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A Information To Biking the Gulf Islands in British Columbia

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Victoria and the Gulf Islands are recognized for his or her delicate temperatures, sunny days, and low rainfall, particularly in the summertime. Biking the Gulf Islands in British Columbia on devoted bike paths on Vancouver Island and usually quiet facet roads within the Gulf Islands present guests with a enjoyable approach of actively having fun with the pastoral countryside. Frequent ocean views and the drama of the mainland mountains might be appreciated by all.

Off the bike there are many diversions together with visiting artist’s studios, wine tasting, farmers markets, and spas, eating and having fun with picnics on one of many small seashores simply accessed by bike. As well as, you might hire a kayak for a half or full day and maybe get pleasure from close-up encounters with whales, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and seabirds. There are alternatives to go on devoted whale watching journeys which is a enjoyable factor to do it doesn’t matter what your age. 

Whereas biking the Gulf Islands, get pleasure from a variety of lodging choices throughout all worth factors. There are intimate B&B’s, boutique inns, five-star motels, resorts, campgrounds, and rental properties. Some islands like Saturna have very restricted decisions however Salt Spring Island has all choices.

This put up contains some affiliate hyperlinks. Should you make a qualifying buy via one in all these hyperlinks, I’ll obtain a small share of the sale at no additional value to you. Thanks on your help.

View of the Saanich Peninsula & Gulf Islands near Sidney, taken from a Harbour Air flight - Credit: Destination BC/Reuben Krabbe
View of the Saanich Peninsula & Gulf Islands close to Sidney, taken from a Harbour Air flight – Credit score: Vacation spot BC/Reuben Krabbe

Plan your personal biking the Gulf Islands tour

This itinerary will offer you all that you have to know to plan your personal journey however assumes a begin in Victoria. In fact, you’ll be able to start biking the Gulf Islands tour on any of the islands in case you are coming from Vancouver’s Tsawwassen ferry terminal, however in case you are a customer from outdoors the BC mainland – and you’re flying to Victoria then that would be the apparent place to begin. Plan on a minimal of 4 days (with out visiting all of the islands) although in case you have a relaxed schedule the journey might simply be 10-day journey.

Biking the Gulf Islands – prompt itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive Victoria and spend the remainder of the day exploring town at leisure.

Day 2 – Discover Victoria making the most of whale watchin and sightseeing alternatives. Choose up a motorbike or have it delivered on the finish of the day.

Day 3 – Victoria to Saturna Island – Cycle the Lochside Path, with the choice of a facet journey to go to the Butchart Gardens and Church and State Vineyards for those who’re a wine lover. Catch the ferry from Swartz Bay to Saturna Island. Cycle to your lodging for the evening.

Day 4 – Saturna Island to Mayne Island – Cycle to East Level and have a picnic or in case you are feeling VERY energetic head to the Sage Hayward Vineyards after the East Level jaunt. Catch a late afternoon ferry to Mayne Island. Cycle to Mayne Island Resort.

Day 5 – Mayne Island to Galiano Island – Cycle round Mayne Island taking time to go to the Japanese backyard and the Lighthouse Park at Georgina Level. Catch a late afternoon ferry to Galiano Island. Should you keep on the Galiano Oceanfront Inn and Spa you want solely cycle a minute to reach at your lodging. An alternative choice is to cycle 6 km to Sticks & Stones Cottage

Day 6 – Spend the day on Galiano Island. Should you get pleasure from mountain climbing, then an early morning trip to the Bluffs is likely to be so as. It’s a couple of 5 km uphill cycle after which a really nice, straightforward ridge stroll with nice views. Folks with extra vitality to burn might go that a lot additional after which hike up Mount Galiano. After breakfast head to Montague Harbour and hire a kayak or arrange a guided tour for half a day. Galiano is a very beautiful island from the water. Get pleasure from the remainder of the afternoon within the spa, enjoyable or visiting one of many galleries. Get pleasure from a second evening on Galiano Island.

Day 7 – Galiano Island to Pender Island – Catch the morning ferry to Pender Island arriving. Cycle to Hope Bay and luxuriate in a picturesque lunch by the water. Within the afternoon cycle to Poets Cove Resort & Spa on South Pender Island. A spa service or a pleasing drink on the water could also be simply the factor earlier than dinner and the evening at this luxury resort. An alternative choice is the Shangri-La Oceanfront trip residence.

Day 8 – Pender Island to Salt Spring Island – After breakfast cycle to North Pender Island. Take into account a cease at Sea Star Vineyards. Return to the ferry terminal in time to catch the ferry to Lengthy Harbour on Salt Spring Island. Cycle the northern a part of the island earlier than heading to Ganges and your private home for the evening. Hastings Home Nation Home Resort presents luxurious although there are many fairly priced choices.

Day 9 – Salt Spring Island to Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula – After breakfast head south in the direction of Fulford Harbour on the backroads to keep away from the visitors. Take into account a cease at Salt Spring Island Cheese earlier than hopping on the ferry for the 35-minute trip again to Swartz Bay. Cycle the northern Saanich Peninsula on the again roads and think about a wine tasting at Deep Cove Vineyard. Head for both the 5-star Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa and dine in or strive one of many funky native cafes. Or spend an evening in Sidney on the Sidney Pier Resort & Spa.

Day 10 – Brentwood Bay or Sidney to Victoria – End biking the Gulf Island by making your approach again to the Lochside Path and into Victoria to complete your journey. 

Stopping to admire the surroundings on Galiano Island

Biking the Gulf Islands – detailed island by island itinerary

Renting a motorbike in Victoria

Should you haven’t introduced a motorbike with you and also you’re doing a self-guided bike tour, you’ll have to hire. I journey with my very own removable rack and waterproof panniers so give that some consideration earlier than you allow residence. Most of the Gulf Islands have bike rental shops however meaning that you’ll want to start out and end on that island which can be inconvenient. There are many locations to hire bikes in Victoria together with the next. Don’t neglect you’ll want panniers, a motorbike rack, a lock, bike pump and restore package and a motorbike helmet.

You may also want a spot to go away your surplus baggage if you are in your Gulf Islands biking tour. Generally the bike retailer might be variety sufficient to retailer it and if not most motels, B&B’s or wherever you keep in Victoria – for those who return to them, will present that service.

