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Best Hiking in the Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands located off the coast of British Columbia, is a hiker's paradise. With trails spanning multiple islands, visitors can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area while exploring diverse landscapes such as old-growth forests, rocky shorelines, and stunning viewpoints. Here are some of the best hikes in the Gulf Islands and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve that are sure to leave visitors breathless and in awe of the natural wonders that the area has to offer.


Galiano Island Trails


Galiano Island is a beautiful island located in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. It has nice beaches, forests, and outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking. The island has a small population of around 1,000 people and is known for its art galleries and local industry. Many visitors go there for a relaxing getaway.

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

  • Distance: 8.5 km

  • Elevation: 255 m

  • About The Trail: This out-and-back trail can be tough on new hikers with an elevation gain of 255m. It offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Strait of Georgia and surrounding islands. So, take your time on this well-maintained and marked trail.


Difficulty: Moderate

  • Distance: 6 km

  • Elevation: 287 m

  • About The Trail: This well-marked trail leads to the summit of Mount Galiano and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. During spring, it is recommended to bring waterproof hiking gear and bushwacking tools in case of unexpected weather. Watch the waterways for whales. It is important to note that there may be private property along the trail, so staying on the designated path is crucial.


Portland Island Trails


Portland Island is a small island in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. It has rocky beaches, forests, and wildlife, and visitors can enjoy hiking and camping there. The island is protected and has a rare butterfly and other animal species. Visitors should be respectful of the island's ecosystem. It's a peaceful and beautiful destination to enjoy nature.

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 5.6 km

  • Elevation: 76 m

  • About The Trail: On Portland Island, Kanaka Bluffs Trail is a must-do for any hiker or camper exploring the Gulf Islands. This easy loop trail is a well-maintained main trail on the island and offers stunning views of the surrounding water and mountains. There are a few off-shoot options for those looking to explore more or cut the hike short. Along the way, you'll be able to spot marine life and wildflowers, making for a scenic and peaceful hike. With three campgrounds available on the island, this trail is a perfect pit stop on your paddle tour or a great place to spend the night and explore more of the island. Don't miss out on this hidden gem in the Gulf Islands.


Wallace Island Trails


Wallace Island is a small island in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. It has hiking trails, quiet beaches, and campsites. Visitors can hike, kayak, and see wildlife. The island is protected and has black-tailed deer, river otters, and eagles. Visitors should be respectful of the island's ecosystem. It's a peaceful and beautiful destination to enjoy nature.

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 5 km

  • Elevation: 80 m

  • About The Trail: This trail is waiting to be discovered by hikers and nature enthusiasts alike. The trail is a point-to-point trek is considered easy and takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete. The trail is well-maintained and offers a scenic walk until you reach Princess Cove, a secluded beach that is perfect for a picnic lunch or a refreshing swim. The beach is picturesque, with crystal clear water and a peaceful atmosphere. If you are interested in staying a little longer, Wallace Island is a great spot for camping too. Whether it's hiking other trails or enjoying paddle sports such as kayaking or paddleboarding, you’ll want to check out camping on Wallace Island here.


Salt Spring Island Trails


Salt Spring Island is the biggest and most populated island in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking, explore the island's beautiful landscapes, and visit art galleries and cultural events. The island also has a lively downtown with shops, restaurants, and cafes, and is known for its farmer's markets and farm-to-table dining. It's a unique and charming destination to experience the natural beauty and culture of the Gulf Islands.

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Distance: 3.9 km

  • Elevation: 318 m

  • About The Trail: Located on Salt Spring Island, the loop trail keeps you entertained by spotting the famous fairy doors that can be spotted along the way, adding an element of whimsy to the hike. The trail can be accessed by two different routes; the eastern trail has more switchbacks making it easier, while the western trail offers stunning views of Vancouver Island at the top. The view at the top is definitely worth the hike, with incredible views of the surrounding area that are simply breathtaking.


