There are hundreds of islands scattered between British Columbia’s mainland and Vancouver Island. With easy ferry access from Vancouver and Victoria, Galiano Island, Salt Spring Island, Mayne Island, Pender Island, and Saturna Island in the Southern Gulf Islands are the most popular.
The islands have rolling, forested terrain with low, rocky summits that provide great views. The shoreline provides endless variation with sculpted sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches, and pebbled coves. Provincial, regional, and national parks are sprinkled throughout the islands.
Each island has its own personality. Salt Spring is the largest and most populated, home to the bustling town of Ganges and popular Ruckle Provincial Park. This is also the most mountainous island, with several summits to climb.
Pender Island is actually two islands (North Pender and South Pender), connected by a narrow bridge. Most of the locals live on North Pender, but you’ll find hiking trails and sections of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve on both islands.
On long and narrow Galiano Island, hikers can explore waterfront Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Parks or enjoy the views from Bodega Ridge Provincial Park. But the island’s signature trail is the summit of 314 m-tall Mount Galiano.
Mayne Island is the smallest island with ferry service, but it has lots to offer outdoor adventurers. Explore Bennett Bay in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Hike the trails at Mount Parke Regional Park. Or discover short trails in several community parks.
Sleepy Saturna Island has the lowest population. Over half of the island is protected inside Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. East Point Regional Park juts out into Boundary Pass, making it one of the best places for land-based whale watching in BC.
Trails located in the Southern Gulf Islands region:
Beaumont Marine Park in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve on South Pender Island is a beautiful park with campsites near the beach area and views of Bedwell Harbour.Read More
Located on south Pender Island, Brooks Point Regional Park has incredible views from its rocky shoreline across Boundary Pass to the San Juan Islands in the United States.Read More
Located on Salt Spring Island, the Channel Ridge South Trail offers a scenic forested walk with slightly overgrown views of St. Mary Lake.Read More
Located on Salt Spring Island, the Chris Hatfield Trail is a scenic hiking route that passes through a lush forest to Yeo Point, offering coastal views of the Southern Gulf region.Read More
The Enchanted Forest on south Pender Island is a lush west coast rainforest with a view of a waterfall and of Bedwell Harbour.Read More
Located on Pender Island, the George Hill Trail provides hikers with incredible views of the Southern Gulf Island region from the top.Read More
Located on south Pender Island, Greenburn Lake is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and the trail loops around the forest lake.Read More
Mount Erksine Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island has several viewpoints looking west towards Vancouver Island and further north towards Penelakut Island.Read More
Mount Maxwell Provincial Park is located on Salt Spring Island and the hike from Armand Way to Baynes Peak offers scenic views as you pass through a beautiful west coast rainforest.Read More
Located on Salt Spring Island, the hike to Mount Maxwell from Burgoyne Bay passes a few viewpoints before reaching the top at Baynes Peak.Read More
Located on the east side of north Pender Island, Mount Menzies has an incredible viewpoint that looks across the water to Saturna Island.Read More
Mount Norman is located on South Pender Island and is the highest hill, with a spectacular viewpoint that overlooks Bedwell Harbour.Read More
A peaceful forested trail wrap around Roe Lake on Pender Island in the Gulf Islands National Park.Read More
Roesland is a small, scenic park located on North Pender Island and is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.Read More
Located in Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island, the short Ruckle Loop takes you to a scenic view of Swanson Channel offering beautiful Pacific Northwest coastal views.Read More