What to do in Victoria

Higher Victoria is a bustling middle of about 400,000 folks (2021), a lot of whom have come to retire due to the local weather. Town itself is value a minimum of a full day so think about doing among the following relying in your curiosity.

  • Mix a visit to view the out of doors assortment of totem poles in Thunderbird Park with a go to to the Royal BC Museum.
  • Benefit from the sights of the Artwork Gallery of Higher Victoria particularly the works of world renown west coast artist Emily Carr.
  • Make a journey to the world well-known 55-acre Butchart Gardens although you may also do that by bike on the best way to the ferries.
  • Stroll via the 1-acre backyard created by Prince and Princess Abkhazi which is an outstanding instance of West Coast backyard design.
  • Get pleasure from a Harbour Ferry Cruise.
  • Bask in excessive tea on the Fairmont Empress Resort full with scones, preserves, jersey cream, teas, sweets, and finger sandwiches.
  • Go on a whale watching tour the place the likelihood of sighting whales, particularly orcas, is excessive.
  • Use the devoted walkway alongside the inside harbour of Victoria. Take within the views of the floating docks and boats plus attention-grabbing outdated buildings. Observe your stroll up with some window buying, folks watching from a restaurant, gallery hopping or strive an area brew at one of many native brewpubs.
Victoria's colourful inner harbour
Victoria’s vibrant inside harbour – a pedestrian walkway

The place to remain in Victoria

There may be a variety of lodging for each price range. Definitely, a central location is useful to see the sights and to entry the beginning of the Galloping Goose path. Take a look at among the following.

The Inn at Laurel Level is conveniently situated close to the seawall and inside harbour. 

Abigail’s Resort is a 5-star boutique resort offering an opulent room, a gourmand breakfast and 5 pm hors d’oeuvres. It’s solely 3 blocks to Victoria’s inside harbour.

Amethyst Inn is a 5-star B&B in a completely restored 1885 mansion. Costs embody a full breakfast.

The 5-star Magnolia Resort and Spa is simply 4 minutes away from the inside harbour. 

Views of the Inner Harbour in Victoria
Views of the Internal Harbour in Victoria from The Inn at Laurel Level

Biking the Gulf Islands – plan across the BC Ferries schedule

If you’re deviating from the proposed itinerary, then you’ll have to determine which islands you want to go to. Spend a while ferry schedules and determine which islands are most vital to you to go to. You wish to maximize time on the island and never on the ferry!!

If you’re strolling on the ferry together with your bike, you’ll not have to make any advance reservations however they do suggest that you just present up about 20-minutes earlier than the scheduled departure. Take a look at the BC Ferries web site for scheduled departure occasions. Be sure you are wanting on the proper month whenever you do your planning. Reconfirming ferry schedules as they’ll change all of the sudden with little discover, particularly with worker shortages.

Watching one of the BC Ferries go through Active Pass from the Bluff hike on Galiano Island
Watching one of many BC Ferries undergo Energetic Go from the Bluff hike on Galiano Island

Biking the Gulf Islands – Getting from Victoria to the Swartz Bay ferry 

You possibly can choose up the start of the Galloping Goose path proper in downtown Victoria. Entry the path after crossing the Johnston Avenue Bridge on the north finish of the inside harbour on the intersection with Esquimalt Highway. It will likely be nicely signed. After the preliminary 3.8 km head proper on the Swap Bridge onto the Lochside Path which can take you all the best way to the ferry terminal, 29 km forward. It’s a multi-use path so you’ll have to share the route at occasions with automobiles and horses. Train warning, particularly at busy intersections.  Should you don’t plan on any facet journeys, then enable about 1.5 hours to get to the ferry.

There are a number of worthwhile facet journeys together with Butchart Gardens and a number of other wineries. The choice is to go to them on the finish of your biking the Gulf Islands tour on the best way again to Victoria.

The best option to entry the Butchart Backyard and the wineries is to comply with the Lochside path north from Victoria till you attain Sayward Highway. Flip left and cross Freeway 17 onto Brookleigh Highway.  Make a left at Oldefield, proper on Brookhaven after which a proper on Previous West Saanich. Previous West Saanich ends at Freeway 17A which it would be best to take till you attain the intersection of Keating Cross Highway and Benvenuto Highway. Flip left on Benvenuto Highway and the Church and State Wines might be in your left simply previous the butterfly gardens.

Should you proceed left on Benvenuto Highway after exiting the vineyard you’ll run into the Butchart Gardens shortly after crossing Wallace Drive. The gardens are open on daily basis at 9 AM besides Christmas which is unlikely to have an effect on you. There are three eating places on the property and plenty to see however be ready to battle with busloads of vacationers in the summertime. 

One other vineyard to go to on the best way again to the Lochside Path is the small Marley Farm. Whenever you go away Butchart Gardens search for Wallace Drive and make a left. Observe it for about 6 km to Mount Newton Go Highway and switch left. The vineyard is down a number of hundred metres in your left. Verify their schedule beforehand for tasting hours. 

After your tasting, return to Mount Newton Cross Highway and go proper. Shortly after you cross Freeway 17 you’ll choose up the Lochside Path once more. Head left and proceed for about 10 km to achieve the ferry. In case you have time to spare, you might nip into Sidney (about 4 km earlier than you get to the ferry) by taking Beacon Avenue. It’s straightforward to choose up a espresso or meal at one of many many cafes and eating places. It additionally boasts an enormous variety of superb used bookstores – actually the best quantity per capita in Canada.

A pretty section of the Lochside Trail
A fairly part of the Lochside Path

Saturna Island

Saturna Island is probably the most southerly of the Gulf Islands with a decidedly rural really feel to it. It’s my favorite island to cycle as a result of you’ll be able to cycle alongside the ocean for a lot of kilometres and on the finish of East Level Highway/Tumbo Channel Highway (one of the best biking street on the island) is an outstanding nationwide park web site. Seashores and well-placed picnic tables can be found for having fun with the view to the San Juan Islands in Washington. The 300 or so fulltime inhabitants are a pleasant lot and there are sufficient eateries and locations to remain to warrant a minimum of an evening and extra in case you are inclined to hike or sea kayak.

