Conveniently located close to Vancouver in picturesque Howe Sound, Bowen Island (Nex̱wlélex̱m in the Squamish language) is a small and friendly community that makes you instantly feel a world away from the big city.
While compact in size, Bowen doesn’t lack for amenities. Foodies will find plenty of delicious meal options, from casual coffee shops to sophisticated Spanish tapas. Art aficionados can browse the local galleries or check out a variety of live performances. With no big box stores on-island, Bowen offers unique shopping opportunities where you can find a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
Outdoor activities are one of Bowen’s biggest draws for locals and visitors alike. Aquatic adventures abound, including kayaking and paddleboarding. Swimmable public beaches can be found all around the island. Meandering walks along the forest trails are a great way to explore on-foot. Hikers can tackle an ascent of Mount Gardner, Bowen’s tallest peak. Mountain biking, cycling, and horseback riding are other popular ways to see the sights.
Getting to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal
The #250 Horseshoe Bay and the #257 Horseshoe Bay Express buses leave from Downtown Vancouver and travel to Horseshoe Bay. If you’re coming from the Vancouver airport, you’ll need to take the SkyTrain Canada Line to Vancouver City Centre station to meet up with one of the Horseshoe Bay-bound buses. To plan your trip using public transit, visit the Translink website.
From downtown Vancouver, follow the Upper Levels Highway, 99-1, to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. You can drive your car onto the ferry, or park in the secure parking garage at Horseshoe Bay and walk on the ferry. While a car is not a necessity, it is useful for travelling around Bowen most easily.
Taking the ferry to Bowen
The Queen of Capilano ferry leaves Horseshoe Bay between 5:50am and 10:00pm (subject to change). The crossing time is 20 minutes. If you’re travelling by BC Ferries, your ticket includes a return trip. When you head back to the mainland from Bowen, line up for the ferry in the marked lane along the Bowen Island Trunk Road. To plan your ferry passage, visit the BC Ferries website.
Taking the water taxi
Cormorant Marine Water Taxi runs afternoon commuter and late night, regularly scheduled service to and from Horseshoe Bay. This is a foot passenger service only.
The water taxi service is currently postponed due to COVID-19, but they are offering private charters. To inquire, contact Cormorant Marine directly.
Getting to Kitoki Inn
Once on-island, Kitoki Inn is easily accessible by various modes of transportation. The inn is 1.5km from the ferry terminal.
Once off the ferry continue up Bowen Island Trunk Road. At the first four-way intersection (aka Four Corners), turn right on to Miller Road. At Reed Road (by Collins Hall, or the Little Red Church), turn left. We are located at the corner where Reed Road turns right and becomes Collins Road.
If arriving on foot, you can follow the same route as described above. You can also take a shorter route through Crippen Regional Park by following the Maple Trail or Alder Grove Trail from Snug Cove up to Miller Road. Turn right on Miller and follow the road until you reach the Killarney Creek Trail parking lot. Turn left and walk through the lot and on to the trail. Take the first trail on your right—Collins Trail—and follow it up a hill to its end. Kitoki Inn is located directly to your left. For a map of the Bowen Island trails, click here.
When you arrive on Bowen Island, find the Bus Stop located next to the Public Library/Gallery on Cardena Drive. You will get on the 281 (Eaglecliff) bus. Tell the driver you are getting off at Collins Hall. From Collins Hall walk west along Reed Road to the end of the block where Reed turns into Collins Road. On your left you’ll see the Kitoki Inn sign welcoming you to your destination.
You can pay for your bus fare with a Translink Compass Card, credit card or cash. Any transfer you receive from the Vancouver buses will work on Bowen Island with no extra charge.
If you are planning to bring your bike, please be aware that Bowen Island is very hilly and can be a challenging ride. To get to Kitoki Inn, please follow the car/walking directions above.