- Difficulty Easy
- Time 2 hours
- Round-Trip 9km
- Elevation Gain minimal
- Season year-round
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 45 minutes to Ferry
- Public Transit Yes
- Dog Friendly Yes
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.