Attending to the Lyall Harbour ferry terminal on Saturna

BC Ferries has scheduled continuous service to Lyall Harbour on Saturna Island by way of Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island and from Mayne Island. Travelling from the opposite Gulf Islands will entail both a switch or a cease so prior planning is important. Additionally, the ferry schedule modifications in the summertime months so ensure you’re coping with the right schedule when understanding your ultimate itinerary.

From what I’ve learn on the BC Ferries web site, there is no such thing as a longer a cost for a motorbike. My expertise is that you’ll at all times be the primary to load and unload. Bikes are left close to the entrance of the ferry, and you’ll be directed by a BC Ferries worker on the place to place them. Fares for folks differ relying on the space travelled. There might be restricted services on smaller ferries like those crusing to Saturna – suppose loos and seating however no meals or present retailers.

Notice that there are not any banks on the island. Most institutions settle for credit score and debit playing cards it will be prudent to deliver additional money with you as there is just one ATM on the pub in Lyall Harbour.

Saturna Island map
Saturna Island map

Biking the Gulf Islands – Saturna Island prompt route

You gained’t be capable of get away from the hills on Saturna Island BUT nearly all of the trip out to East Level might be flat to softly rolling.

Whenever you get off the ferry proceed up the hill on East Level Highway till you come to the junction with Narvaez Highway. Take into account selecting up picnic provides on the Saturna Normal Retailer which you gained’t be capable of miss. There are not any different providers after this spot.

Proceed on East Level Highway by taking a left on the junction. After a brief descent you’ve gotten a reasonably giant hill to take care of however as soon as over that it’s clear crusing till you head again from whence you got here. After a complete of roughly 5 km from the ferry you attain a T-junction. Should you head left for nearly a kilometre, you’ll attain Winter Cove which is a scenic spot and a pleasant place for a brief break. Bogs and picnic tables can be found right here.

Retrace your steps to the T-Junction and proceed straight alongside East Level Highway the place it will definitely turns into Tumbo Channel Highway, about 9 km from the T-Junction. You will see that your self driving alongside the ocean and below large arbutus bushes, a pleasing change from the closely treed roads of the opposite islands. Tumbo Channel Highway ends on the Gulf Islands Nationwide Park Protect.

Lock your bike up and head out for a brief meandering stroll via paths of mown grasses till you get to the ocean.  Should you deliberate forward and introduced binoculars, you could be rewarded with whale sightings. Seize a picnic spot and benefit from the view. Should you use your cellphones round right here, beware. It’s possible you’ll be paying for roaming prices as you might be selecting up the cell tower on Orcas Island down within the US.

If you’re planning to spend simply the day on Saturna then you could have to regulate your watch and permit sufficient time to retrace your route again to the ferry. A cease for a chilly drink on the Normal Retailer or on the Lighthouse Pub by the ferry terminal can kill any additional time.

If you’re feeling energetic, do the very steep trip up and all the way down to the place Saturna Island Vineyard was. Choose up the filth street (Harris Highway) immediately throughout from the Normal Retailer. You start climbing straight away and for the primary half kilometre or so you have to hold an eye fixed out for vans. After the truck turnoff it will get even steeper for a brief distance. There is no such thing as a disgrace in strolling your bike!!! You’ll high out by Cash Lake. 

Warning: Beware of untamed turkeys. One huge, stunning turkey approached me and I bought off my bike to take his image. He had me dancing round my bike utilizing my bike as a protect to keep away from being pecked. As soon as I lastly bought shifting once more it nonetheless had the nerve to chase me all the best way up the hill. I’m very glad nobody was wanting!!

Cycling the Gulf Islands and enjoying beautiful views at the end of the Tumbo Channel Road
Lovely views on the finish of the Tumbo Channel Highway
Little pocket beaches along the road when you cycle Saturna Island
Little pocket seashores alongside the street whenever you cycle Saturna Island
There are vineyards on Saturna Island
There are vineyards on Saturna Island
There are some good hills on part of Saturna Island
There are some good hills on a part of Saturna Island

The place to remain on Saturna

Should you plan to spend the evening on Saturna there’s one lodge – although presently (April 2022) nonetheless closed due to COVID and a number of other B&B’s. My advice could be one in all these two;

Saturna Lodge at 130 Payne Highway. The lodge is a couple of 5-minute bike trip from the ferry and nicely signed so that you gained’t miss it. It’s owned and run by a pleasant couple and the lodging is comfy and clear however not as luxurious as you would possibly discover on the opposite islands. 

Lyall Harbour Mattress & Breakfast at 121 East Level Highway is another choice. This B&B is simply up the street from the ferry and enjoys very fairly views. 

It's easy to find Lyall Harbour Bed & Breakfast
It’s straightforward to search out Lyall Harbour Mattress & Breakfast

The place to eat on Saturna Island 

Within the low season there’s virtually no alternative for restaurant meals and for those who plan to remain someplace ask if they provide dinner forward of time. On the very least from Might to October these eating places ought to be open.

Saturna Café at 101 Narvaez Bay Highway. This small, licensed café is hooked up to the final retailer and presents indoor/out of doors eating and picnic fare. There are themed dinners on sure nights. The environment is informal.

Saturna Lighthouse Pub claims to be the house of one of the best patio within the Gulf Islands. It’s near the Lyall Harbour ferry terminal. BC beer and wine is out there plus all the same old pub meals with a waterfront setting.

Different actions on Saturna Island

Saturna Island offers some beautiful kayaking of the bays and channels between Boot and Winter Coves and alongside the fantastically attention-grabbing sandstone formations.

There are straightforward walks and hikes at East Level, Winter Cove and by Narvaez Bay. There may be additionally a hike with a panoramic view starting on the summit of Mount Warburton Pike. The trailhead for Brown Ridge is right here and can take you to Taylor Level.

Should you like poking in artists studios, you will see that a number of to go to on the island.

Pass a Jack Campbell studio sign
Go a Jack Campbell studio signal

Galiano Island

Galiano Island is the primary island you come to when crusing from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. It’s the second largest Gulf Island and is residence to roughly 1400 folks, a lot of whom have an inventive bent.

