The scenic hiking trail that wraps around Killarney Lake offers the perfect reason to make a day trip to the peaceful community of Bowen Island. Just 20 minutes by ferry from Horseshoe Bay, one gets the full sense of laid-back island life.
The best option is to walk onto the ferry and either bus to Horseshoe Bay or drive and pay for day parking by the ferry terminal. Check with BC Ferries for updated sailing times.
From the Snug Cove ferry terminal on Bowen Island, walk up the road past the marina towards the shops. Here you can grab a coffee or snack before your walk to Killarney Lake. To get to the start of the trail, go right onto the first street called Cardena Drive and walk about 100 meters to a green and yellow GVRD parks sign on the left of the road. This sign marks the start to Crippen Regional Park.
Take the trail as it heads into the forest to a 4-way junction a short distance away. Go straight and continue as views of the lagoon can be seen between the trees on the right.
The trail intersects with Miller Road just beyond the fish ladders. Cross the road and continue along the path now called the Hatchery Trail. When you reach a 3-way junction, go right towards the open meadow. Continue straight through the meadow and across a wooden bridge to another 3-way junction. Go left towards a fork in the trail. Both of these trails lead to Killarney Lake, however follow the trail to the left and later return from the trail on the right.
After a few more minutes of walking, Killarney Lake becomes visible through the trees. Go left at the gravel road and a quick right onto the path. A few more steps brings you to a bench with a complete view of the lake. After taking photos and enjoying the view, continue along the trail, past the outhouses and parking area. About 10 minutes further you arrive at another viewpoint along the western shore of the lake.
Continue along the trail as it wraps around Killarney Lake, crossing several boardwalks and bridges along the route. On the north end of the lake, the trail exits onto a wooden boardwalk where dead Cedar stumps stick up from the marsh. The eerie looking stumps of Cedar trees are very strong and take decades to decay.
Continue your walk around Killarney Lake by walking back into the forest. The trail along the east side of the lake meanders through groves of Cedar and Hemlock. A short path leads to another viewpoint of the lake. Take in this view as from this point the hiking trail only offers glimpses of the lake as it wanders over and around small hills that surround the lake.
Eventually you arrive at a gravel road. Go left up the short hill and right at the gate where there is a green and yellow sign pointing the way to the ferry. Soon after, the trail rejoins the trail where you walked past earlier. At the wooden bridge, continue straight taking a slightly different route to return to Snug Cove. At Miller Road, go right and walk alongside the road for 200 meters to a creek and a trail on the left. Follow this trail as it brings you back to Cardena Drive and just a few stops up the street from the shops and ferry terminal.
How to get to Killarney Lake
Estimated Driving Time from Vancouver: 45 minutes to Ferry
Killarney Lake is located on Bowen Island, a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay. The lake is in walking distance of the ferry and therefore it's best to leave your car parked or take the bus to Horseshoe Bay.
Check the ferry schedule with BC Ferries before leaving.
To reach Horseshoe Bay, drive west on Highway #1 (Trans Canada Highway) and watch for a turnoff to the village. Park in the pay parking lot near the ferry terminal and take the scenic 20-minute ferry to Snug Cove on Bowen Island.
View a map of Driving directions to Killarney Lake.
Transit Access to Killarney Lake
From downtown Vancouver, take either bus #257 (express) or #250 to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. From here, you will take the Bowen Island ferry to Snug Cove.
Note: There is a bus on Bowen Island but it does not go by Kilarney Lake, so you will have to walk from Snug Cove.
Dogs at Killarney Lake
Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times within Crippen Regional Park and around Killarney Lake. Please pick up after your dog and dispose of all waste in designated garbage bins throughout the park.
Toilets at Killarney Lake
Washrooms are located at the Killarney Lake picnic area and the hatchery.
Other trails located in the Howe Sound region: