At Van Isle Marina, we are fortunate to be located in the heart of the Gulf Islands, one of the best cruising grounds in the world. There are more than 200 islands in the region, each different than the last. The sheltered waters of the islands are wonderful for fishing, swimming, and sailing, while the isolated forests are perfect for hiking and camping. Below are five of the most popular hikes in the area, and are, of course, only accessible by boat!
Princess Margaret Perimeter Trail (Moderate – 7.2 km)
Located on Portland Island, (nice and close to Van Isle Marina!) the Princess Margaret Perimeter Trail is one of the most highly rated hiking trails in the Gulf Islands. It is a dog friendly loop trail that follows the shoreline around the island, showcasing the pristine white seashell beaches. If 3 hours is a bit too long, there are cross island trails that can shorten the hike to 1 hour. There is a dinghy dock located on the North side of the island at Princess Bay and Royal Cove for the convenience of local boaters.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 3 hours
Tumbo Island (Easy to Moderate – 3.5 km)
Take a step into seclusion on this quiet island to enjoy an easy hike through a few of British Columbia’s various ecosystems; garry oak and douglas fir forests, marshes and coastline. While you are walking, try to spot the remains of the coal mine that inhabited the island in the 1900s! This island’s name comes from “tombolo” which is a sand, shingle and driftwood bar.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 90 mins
Mt. Norman Hike (Difficult – 1.5 km)
On the southwest side of Pender Island is a short but very steep trail, leading to amazing views of the Gulf Islands, Olympic Mountain Range and Mt. Baker. There is a boardwalk and viewing platform, so you can relax and truly enjoy the beauty that you worked plenty hard for! The elevation gain is 199 m, so this trail is not for the faint of heart.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 60 minutes
Russell Island Trail (Easy to moderate – 1 km)
Russell Island is the closest you can get to feeling like you are in Hawaii, without being in Hawaii. In fact, during the mid-19th century it is estimated that at least 1000 Hawaiians came to the Pacific Northwest and some even settled on Russell Island. Take a walk around the island on the well maintained trail to experience a near-tropical environment, and to see the artifacts left over by the Hawaiian residents.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 30 Minutes
Roe Lake Trail (Moderate – 1.2 km)
Located on Pender Island, Roe Lake is a small fresh water lake on the western side of the island. The area is local to many wildlife including deer, beaver and plenty of wild birds. On any given day in the summer, the area is enjoyed by plenty of picnickers and families, as there is an easier 0.5 km trail accessible from Magic Lake Estates. The full 1.2 km trail is accessed through Shingle Bay Rd.
Estimated time to complete this hike: 55 minutes
Have you completed any of these hikes? Share your photos in the comments!