Kayaks on Bowen Island
(Picture BC photo)

Bowen Island


Bowen Island is situated at the mouth of Howe Sound, just a 20-minute ferry ride from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in West Vancouver.

The island municipality has an area of 52sq km/20sq mi, slightly smaller than New York City's Manhattan Island. Overall, the atmosphere on Bowen is quiet and rural.


Immediately west of Bowen Island is Keats Island, which shelters the harbour of Gibsons at the south end of the Sunshine Coast. To the north lies Gambier Island. The tiny Hutt Island sits off Bowen Island's northwest shore.

The bodies of water around Bowen Island include Queen Charlotte Channel to the east, Collingwood Channel to the west, and the Strait of Georgia to the south. Bowen Island is sometimes categorized as part of the Gulf Islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

Landscape and Climate

Bowen Island is nicknamed "The Rock" and its forested and hilly terrain offers some challenging mountain bike routes and hiking trails. The tallest mountain on Bowen Island is Mount Gardner with an elevation of 762m/2,500ft, while Mount Collins has an elevation of 411m/1,350ft.

There are two climate zones on Bowen Island: the dry Coastal Douglas Fir Zone and the Coastal Western Hemlock Zone. These zones account for the diversity of trees (cedar, arbutus, hemlock, fir) and abundant wildlife on Bowen Island.

Tunstall Bay and Bowen Bay, on the west side of the island, are among the popular swimming and boating destinations. Several freshwater lakes also grace Bowen Island. Notable ones include Killarney Lake, which has a fish hatchery, and Grafton Lake, which serves as a water reservoir.

Water supplies are limited, and many locals rely on wells and septic systems. Therefore, water conservation is a priority, particularly in the summer.

Climate & Weather

Like Vancouver, Bowen Island enjoys mild coastal weather throughout the year, getting about 2,000 hours of sunshine a year. Temperatures can drop to freezing point in the winter, and peak at about 30°C/86°F in the summer. The average annual rainfall is between 150cm/59in and 180cm/71in.