In addition to the summit views of the Howe Sound, this loop is made a little more adventurous by the 20 minute ferry ride to access the trailhead. This mountain is accessible year-round thanks to the ocean-warming effect and relatively and low elevation of the summit.
Fantastic food and patio options near the ferry terminal—leave yourself some time to celebrate before heading back to the mainland.
Water is scarce on this trail.
If starting on foot from the ferry there are numerous trail options that will get you to the mapped start here. Consult a trail map at: bowentrails.ca/#the-map
. I recommend accessing the trailhead via Killarney Lake for some additional time in lush, emerald forest.
From the start of the mapped route here, take the initially well-signed, wide trail upward from the trailhead parking. The climb on forestry road is slightly more gentle in grade than the return route and so reduces some of the challenge of the climb. Throughout the climb, there are numerous deprecated forks off the correct route to dead ends. Consult your GPS or use the Trail Run Project mobile app
to stay on the correct trail.
The old logging road eventually ends, and the trail turns to narrow singletrack for the final 100m of elevation. This section is flatter and more manageable than the climb so far. This well-marked trail leads to the viewpoint at the radio tower, where the wooden deck makes a great place to stop and enjoy a snack. This spot provides the best views of the day.
The true summit, in spite of being slightly higher than the radio tower viewpoint, has almost no view at all. From the viewpoint, continue heading south on marked trail down to a saddle where you'll find a junction. To access the summit, take the south fork and head up a short, adventurous section to bag the peak. The marked trail continues southward briefly before turning east and down the slope.
The return arm of the loop is predominantly on fun, smooth singletrack through whimsical west coast second growth forest. There are periodic views of the Howe Sound as you descend your hard-won elevation on switchbacks. The trail will eventually meet the old forestry road you climbed—rejoin the trail briefly until you see a singletrack trail leading east into the forest once again. Follow this trail north at the first opportunity and enjoy this final section of singletrack until it rejoins the forestry road just before the trailhead and junction with the paved road.
Return to the ferry via hitch hike or on the fantastic trail network on the north side of the road near at Killarney Lake.