I used to be shocked at how robust the biking was on the island particularly with a completely loaded bike. There may be hardly ever a stage part of street and sadly the extra attention-grabbing driving is on the reverse finish of the island from the place the ferry berths. Luckily, there’s nice mountain climbing and there are a variety of seashore entry factors simply gained by bikes. Wonderful lodging and restaurant decisions (in season) can be found, and your island expertise might be additional enriched with studio and gallery visits, sea kayaking, and chook watching.

Attending to the Sturdies Bay ferry terminal on Galiano Island

BC Ferries has direct service to Galiano from Tsawwassen although on weekdays there are fewer sailings. Sailings from Swartz Bay are barely extra frequent although you could have to switch or make a cease on Mayne or Pender Islands. Sailings from Mayne are nonstop however rare whereas sailings from Pender, Saturna and Lengthy Harbour on Salt Spring Island typically require stops and/or transfers. Schedules change relying on the season, so test to be sure you are wanting on the proper dates. 

Biking the Gulf Islands – Galiano Island information

Galiano is an extended, slim island with one predominant street operating the size of the island. The biking right here is extra in regards to the train and never the views. There are many seashore entry factors accessible by bikes so a day with a picnic on a pleasant seashore is likely to be simply the factor.

Galiano Island map
Galiano Island map

Depart the ferry and take Sturdies Go Highway to the junction of Porlier Go and Georgeson Bay Roads at 2.5 km. Right here you will see that The Market – and the final spot on the street aside from at Montague Harbour to choose up picnic provides, drinks, lattes…   Take a proper onto Porlier Go Highway and keep on this street via to the top, about 25 km from The Market. There are many rolling hills and the sense at occasions that the forest is closing in on you. At in regards to the 19 km mark it will get a bit extra attention-grabbing because the views open to the ocean. Look out for the overlook which offers a pleasant spot for a break. The final 7 or 8 km present frequent views of the ocean, however the finish of the street is just not a lot to talk of – a First Nations reserve with a NO TRESPASSING signal.

Return the identical approach and for those who get pleasure from visiting artist’s studios then the exhausting to overlook Marcia DeVicque Glass Works may be very worthwhile although you’ll have to be inventive to get one in all her items residence. In the identical space is Sandra Dolph, Ceramic Artist.

5 to 6 kilometres after the studios is the intersection with Porlier Go and Clanton Roads. Bear proper after which the subsequent intersection will power a alternative. Should you head proper on the intersection onto Montague Park Highway then you’ll find yourself in Montague Harbour the place you’ll be able to hire kayaks, mopeds, scuba dive, hike, go to the seashore.

Should you head left onto Montague Highway that may take you again in the direction of the commercialized a part of the island and your lodging. The entire circuit might be round 55 km. If the day described above doesn’t curiosity you, then think about a brief bike trip to a seashore for some critical lounging.

Bike the length of Galiano Island and you will pass Marcia DeVicque Glass Works
Bike the size of Galiano Island and you’ll move Marcia DeVicque Glass Works

Seashores on Galiano Island

Seashores are most secure for swimming on the west facet of Galiano Island however the white shell seashore in Montague Harbour is the preferred spot. The seashores and their entry factors are as follows:

  • Greenwater Seashore – Attain this seashore by going to the top of Cain Highway (close to the ferry) and on the right-hand facet is a brief entry to the seashore. It’s a fashionable one with a delicate, rocky shoreline.
  • Harper Highway Seashore – Take Sturdies Bay Highway to Porlier Go Highway and switch proper on Ellis Highway which additionally goes to the golf course. Flip proper on Harper Highway and go to the top of the street. The trail to the seashore is instantly forward. It has beautiful rocky fingers.
  • Morning Seashore –Simply previous Harper Highway search for a big stone marker on the right-hand facet of Ellis Highway. Take the marked path for a five-minute stroll via a moss coated forest that ends at a stupendous white sand seashore.
  • Twiss Highway Seashore – This seashore is accessed as above off Ellis Highway. Flip proper on Linklater, proper on Harris after which there might be a cut-off for Twiss Highway. Observe it to the top and the big, sandy seashore is discovered simply left of the driveway marked ‘The Connells.’
  • Sticks Allison Seashore – Observe Sturdies Bay Highway to Porlier Go Highway. Flip proper on Galiano Method (the subsequent proper after Ellis) and left on Sticks Allison. Proceed for 0.5 km till you attain a parking space. The trail to the seashore is in entrance of the parking and can lead you all the way down to a rock slab shelf shoreline.
Morning Beach on the coast of Galiano Island
Morning Seashore on the coast of Galiano Island – Credit score: Tourism Vancouver Island/Ben Giesbrecht

Mountain climbing on Galiano Island

There are a few very good hikes on the island.

It’s a brief, straightforward stroll on high of the Bluffs with views from Energetic Go to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. To get there take Sturdies Bay Highway from the ferry and make a left on Burrill. Observe it to Bluff Highway (simply over a kilometre) after which about 2 km alongside Bluff Highway to the parking space for the trailhead. The final a part of the street is filth. It makes a pleasant bike trip too.

Mount Galiano is a brief however strenuous hike that has you peaking at 341 metres (1120 toes). As soon as on high there’s additional strolling if time permits. Views are nice for those who aren’t within the clouds. Entry this hike by persevering with on the Bluff Highway (see above) till you attain Georgeson Bay Highway. Flip left after which proper on Energetic Go Highway and search for the indicators indicating the Mt. Galiano trailhead.

Views from the Winery Method hike may have you wanting on the Sunshine Coast all the best way to Bellingham. Entry is off of Bodega Bridge Drive, about 14 km down Porlier Go Highway (measured from the intersection with Sturdies Bay Highway) on the appropriate.

The 4 km Bodega Ridge hike takes solely half-hour to get via a forested space. It will likely be a little bit of a climb to get there however on high are excellent views of Vancouver Island, the Strait of Georgia, and the Trincomali Channel. Entry is off of Cottage Method, which is the subsequent proper after Winery Method, 14.5 km down from the intersection of Sturdies Bay Highway and Porlier Go Highway.

Galiano Island sea kayaking

Kayaks might be rented, and excursions might be booked with Gulf Island Kayaks out of Montague Harbour. There may be some significantly beautiful kayaking round Parker Island, Sensible Island, and the Ballingall Islets and in case you are extra adventurous up so far as Wallace and the Secretary Islands. There ought to be loads of seals, cormorants, and eagles to see. The sandstone formations alongside the island are very scenic too.

