Mount Gardner

View Mount Gardner (South/true Peak) in a larger map


What:  758m.  A mountain with two peaks!  The South (true summit) is nothing to get excited about.  The North Peak boasts a spectacular view on a clear day, 2 helipads and some telecommunication towers. 

Where:  Mount Gardner is the highest point of land on Bowen Island.  It is located near the center of the island.

Difficulty: 3/5  Several well-marked routes.
Runnability: 3/5 Paved and dirt road sections.  Singletrack.
Peak view: 4/5
Partially-obstructed views of Howe Sound peaks, city, ocean
Scenery: 4/5 Park trail, lakes, second growth forests.
Children: 4/5 Ferry ride. Treats in town.  Aggressive distance.
Dogs: 3/5 May be limited in park.

Route overview:  Varied.  A bit of road. Some wide, gravel trails.  Some old logging road and some rough single track. 

Trip distance:  Approximately 14 km return from ferry.

Trip time:  Budget 2.5 - 3 hours out and back from the ferry dock at Snug Cove.  This assumes a moderate running pace, where running is possible, and some contingency for getting lost.


  • Cellular coverage is spotty.
  • GPS inconsistent on trail to peak
  • no emergency shelters in area, but permanent homes in area and trail is popular
  • Recommend you bring a small version of your Baggers Companion.

History: Named by Captain George Vancouver in 1793 after Rear Admiral (later Lord) Alan Gardner.  Gardner was captain of the ships Europa and Courageous.

Headwaters for:  Some small streams.

Getting there:  The easiest and cheapest way to get to Bowen Island is by ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, BC, Canada.  The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes.

Route Details:  The trail to Mt. Gardner is well traveled.  There are several ways to get to the summit, but the Gardner Hardener trail is the most fun and direct way to the true peak.  Here's our bagger route:

  • Ferry to trailhead.  From the ferry, take your first right at the library, then go left onto the Crippen Regional Park trail after about 50M.  Nice gravel trail for about 3K.  Follow signs to Killarney Lake.  Follow left (west) side of the lake clockwise with lake to your right.  About 3/4 of the way around the lake, cross a small bridge then take the first trail to your left steeply uphill to the paved Mt. Gardner Road.  Cross and go right (west) about 200M.  You will come to a gravel road (Bowen Pit Road) with a small kiosk that has detailed topo map of the mountain. 
  • Trailhead to peak.  Take the gravel road uphill.  After about 500M, you'll come to a gate.  Shortly thereafter, look for a trail to your left (Skid Trail), also known as the Gardner Hardener.  While you can get to the North Peak via the road, the Hardener is far more scenic and takes you directly to the true summit.
  • the South summit is uninspiring.  There are a few scrubby pines, some blowdown, no view at all and a small rock cairn.  Put your rock on the pile, take your bagger photo and follow the signs on over to the North Peak.
  • on a clear day, the view from the North Peak is breathtaking.  Have a snack.  Knock the pine needles out of your shoes.
  • for a change in scenery, drop down the rope next to the big green phallus and take the North trail home.  It descends fairly steeply on nice single track.  You'll eventually drop down onto a coarse gravel road that will take you back to the kiosk at the trailhead

Neighboring Peaks

  • Bagger Challenge peak Mount Collins is also on Bowen Island.

Submitted by:  Ean Jackson and David Crerar

More information: 

Do you have feedback on this route or more up-to-date information that might help the next person? If so, please use "Add new comment" below to share.  Thank you! 



Sibylle's picture

 Great hike and Ean's

 Great hike and David's descriptions were very helpful.  A few points of note, though:

  • if you are cycling to the trail head, follow instructions until you come to the picnic area, then switch to Mount Gardner Road to avoid a steep gravel uphill.  
  • Lock your bikes just before you reach the gate.  Note, while there clearly is a trail marked to the left, the Gardner Hardener signage was missing of not legible.
  • We followed the road up until we came upon the South Trail.  Tired of the rough logging road we hopped on the trail.  Beautiful terrain hugging the mountain and continously rising, eventually getting quite steep with a few rocky, rooty scrambles
  • South Peak has no signage and you can easily miss the cairn (there are three cairns in the vicinity).  The trail continues to the North Peak and it is well marked.  Don't be fooled when the trail starts to lose altitude.  You'll come to a marked intersection with the trail to the North Peak clearly indicated.
  • Once at the North Peak, enjoy the spectacular scenery.  
  • There is some shrubby stuff obstructing the North Trail near the green phallus, but if you look around you;ll find the continuation before it descend down a couple of ropes (nothing too scary).
  • Confusing signage on the way down.  We stayed on the trail that was marked with "to Killarney Lake" assuming this would be the shortest way to the lake.  Wrong.  Stay on the North Trail.  The trail we picked eventually almost petered out and was most definetely a detour, eventually dropping us back onto the gravel road.
  • Very rewarding hike, highly recommendable. 
cbullington's picture

Tomorrow - i will meet you at the yellow beacon just > 7;00 am

looking forward to have fun!!

cbullington's picture

Nice Hike

What a wonderful weather we had for our little adventure... :)

Ean Jackson's picture

A Visual Tour of Route to Mount Gardner


Downtown Bowen Island.  At the library, go right to get to the trailhead.







Follow Ken up the trail toward the lake.








The trailhead to Mount Gardner at intersection of Mt. Gardner Road and "Hiker's Trail".  Note the detailed topo map in the kiosk.







Go left here onto the Gardiner Hardner trail








Happy me.  I bag Mount Gardner.  Exciting summit, isn't is?







The North Peak of Gardner








Our prizes for a bagging Mount Gardner


Ean Jackson's picture

Ken MacLeod Weighs in on Mount Gardner

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