  • Difficulty: Hard

  • Distance: 10.1 km

  • Elevation: 550 m

  • About The Trail: This trail is not for the faint of heart, but it is a must-try hike for seasoned hikers looking for a challenge, stay at a campground nearby to recoup form the 3 hours and 45 minutes it take to complete this hike. At the top, it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. This route is the longest of several in the area, making it the most difficult. There are several different offshoots and levels to choose from, but this one is the most rewarding. The panoramic views at the top of Baynes Peak are worth the effort, offering a stunning 360-degree view of the Gulf Islands and beyond.


Saturna Island Trail


Saturna Island is a small island in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and kayaking, and explore the island's rugged landscapes, parks, and beaches. The island has unique plant and animal species and visitors should be respectful of its fragile ecosystem. It's a remote and rugged destination to experience the natural beauty and wilderness of the Gulf Islands.

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 2.6 km

  • Elevation: 204 m

  • About The Trail: It is a popular hiking trail located on Saturna Island in Gulf Islands National Park. This challenging hike summits Mount Norman, where you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding islands and waterways. Make sure to bring your binoculars or cameras and look out for orcas and whales passing by! It is an out-and-back trail that usually takes hikers around 1 hour to complete.


Pender Island Trails


Pender Island is a small island in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and fishing, and explore the island's beautiful landscapes, parks, and beaches. The island also has a lively community with shops, restaurants, and accommodations, and is known for its local food scene. It's a charming and relaxed destination to experience the natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle of the Gulf Islands.

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Distance: 5.3 km

  • Elevation: 237 m

  • About The Trail: If you're looking for a challenging but rewarding hike on South Pender Island, the Beaumont Trail is definitely worth checking out. This out-and-back trail, which can be quite steep at times, has stunning views at the top making it all worthwhile. The trail is estimated to take around 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete. In addition to hiking, the area is also popular for paddle boarding and kayaking as well as camping. Be sure to bring plenty of water and wear sturdy footwear, as there are some small hills and steep elevation gains.


  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 1km

  • Elevation: 0 - 5 m

  • About The Trail: Located on North Pender Island, part of the Gulf Islands Park Reserave, this park features a short out-and-back trail on an Islet that showcases scenic views of the Salish Sea and passing boats. It's a great place for a family outing or picnic, with easy access to the water. Follow the trail through the trees and along the relatively flat ground, catching glimpses of the water and local birdlife. The trail leads to a bench and then to the end of the Islet, offering stunning shoreline views of passing boats and ferries. After taking in the sights, walk back along the trail to explore other areas along the water.


Mayne Island Trails


Mayne Island is a small island in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and cycling, and explore the island's beautiful forests, beaches, and hills. The island also has a small but lively community with shops, restaurants, and accommodations, and is known for its arts and culture scene. It's a peaceful and relaxing destination to experience the natural beauty and artistic richness of the Gulf Islands.

  • Difficulty: Hard

  • Distance: 2.3km

  • Elevation: 124m

  • About The Trail: It is a short but challenging out-and-back trai hike that offers breathtaking views at the top. While the trail is not well maintained and has overgrown trees, it's important to keep an eye out for the trail markers, as the trail can be quite difficult for some. The yellow and orange tabs mark the easy and medium trails, while the red tabs indicate the harder hike.

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

  • Distance: 13.4 km

  • Elevation: 267 m

  • About The Trail: Located in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, offering hikers a chance to experience the stunning natural beauty of the area. The trail takes an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete and is open year-round, so visitors can enjoy it in any season. The trail is also popular among mountain bikers and offers scenic drives for those who prefer to explore the area by car.


The Gulf Islands in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, offer countless trails across multiple islands, showcasing a range of landscapes such as old-growth forests, rocky shorelines, and breathtaking viewpoints. The Gulf Islands provide hiking opportunities suitable for all levels of experience, from the challenging 8.4km Bodega Ridge Trail on Galiano Island to the easy 5.6km Kanaka Bluffs Trail on Portland Island. Visitors can explore the national park reserve natural wonders and marine life and even camp on several of the islands.


If you are looking to SUP in this area, check out our Gulf Islands trip and ask Pam any questions.


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