Biking the Gulf Islands

Gulf Islands by Tom Coleman

Photo by Tom Coleman

Fresh marine air, beautiful island landscapes, unique ecosystems: that’s the kind of journey that awaits you in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. Located between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, these islands are perfect for a biking getaway with lots of surprises along the way.

Making it to the Gulf Islands

To make it to the Gulf Islands, you’ll have to take ferries. If you want to bike it all the way, it’s easy to begin in Victoria following the picturesque Lochside Trail, with wonderful seaside views. This trail will take you directly to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, where you can take a short ferry to one of the islands. The biggest and most popular island is probably Salt Spring Island!

Salt Spring Island

An iconic haven for farmers, artists and independent entrepreneurs, Salt Spring Island is also known as the organic gardening capital of Canada. The people who live there all year long love their local food and have even come up with their own currency!

During your bike ride, you’ll see old-growth forests, secluded beaches with warm water perfect for swimming, organic farms and artisanal wineries.

Mayne Island

If you’ve ever taken the ferry between Victoria and Vancouver, you’ll know about Active Pass, that narrow spot between Mayne Island and Galiano Island that ferries sail through. The historic Active Pass Lighthouse is one of the many fascinating historical spots to visit on Mayne Island. Other attractions include beautiful Japanese gardens, more organic farming, pebble beaches and even a glass foundry. 

Pender Island

Pender Island is actually two islands joined by a bridge, although it used to be one island before 1902, when a channel was dredged to make way for steamships. Pender Island is known for its many arts and crafts studios, from painting and jewelry to antiques and photography. Make sure to stop by Bedwell Harbour, one of the most beautiful harbours in BC.

Galiano Island

Galiano Island is a narrow island on the edge of the Gulf, with gorgeous views of the Strait of Georgia. Long home to the Coast Salish people, you can ride through untouched old-growth forests, enjoy haute cuisine in its resorts and spot bald eagles, orca whales and other local fauna. Galleries and craft studios can be found all over the island.