The place to remain on Galiano Island

Galiano Oceanfront Inn and Spa has beautiful rooms with ocean views, heated rest room flooring, and properly designed gardens to observe the birds, ferries, and wildlife. 

Sticks and Stones Cottage is a self-catering choice.

Galiano Island Oceanfront Inn & Spa
Galiano Island Oceanfront Inn & Spa

The place to eat on Galiano Island

There are very restricted decisions within the off season for eating with the Hummingbird Pub and Household Restaurant being one of many few constant choices. There may be extra alternative on weekends however test together with your lodging forward of time to see what they’d recommend, significantly in case your go to is within the late fall, winter, or early spring. In any other case, you is likely to be consuming gasoline station fare.

Pender Island

Pender is made up of two islands – North and South Pender that had been related at one level and had been rejoined by a one lane bridge in 1956. South Pender Island is the extra rural whereas North Pender Island homes extra of the islands 2250 inhabitants and providers. There are many quiet again roads to discover by bike and as soon as once more no scarcity of hills to take care of.

Attending to the Otter Bay ferry terminal on Pender Island

There is no such thing as a direct ferry service from Tsawwassen although there are direct ferries from Swartz Bay. There may be ferry service from Pender Island to Lengthy Harbour on Salt Spring Island. Sailings from Galiano Island virtually at all times require a brief cease on Mayne Island. There are direct ferries from Pender Island to Saturna Island. The underside line – organizing a visit to Pender Island requires some advance planning to take advantage of your keep!

Pender Island map
Pender Island map

Biking the Gulf Islands – Pender Island information

There may be much less of a way of the bushes closing in on you on Pender Island attributable to extra farmland, orchards, and improvement. There are many roads one might discover however this route description will get you to Hope Bay and the most important business space on North Pender and can take you to Poets Cove and Resort on South Pender Island.

After exiting the ferry, cycle up the street till you come to the primary intersection. Make a left on Otter Bay Highway, lower than 1 km from the ferry and head down previous the golf course till you come to the intersection with Port Washington Highway. That might be about 1.5 km. Go proper on Port Washington and benefit from the flat quiet cycle previous the vintage and nation retailer. After virtually 4 km you’ll come to a different intersection and for those who head left you’ll rapidly arrive at Hope Bay.

Hope Bay is a picturesque spot to seize some lunch. After lunch head again up the identical street and take the primary proper for a matter of about 200 m. Then head left on Bedwell Harbour Highway. Observe it and in slightly below 4 km you’ll attain the Driftwood Heart, the primary business space on Pender Island with grocery and liquor shops, banks, and eating places.

From the Driftwood Heart head left on Bedwell Harbour Highway. It turns into Canal Highway in roughly half a kilometre. Observe it alongside for 3 km to the one lane bridge which takes you to South Pender Island. In roughly 5 km you’ll attain the intersection with Spalding Highway. Flip proper onto Spalding and head one other few kilometres to the intersection with Gowlland Level Highway. Make a proper and in 200 m you’ll arrive at Poets Cove Resort and Spa. This can be a luxurious resort on the water and makes for a wonderful vacation spot. 

Pender Island Lodging

There’s a broad alternative of lodging together with many B&B’s, trip leases (which typically imply longer stays and your personal cooking so not as applicable) resorts and inns.

Pender Island Eating places

There are various eating places to select from although like the opposite Gulf Islands they’ve lowered openings within the off season. Weekends are at all times a greater wager than weekdays too. Listed beneath are many of the accessible choices.

Pender Island Farmer’s Market

From Might till December a farmer’s market is held on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings on the Group Centre at 4418 Bedwell Harbour Highway. There may be an assortment of crops, baked items, jams and organically grown produce in addition to regionally crafted gadgets like soaps and a few garments. 

Kayaking from Pender Island

The waters are typically calm across the Pender Islands making it an excellent place for kayaking. Two-hour, three hour and full day guided excursions might be organized via Pender Island Kayak Adventures situated at Port Browning Marina.

Kayaking from Pender Island - Credit: Destination BC/Reuben Krabbe
Kayaking from Pender Island – Credit score: Vacation spot BC/Reuben Krabbe

Go for a hike on Pender Island

There’s a path to the summit of Mount Norman, the best level on the island at 244 m (800 toes) above sea stage. It’s accessed off Ainslie Level Highway, which is a direct proper off Canal Highway as you cross the bridge to South Pender Island. The stroll is steep at occasions however nonetheless shouldn’t take longer than half-hour. You might be rewarded on the summit with views to the Olympic Mountains in Washington.

Go to artists studios and galleries

There are quite a few studios and galleries to go to across the island. A pamphlet with a map detailing all the knowledge might be discovered on the Driftwood Heart Chamber of Commerce data sales space. Some are open every day and a few by appointment solely. Take a look at the Pender Island itemizing of artwork, theatre, and galleries.

Mayne Island

Mayne Island is situated midway between Victoria and Vancouver and as such was a resting level for lots of and even hundreds of prospectors as they rowed their approach throughout to the mainland and the gold rush of 1858. From there it turned a trendy place within the early 1900’s to have a trip place and that continues to today.

It’s a small island with solely 1070 inhabitants however for its dimension it has a pleasant number of providers, retailers, galleries, studios, and all ranges of lodging. There’s a day’s value of biking to do and although there are hills, they’re not as giant as many on the opposite Gulf Islands.

Attending to the Village Bay ferry terminal on Mayne Island

Bes certain to test ferry schedules earlier than heading to Mayne Island. Depend on a cease or switch to get right here. Ferries from Tsawwassen invariably cease on Galiano Island earlier than persevering with to Mayne. It takes simply over 1.5 hours from Vancouver to achieve Mayne Island. Ferries from Swartz Bay even have a cease on Galiano, Pender or Saturna on the best way to Mayne. There are nonstop ferries between Galiano, Saturna and Pender and Mayne and a few of them take solely 25 minutes to make the crossing. The crossing from Lengthy Harbour on Salt Spring Island is sort of at all times by way of Pender. 

