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Mount Gardner Hike on BOWEN ISLAND, BC

Mount Gardner on Bowen Island, BC has over 21 km of hiking trails with views of downtown Vancouver, UBC, Mt. Baker, the Sunshine Coast, and Howe Sound. How could you possibly pass it up?

Interested in experiencing something more than “The Classic” hike to the north summit?

Check out the Complete Guide to Hiking Mount Gardner

This PDF guide outlines 12 featured hiking routes that will guide you to different areas of Mount Gardner.

Distance: 8.3 km out and back

There are many ways to hike Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island.

"The Classic" is mostly an out and back to the north summit (with views) with a small loop through the south summit (as an option).

"The Classic" is 8.3 km return from the Hiker's Road Trailhead

Difficulty: Moderate

Conditions to expect:

  • steep slopes
  • roots and rocks
  • wet sections (depending on the season)
  • cobble
  • bedrock
  • old road beds
  • single track
Time: 4-5 hrs return

It is an approximately 4-5 hour round trip from the Hiker's Road trail head to the north summit of Mt. Gardner.

Tack on some extra time if you plan to hang out and soak up the views.

Elevation Change: 595 m

The overall elevation change (from lowest point to highest point) is approximately 595m

The elevation gain (one way) (the cumulative ups and downs over the course of the trail) is approximately 739 m

The maximum slope you will encounter is approximately 56%.

The average slope is about 16%.

High Point: 728 m

The high point is the south summit at 728 (if you decide to do the trail that takes you through the south summit).

If you just decide to go out and back along the Skid Trail and avoid the south summit (no view there) the highest point is the north summit at 720m

Season: Year Round

This trail is typically accessible from year round. 

However if you have snow in Vancouver, there will likely be snow on Gardner.

Other notes

Dogs

  • are permitted on leash.

Camping

  • Camping is not permitted on Mount Gardner

Topographical Map

  • North Vancouver 92G/6

Trail Head Coordinates

  • UTM NAD83 473506E / 5470940N

Radio Towers and Helipads

  • FYI there are radio towers and helipads at the summit of Mt. Gardner. Concentrate on the view and not the towers and you'll be ok 🙂

Mount Gardner Hike Map "The Classic" Route

Download this free map

Mount Gardner Hike - The Classic

"The Classic" Mount Gardner Hike

on Google Maps (click image below)

Mount Gardner Hiking Map

Mount Gardner Hike - The Classic Route to the North Summit.

If you’re looking for an outstanding day trip from Vancouver that includes a ferry ride and breathtaking views of Howe Sound, then a visit to Bowen Island should be at the top of your list.

If you’re up for it while you’re there, an invigorating hike up to the summit of Mount Gardner on a clear day offers stunning views of Howe Sound, Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver, Downtown Vancouver, UBC, Burrard Inlet and Mount Baker.

While some hikers may be familiar with ‘The Classic’ popular route to the north summit, many don’t realize that Mount Gardner has over 21 kilometres of hiking trails.

This post focuses one of the more popular routes to the summit. We call it "The Classic".

Learn more about different ways to take on Mount Gardner here.

"The Classic" hike statistics

  • Distance - 8.3 km
  • Difficulty - Moderate
  • Time needed - 4-5 hours return
  • Trailhead - Hiker's Road (more on this below)
  • Elevation change - 595 m
  • Elevation gain/loss - 739 m
  • High point - 728 m
  • Max slope - 56%
  • Average slope - 17%

Getting There

A short 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver will bring you to Snug Cove on Bowen Island.

BC Ferries has regularly scheduled runs to Bowen so check the BC Ferries website for the latest schedule.

The trailhead for this hike is on Hiker's Road (Note: Google Maps shows this road to be Bowen Pit Road, but the sign on the road indicates that the road is Hiker's Trail Rd. See the Directions Tab for more details.

Find driving directions to the trailhead here.

What you can expect on the trail

Expect to encounter steep, rooty and rocky sections.

The route is predominantly single track with a stretch of gravel road thrown in at the beginning.

You may encounter wet areas at certain times of year.

The trail can be busy in the summer, but nothing compared to the craziness you see at other popular hikes on the North Shore and Sea to Sky areas.

You can expect that the signage on this route may be confusing. Many of the online comments relating to hiking Mount Gardner express confusion surrounding trail names, signage and trail markings.

For the most part, this particular route is well marked with new orange diamond markers nailed to trees at reasonably regular spacing.

Keep an eye out for these as you head to the summit. If you loose sight of the diamonds, you may want to retrace your steps until you see them again.

If you decide to do the alternate route (either up or down) that takes you through the south summit, the markings are less obvious but the trail is relatively easy to make out.

While the trail is well marked, the trail signs themselves may still cause some confusion as the posted trail names don't always correspond with many of the maps that are in use.

We don’t know for sure what the official names of Mount Gardner trails are, (if the trail names are, in fact, solidly determined).

What we do know, is that we have, to the best of our abilities, used trail names in our guides and maps that best match the actual signage that you will see on the trails.

Highlights you’ll remember

Peaceful forested trails

On a clear day the north summit offers spectacular views of Howe Sound, Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver, Downtown Vancouver, UBC, Burrard Inlet and Mount Baker.

 

Directions to Mt. Gardner Trailhead

(Hiker's Trail Road)

The trailhead for this hike is pretty easy to get to from Snug Cove (where the ferry terminal is). It is an easy 5 minute drive. See the map below for directions.

You can also get to within a bout a 10 minute walk to the trailhead by taking Bowen Community Transit.

A popular way to get to the trailhead, however is on foot or by bike via the trails through Crippen Park. Accessing the trailhead this way adds an extra 3.6km one way onto the hike. See the map below for directions

 

Click map below to see driving directions in Google Maps

Driving Directions to Hiker's Road Trailhead

 

 

See the map below for walking or biking directions via the trails in Crippen Park

 

Hiker's Road Trailhead

More from Outdoor Therapy

The Complete Guide to Hiking Mount Gardner on Bowen Island, BC

Mount Gardner Hike - At a Glance

Mount Gardner on Bowen Island, BC has over 21 km of hiking trails with views of downtown Vancouver, UBC, Mt. Baker, the Sunshine Coast, and Howe Sound.

Basic Hike Stats

8.3 km round trip
moderate difficulty
4-5 hours
595 m elevation change

What to Expect

steep slopes
rooty, rocky sections
mostly single track
spectacular views

Trailhead

HIKERS TRAIL ROAD
See "Directions" Tab above

Link to google map directions here

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Disclaimer:  All information presented on this website is for informational purposes only. Outdoor Therapy does not bear any liability for the information presented here. All outdoor activities involve a certain element of risk and weather, and other forces may change trail routing and/or other conditions. The information presented here is meant to serve as a guide only. It is the ultimate and sole responsibility of the user of this information to determine which activities are appropriate to her skills and fitness levels and it is the ultimate and sole responsibility of the user to be aware of changes and hazards that may have occurred since the posting of the material.