This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click an affiliate link and buy something, that website will give me a tiny bit of money to say thanks for sending you to them. There is NO extra cost to you. This applies to Amazon links, as well as others, and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
If you’ve ever wanted to go hiking on Bowen Island to hike Mt Gardner here’s everything you need to know. This Vancouver hiking guide will cover how to get to the trailhead (including the Bowen Island ferry schedule), where to stay and details on the Mt Gardner hike. We hiked this in the fall and had great views from the top of both the North Shore mountains that we’re used to hiking and exploring and The Sunshine Coast.
Hiking on Bowen Island: Mt Gardner
Mt Gardner is one of the best Bowen Island hikes and you should definitely add it to your list of hikes near Vancouver!
There are several hikes to do on Bowen Island, but the Mt Gardner hike is the tallest and probably the hardest too. If you’re looking for more hikes on Bowen Island, check out my list of things to do on Bowen Island where I give more information about Killarney Lake and how to find the Bowen Island mastodon!
How to get to the Mt Gardner trailhead
There are several ways to hike to the summit of Mt Gardner on Bowen Island. If you’re just visiting Bowen Island for one day, then the easiest way to hike Mt Gardner is from the trailhead nearest to Killarney Lake. Doing it from this direction means you can hike straight from the ferry terminal to the trailhead and back.
However, if you’re already on Bowen Island then it may be easier to start from another trailhead depending on where you’re staying. Our favourite place to stay on Bowen island are the Wildwood A-frame cabins. Since they’re on the western side of the island, we hiked the Mt Gardner SW trail which is a bit shorter than the main trail to Mt Gardner.
What to know before hiking on Bowen Island
- Bowen Island camping: There is NO camping on Bowen Island. See this post for the best Bowen Island accommodation
- Bowen Island ferry schedule: You can see the Bowen ferry schedule here.
- Best time to hike Mt Gardner: You can hike this trail year round though please pack microspikes when hiking in winter as there may be snow/ice on the trail. In the fall and spring this Bowen Island hike can get very muddy – be prepared!
- Be adventure smart: Remember to respect the terrain, environment, and other users while you are enjoying the trails. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. AdventureSmart is a great resource to help you get informed before heading outdoors
- Pack your 10 essentials
- Remember to leave no trace
- This trail is dog friendly
Mt Gardner hiking guide
I’ve given details for the two different routes mentioned above.
Mt Gardner from Snug Cove/Killarney Lake
From the Bowen Island ferry terminal/Snug Cover, walk up the main road and turn right on Cardena Road.
Shortly, you’ll see a sign for Crippen Regional Park, take this turn and go right at the cross-roads until you reach Miller Road. Cross over the road here and continue along the trail for 15 minutes until you reach the end, then make a right turn towards Killarney Lake.
At this point you’ll find yourself in a meadow before coming back into the forest. Follow signs to Killarney Lake and then take the left trail when you reach a fork and soon you’ll see the lake. Turn left at the lake, then right immediately to follow the path along the shore of the lake.
Keep an eye out for a trail to your left that walks uphill to a road. When you reach the road, turn right, you’ll need to walk along the road for around 5 minutes. Take the first street on your left – Hikers Trail Rod – and follow it uphill to the metal gate which is the start of the trail to Mount Gardner.
Follow the Hikers Trail uphill until you reach a junction with a sign to Mt Gardner summit (a left hand turn). Continue on this trail as it climbs steadily and then reaches a short rocky section where there are ropes to help you climb up.
Enjoy the views up here and then head back down the way you came.
Mt Gardner SW Trail
There’s a small parking lot at the end of Laura Road where you can park for free to hike Mt Gardner.
The trail from here is well signposted and pretty easy to follow.
To begin, head into the forest. Follow the signs, taking a right to begin with then a left to stay on the SW Mt Gardner trail. You’ll begin climbing uphill almost immediately.
A couple of km in you’ll come to a lookout spot where you can get a view out to the ocean.
Retrace your steps to join the main trail again, and continue on the SW trail until you reach a junction at which you’ll bear left. As you walk along there there’s the option to head to the true summit. The true summit doesn’t have any views, but if you’re a peak bagger then you may want to check it off anyway! If you’re not bothered, the follow the trail as it heads downhill slightly before heading back up for the final climb.
As you reach the top of Mt Gardner you’ll see a few wires where the radio site facility is. You can get great views both to the east and west and it makes a great lunch spot before heading back down the way you came.
Mt Gardner stats
What to pack for hiking Mt Gardner
Make sure you look at these packing lists for the Mt Gardner hike.