Mayne Island map
Mayne Island map

Biking the Gulf Islands – Mayne Island information

A cycle across the island might be a comparatively straightforward 30 km loop. You can do it in a day and catch a late afternoon ferry to a different island or take your time and spend the evening so you’ll be able to benefit from the native mountain climbing and kayaking.

After disembarking from the ferry, head left on Village Bay Highway and proceed till you get to the Miners Bay space only a few kilometres away. Right here you’ll be able to seize lunch fixings from the Sunny Mayne Bakery Cafe, go to the Mayne Island farmers market in case your go to is timed to coincide with a Saturday morning between July and October or sit on the oceanside deck of the Springwater Lodge. From the decks you’ll be able to watch the boat and ferry visitors and savour the view.

Proceed alongside the water on Georgina Level Highway for 3 km to the very finish. Georgina Level Lighthouse and park has picnic tables so this might make a scenic lunch spot – although the truth is you actually will solely have carried out a couple of third of the biking at this level! After your cease, head again a brief distance till you attain Waugh Highway. Make a left and comply with it for two km till it turns into Campbell Bay Highway. After one other 2 km make a left onto Fernhill Highway after which simply earlier than you attain Montrose in your proper there might be a buying space with attention-grabbing galleries and an awesome little restaurant.

In case you have time you might proceed alongside Fernhill Highway and after a couple of kilometre it turns into Bennett Bay Highway. Take it to the top and because it bends to your left you’ll enter the Gulf Islands Nationwide Park Reserve. Right here you might go away your bikes and head for a brief hike in the direction of Campbell Level. There are glorious views and shoreline entry.

Retrace your steps to the junction of Fernhill Highway and Gallagher Bay Highway. Make a left onto Gallagher Bay Highway after which a left once more in lower than a kilometre onto Horton Bay Highway. Steward Highway off to the left will take you to a different seashore entry level or you might proceed as an alternative on Horton Bay Highway and make a proper on Beechwood. There’s a quick hike down off of Beechwood to the shoreline and views over Plumper Sound. Plan on biking about 4 km to achieve the seashore on the finish of Horton Bay Highway.

After you’ve gotten completed admiring the views make your approach again up Horton Bay Highway to the intersection with Gallagher Bay Highway. Go left and comply with alongside for 1.5 km at which level the street turns into Marine Drive after which Mariners Method. A really helpful facet journey is a go to to the Japanese backyard which is on the appropriate as you head down Dinner Bay Highway.

Should you plan to move to a different island, then retrace your steps alongside Dinner Bay Highway till it reaches the junction of Dalton Highway and Mariners Method. Go left onto Dalton Highway and in lower than 2 km you’ll be again on the ferry terminal and your circumnavigation might be full.

The place to remain on Mayne Island

There’s a mixture of lodge rooms and B&B prospects on the island. 

Take a look at the Mayne Island Resort – boasting oceanfront views. Different choices would come with Airbnb’s or cottages.

The place to eat on Mayne Island

  • Bennett Bay Bistro at Mayne Island Resort presents salads, burgers and many Ocean Sensible seafood.
  • Springwater Lodge has an awesome location overlooking Energetic Go so there’s a lot to maintain the attention busy whilst you munch on first rate pub fare. Open for lunch and dinner.
  • Sunny Mayne Bakery Cafe at 472 Village Bay Highway is a superb little place to choose up your latte and a pastry for breakfast and soup or pizza for lunch.

Sea Kayaking from Mayne Island

The waters round Mayne Island are more difficult than round most of the different Gulf islands. The Energetic Go space is just not really helpful for kayaking except you’re very skilled and also you time it with slack tide.

The opposite facet of the island is a safer wager and there’s loads of poking round to do. Nonetheless if I used to be solely planning to kayak on a number of of the Gulf Islands, I’d not select Mayne. As an alternative I’d choose Galiano, Pender or Saturna for extra attention-grabbing surroundings and wildlife prospects. 

Mountain climbing on Mayne Island

The one hike of substance to do is a straightforward hike alongside a woodland path to the best viewpoint on Mayne Island – Mount Parke. The round-trip hike wants solely an hour however extra for those who simply wish to benefit from the views from the highest. Entry is simply off of Fernhill Highway, and will probably be signed.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island is the most important island by way of space and inhabitants. It has an awesome deal to supply outdoors of a big quantity of very hilly biking. Many freshwater lakes present nice summer season swimming and there are dozens of mountain climbing trails starting from straightforward to very strenuous. Kayaking is out there at a number of areas across the island. There may be an intensive self-guided studio tour accessible showcasing native artists all through the island. 

The culinary options of the island are nicely represented by artisanal cheese retailers, wine tastings at native vineyards, quite a few eating places, and a really nicely attended Saturday Farmer’s market.

You can simply spend the higher a part of per week on Salt Spring relying on how a lot exploring you needed to do. There may be a variety of lodging from tenting via to the very luxurious and costly Hastings Home. Two nights will provide you with an excellent sense of the island and assist meet the minimal keep necessities of so many locations.

A number of days might be spent exploring the island and with prior planning it’s straightforward to go away for one of many different islands from Lengthy Harbour. Journeys again to Vancouver Island and the Cowichan Valley space are an choice for those who go away by means of Vesuvius. 

Attending to Salt Spring Island by way of Fulford Harbour, Lengthy Harbour or Vesuvius Ferry Terminals

There are three ferry terminals on Salt Spring Island which makes it a really accessible Gulf Island. Fulford Harbour is within the south with ferries coming from Swartz Bay. Vesuvius lies to the west with ferries coming from Crofton on Vancouver Island. Lengthy Harbour is within the northeast a part of the island and has ferries immediately from Tsawwassen. There are a number of departures a day from Swartz Bay to Fulford Harbour, a brief 35-minute crusing, so it’s a very handy entrance level. It deposits you on the predominant street resulting in Ganges.

Salt Spring Island map
Salt Spring Island map

Biking the Gulf Islands – Salt Spring Island

Two days of biking the roads of Salt Spring will let you expertise many of the island highlights. Further days will provide you with the time to do extra strenuous rides such because the climb of Mt. Maxwell or biking throughout Hope Hill to Musgrave Level. They may additionally allow quick, leisurely rides to seashores or vineyards for wine tasting.

