-back pace, Bowen Island is typical of the forested

 island retreats to be found along the coast of

 British Columbia.


Bowen Island was originally inhabited by the Squamish

 First Nations who used it as their hunting and

 fishing grounds.


Early settlers discovered shake dwellings and a smoke

 house in Snug Cove.


Bowen also served as a neutral meeting ground for the

 Squamish and other First Nations, as well as a stopping

 place on the way up or down the coast.


 The first preemption of land by a white settler was in

 1874, by William Eaton, who claimed 160 acres south

 of Killarney Lake.

Bowen Island was named in 1860 after Rear-Admiral

James Bowen (1751-1835), master of the HMS Queen

 Charlotte, the flagship of Lord Howe.


While on an exploration of the Strait of Georgia back

 in 1791, the Spanish explorer Narvaez had already

 named this island and the one to the west

 ’the isles of Apodaca,’ after Spanish naval official

Sebastian Ruiz de Apodaca.


Although now primarily a residential area, Bowen

 Island’s beauty was not wasted on the picnickers and

 weekend explorers who first developed Bowen Island

 as a recreation spot early last century.

 And a hundred years later, this enchanted island

attracts even more visitors from around the globe to itS

 verdant coniferous forests and mountainous vistas.


 Dubbed Happy Isle in the 1950s, this tiny port haS

 been revitalized with an array of attractions, historic

 old turn-of-the-century buildings, quaint boutiques,

and boardwalks.


The magic of Bowen Island is the peace and tranquility

of country living that the island offers, while being so

 accessible to the amenities of Vancouver.


Lakes, beaches, crown forest lands, beautiful hiking trails,

 and absolute serenity await those residents and visitors

 who choose to leave the hustle of city life behind them.

Population: 3,501


Location: Bowen Island is located in Howe Sound, just

 an hour from downtown Vancouver, which

 includes the relaxing ferry ride on the

Queen of Capilano, from Horseshoe Bay, north

 of Vancouver.

 Upon arrival on Bowen, check in at the restored Union

Steamship Company store just up the hill.


The Greater Vancouver Regional District houses its

park reception centre here where you can pick up a map

 of Crippen Regional Park, as well as a historic walking

 tour guide.


Across Government Road is a row of shops, including a

 bakery and two pubs, featuring Bowen Island brew.


You can rent one of the restored Union Steamship

 Company cabins here if you wish to spend the night

 on the island.


Relive the resort life of the 1920s with a visit to the

 Cottage Museum, and pore over old-time photos and

displays in the Historian’s Museum at the crossroads.


Annual events on Bowen Island include the Heritage

Weekend in mid-February, and the People, Plants &

Places Tour hosted in mid/late July by the Bowen

Island Historians and Memorial Garden Society.

 The art and craft galleries of Artisan Square are a

 must-see on the island.


For those who enjoy a slower pace, buy a packed lunch

 from one of Snug Cove’s restaurants and take a guided

 walk or birdwatching tour around the island,

experiencing the flora and fauna of Bowen Island

 to its fullest.


Those with sturdy shoes and legs should make the

 beautiful hike to the top of Mount Gardner, Bowen’s

 highest point (2480 ft. above sea level), for a breathtaking

view of the Sunshine Coast, Lower Mainland and

Washington State.

Enjoy mountain and ocean views along the Snug Cove



Visit the mallard ducks on a stroll along the Causeway

 at the Lagoon, or watch salmon making daring leapS

 up the fish ladder next to Bridal Veil Falls.


 Follow the promenade to Snug Cove’s wide beach.


 A steep trail leads up the hill on the far side of the

 picnic area to Dorman Point, and a great view of

 Howe Sound and the Howe Sound Crest Mountains as

 you look down into aptly named Snug Cove.

See the moon rise above Hollyburn Mountain from

 your kayak, or enjoy a full day of paddling to the Pasley

 Islands, west of Bowen Island, to view seals, eagles and

 river otters.

Operators in Snug Cove offer numerous Sea Kayaking

 tours and sea kayaking courses.


What a wonderful place to learn to paddle!


The varied terrain of the Vancouver, Coast and

Mountains region of BC accommodates every outdoor

 recreation known to man.


One of the delights of visiting Bowen Island is that

 you’re in Crippen Regional Park as soon as you step onto

 the dock at Snug Cove.


 Even though the ferry ride and a stroll on the beach

 make an entirely satisfactory trip in themselves, the best

 way to appreciate Crippen Regional Park is over the

 course of a half-day or more.


 Head inland to Killarney Lake to explore the quiet

 side of Bowen Island.

 As you walk or bike uphill from the ferry on

 Government Road past the Union Steamship store,

 trails marked by a green park signpost lead off to

Killarney Lake.


 Allow 30 minutes to walk the 1.6-km Killarney

 Lake Trail to the lake.


 Take one of two routes to reach the Killarney Lake Trail.

 One trail leads past a pair of fish ladders that climb the

 hillside above a small lagoon.


 Alternatively, walk down past the Memorial Garden to a

 causeway that crosses the mouth of the tranquil backwater.


On the opposite side of the lagoon, follow left on Melmore

Road to Miller Road, where a yellow gate across from

St. Gerard’s Church marks the entrance to the

 Killarney Creek Trail.





business card



  1. Cheryl – some great photos! I wonder if you sell any for use by local businesses (in this case, Bowen Island Sea Kayaking)? We are revising our materials and website and need a couple of Bowen beauty shots. Or a blue Heron or Eagle!

    Thanks, Susan Swift

  2. Reblogged this on Cheryl Young's Blog.

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