The prompt itinerary assumes that you’ll start in Lengthy Harbour. If that’s the case you’ll have time to do the northern loop, spend the evening in Ganges and proceed on a big portion of the southern loop on the best way to Fulford Harbour the subsequent day.

A extra relaxed tempo will let you poke about artist’s studios, pattern wine, picnic on the seashore and usually do all the things with out feeling a way of time panic. A keep within the neighborhood of Ganges is the best factor to do, particularly if that is an unsupported journey, because the proximity to eating places and retailers may be very useful on the finish of the day.

The 2 loops might be carried out on both day with the most important constraint being time, which ferry terminal you arrived at, which ferry terminal you intend to depart from, and which studios, wineries or retailers are open to go to. There are additionally choices to shorten the loops.

Boats off the coast of Salt Spring Island
Boats off the coast of Salt Spring Island – credit score: Vacation spot BC/Reuben Krabbe

Biking the Gulf Islands – north loop on Salt Spring Island – 30-35 km 

Depart the Lengthy Harbour ferry terminal and cycle about 4 km alongside gently rolling hills till you attain the primary intersection with the Fulford Ganges Highway. There are artists on the studio tour earlier than you even attain the intersection so think about forward of time what studio you would possibly wish to go to. 

On the finish of Lengthy Harbour Highway, you’ll have the choice of biking the northern loop of the island in both path; regardless, you’ll be in for some quick however very steep hills. Should you head proper on the intersection onto Robinson Highway you’ll keep away from retracing your steps.

5 to 6 km of hilly biking alongside Robinson Highway which ultimately turns into Walker’s Hook Highway will put you on the Fernwood Wharf. Once more, there are artwork studios alongside this part of street so hold an eye fixed out for the sheep signal indicating a studio. Throughout from the Fernwood Wharf the Fernwood Highway Cafe offers a well timed spot for a chunk to eat.

Persevering with alongside the water on what’s now known as North Seashore Highway you’ll be able to get pleasure from about 4 km of largely flat biking with fairly ocean surroundings off to your fast proper. On the finish of North Seashore Highway, a climb up a brief however very steep hill places you on North Finish Highway. Should you turned left, you might cycle alongside St. Mary’s Lake and in roughly 9 km you’ll arrive in Ganges.

As an alternative, head proper on North Finish Highway. In lower than a kilometre there’s a very worthwhile facet journey to go to the Blue Horse People Artwork Gallery. Take a left onto Northview, a dust street and search for the signed studio. Their specialty is animal sculpture, stunning horses in bronze, raku, lamps they usually make and market their very own darkish chocolate- in case you’re hungry. 

Head again to North Finish Highway, flip left and comply with it because it bends across the high of the island to change into Sundown Drive.  Proceed up and down for about 5 km on this very hilly and slim part of street till you attain the intersection with Vesuvius Bay Highway. This can be a beautiful pastoral part of street and close to the highest of the island is the apparent Sundown Farm the place you’ll be able to refill on sheepskins and lamb’s wool gadgets. There is no such thing as a scarcity of baaing to be heard right here both.

A worthwhile facet journey in case you have time to spare is to take a proper off North Finish Highway onto Southey Level Highway. A couple of kilometre down the street on the finish is a small rock seashore with views of the Trincomali Channel. A good higher picnic spot is the seashore accessed by a 45-minute stroll off Southey Level Highway on Southey Level Path (additionally named Jack Foster Path). The path is accessed inside a number of hundred metres of turning onto Southey Level Highway in your proper. On a scorching summer season day, it’s even heat sufficient for swimming so pack a picnic, benefit from the view, the birds and the attention-grabbing rock formations.

Whenever you attain the intersection with Vesuvius Bay Highway, flip left to proceed in the direction of Ganges. Turning proper would put you on the Vesuvius Ferry terminal and into the hamlet of Vesuvius Bay. You should purchase refreshments on the Vesuvius Cafe, take a look at the native gallery and go to artists on the studio tour within the fast space. 

To get again to your circle tour, proceed on Vesuvius Bay Highway for roughly 3 km from the intersection with Sundown Drive. For a quieter cycle make a right onto Decrease Ganges Highway after which proper once more onto Canal Highway. The gap from Vesuvius Bay Highway is about 1.5 km. Make a left onto Rainbow Highway and trip the three km into Ganges and your lodging for the evening.

Stop in at Sunset Farm
Cease in at Sundown Farm

Southern Salt Spring Island bike loop – about 50 km

Depart Ganges and start the climb up the Fulford-Ganges Highway till you attain Beddis Highway, solely a couple of kilometre away. Take a left and cycle the Beddis Highway all the best way to the stunning white clamshell Beddis Seashore on the finish, about 7 km.

To proceed biking the Gulf Islands, retrace your steps and head again up the hill till you attain Cusheon Lake Highway. Flip left after which left once more a number of hundred metres later onto Stewart Highway. An enormous climb will heat you up and provide distant views to the peaks on the mainland. One other few kilometres and a pleasant downhill will lead you to Beaver Level Highway. Flip left and for those who entertain concepts of a picnic lunch at Ruckle Provincial Park then make Salt Spring Island Cheese your subsequent cease.

To do that take the subsequent onto Reynolds Highway and search for the sheep signal a couple of kilometre down the street in your left. You possibly can park your bike and wander across the backyard and farm. Properly positioned home windows enable viewing of the operation and as soon as contained in the store you’ll be able to pattern the cheeses, olives, and fruit pates. 

After buying picnic provides retrace your steps to the intersection with Beaver Level Highway. Flip proper and proceed till you attain Ruckle Provincial Park, a distance of about 7 km. Nonetheless, you could want to think about yet one more detour for those who haven’t purchased bread and also you’re visiting in the summertime months. The Salt Spring Island Bread Co. is a well-liked vacation spot for natural, artisan bread baked in a wooden fired oven.  

Head again to Beaver Level Highway, flip proper and cycle via a beautiful open space that’s residence to a working farm. On the finish of the street search for both picnic tables or head all the way down to the rocky seashore and savour the view. Ruckle Provincial Park presents 7 km of shoreline trails so after lunch you might at all times lock up your bike (simply to be secure) and do some exploring.

To return to Ganges head again alongside Beaver Level Highway and keep on it till it meets the Fulford-Ganges Highway, about 9 km away. If you’re heading for the Fulford ferry, then flip left and cycle down the street half a kilometre.

Fulford Harbour is a small hamlet with a number of retailers and superb cafes so even for those who aren’t catching the ferry, you would possibly get pleasure from a fast tour of the realm. Additionally, within the summertime you’ll be able to hire sea kayaks proper on the dock by the Fulford Ferry and head out for a number of hours. On a pleasant day this is usually a great spot to observe the comings and goings of the folks that make up the eclectic inhabitants that decision Salt Spring Island residence.

Should you elect to not go to Fulford Harbour, then make a proper on the intersection of Beaver Level and Fulford-Ganges Roads. This street is way busier than those you’ve gotten cycled on to date. The shoulders are slim so train excessive warning. If a ferry has simply unloaded, it will be smart to let the automobiles move earlier than persevering with in your approach.

The upside is that the hills are gentler and there are wineries to go to on the best way again. Should you don’t cease on the wineries, then a straight cycle via to Ganges will add about 15 km to your odometer making the full mileage for the day within the vary of fifty km.

Each wineries are simply accessed 5.5 km up the street from Fulford Harbour. The primary one is the Garry Oaks Property Vineyard which doesn’t normally open its doorways till someday in Might. Salt Spring Vineyards are an extra half kilometre up the street. Strive the blackberry port from Salt Spring Vineyards for one thing a little bit totally different!

Hop again in your bikes and in half an hour or so you need to be again in Ganges…except you’ve gotten vitality to burn through which case cycle 9 km up Mount Maxwell on {a partially} filth street and high out at 588 m, the best level on Salt Spring Island. The turnoff is about 2 km outdoors of Ganges. Take a left on Cranberry Highway and comply with it to the highest. That ought to end all however the hardiest of souls off for the day.

A vineyard stop on Salt Spring Island
A winery cease on Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island cheese
Salt Spring Island cheese
Walking in the vineyard at Garry Oaks Vineyard & Winery on Salt Spring Island
Strolling within the winery at Garry Oaks Winery & Vineyard on Salt Spring Island – Credit score: Vacation spot BC/Andrea Johnson

The place to remain on Salt Spring Island

There may be one luxurious and very dear inn on the island and lots of B&B’s operating the total gamut on the standard scale. Staying near Ganges on an unsupported bike tour will make mealtimes a lot simpler. There are some beautiful B&B’s however rely on both biking to your meal or utilizing a taxi which outdoors of the fast Ganges space is an costly different.

  • Hastings Nation Home Resort is an opulent resort that makes it into the e book “1000 Greatest Locations to See Earlier than you Die”. You’ll simply want the cash to remain the evening. Strolling distance to the city of Ganges.
  • Salt Spring Inn has seven rooms, some with shared loos.
  • Wisteria Visitor Home is only a quick stroll away from Ganges.

Salt Spring Island Eating places

There are a bunch of consuming decisions starting from pub kind meals to Chinese language, Mexican, Italian, wonderful eating, informal eating, and all the things in between. 

  • Barb’s Bakery & Bistro – 121 McPhillips Avenue in Ganges. Nice baked items particularly their cinnamon rolls.
  • Tree Home Cafe in Ganges presents mild meals outside below a tree. Good atmosphere.
  • Home Piccolo in Ganges. European model menu with west coast influences. Pricier.
  • Rock Salt Restaurant & Cafe – Steps from the ferry in Fulford Harbour. There’s a café hooked up to the casual however fairly priced restaurant.
  • Salt Spring Inn – a restaurant just a few blocks from the center of Ganges. Serves nicely priced pasta, pizza, burgers and seafood.
The Tree House Cafe in Ganges
The Tree Home Cafe in Ganges – Credit score: Vacation spot BC/Lyndsey Eden

Salt Spring Island Kayaking

There are various firms providing kayak instruction and excursions on an hourly, half day and full day foundation.

Salt Spring Island Seashores

There are many seashores scattered across the island. Only a smattering of the higher ones are included right here.

  • The seashore on the finish north finish of the Jack Foster Path is a 45-minute stroll on a path off Southey Level Highway on the north finish of the island. The path takes you to a combined gravel-sand seashore with good views of the Trincomali Channel
  • Beddis Seashore on the finish of Beddis Highway is a stupendous white crushed shell seashore however swimming might be chilly. It’s on the east facet of the island.
  • Ruckle Provincial Park is on the southeast finish of the island and though there isn’t any sand, the beachcombing over boulders and flat rocks is superb.
  • Fernwood Level is a superb seashore throughout the summer season and is discovered to the left of the Authorities Wharf on the intersection of North Seashore Highway and Walker’s Hook Highway within the northern a part of the island. You possibly can stroll out alongside sandy mudflats however watch out for dwell (that are black) sand {dollars}. There are nice tidal swimming pools to discover too.

Mountain climbing on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island has an enormous vary of mountain climbing alternatives from straightforward to very strenuous and troublesome. A number of strategies are included beneath.

  • Mount Maxwell hike – About 9 km up a largely filth street, which is accessed off Cranberry Highway, are 6 km of maintained trails together with a ridge stroll and a path to Baynes Peak with splendid views. In dangerous climate the street might be poor.
  • There’s a quick steep path accessed off Collins Highway to Mount Erskine. From Ganges take Rainbow Highway and on the finish of it head left onto Collins. Proceed down Collins Highway and search for a purple path marker on the left facet of the street throughout from giant arbutus bushes. The path might be signed. Excellent views reward this strenuous hike.
  • There are 7 km of shoreline trails to discover in Ruckle Provincial Park with tiny coves and rocky headlands. Attention-grabbing tide swimming pools can hold you entertained for hours.
Hiking up Mt. Maxwell on Salt Spring Island
Mountain climbing up Mt. Maxwell on Salt Spring Island – Credit score: Vacation spot BC/Reuben Krabbe

Biking the Gulf Islands with tour firms

Not enthusiastic about organizing your personal biking the Gulf Islands tour. There are a number of tour firms who can deal with all of the reservations and detailed planning. They’d additionally be capable of transfer your baggage making your bike that a lot lighter. 

Additional studying on biking in Canada

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A complete guide to cycling the Gulf Islands in BC



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