Salt Spring Island is one of the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. It is the perfect long weekend getaway: coastal scenery, moderate climate, beaches, hiking, farm to table food, and laid back vibe.
Drive up to the top of Mount Maxwell and go for a hike
After a glorious sleep in, we ate breakfast in our hotel room. I brought one of these hot oatmeals with me to eat and it was very yummy. I picked up coffee to go from local favourite TJ Beans a few blocks down from the Salt Spring Inn.
Then it was off to our last big hiking adventure at Mount Maxwell Provincial Park. Many reviews I read prior to the trip recommended that you have a 4-wheeler or sturdy car to make it up the long drive to the top of Mount Maxwell. I would have to agree! Thank goodness for Angela’s RAV4. It is definitely a bumpy drive up on very narrow dirty and gravel roads.
After a good 20-25 minute drive up Mount Maxwell we reached the peak and parked. Baynes Peak is the highest point on Salt Spring Island. There are stunning views of Burgoyne Bay, Burgoyne Valley, Fulford Harbour, the Gulf Islands, and Vancouver Island down below.
After taking in the views we began our hike. There is limited information on actual hikes to do so we snapped a picture of the map posted in the parking lot and choose a few trails to follow. We figured we would watch the time and head back to the parking lot if any of the trails took too long.
We started hiking around the ridge of Baynes Peak. The views are lovely and the trails are relatively well-marked and easy to follow. This didn’t take long so we crossed the road and headed into the forest in search of other trails. 45 minutes later we got very, very lost. We ended up in a field (pictured above) overlooking the Gulf Islands but had no idea where we were. Minutes later there was a very loud thumping noise in the forest. It may have been a deer but it sounded a lot heavier than that. Scared, we made our way back to the trail we came on in hopes of finding a marker.
I haven’t been that scared of being legitimately lost in a very long time. I even began calculating what time we had to get back to the car by in order to make our 4:00 pm ferry. Fortunately, after 30-40 minutes of wandering and trying to retrace our steps we found the main road that we drove up on. Hallelujah! We followed the road back to the car and drove back down to Ganges Harbour for lunch.
This was probably my least favourite meal of the trip – all the other food was just so good. The portions were on the smaller side and more expensive. But lunch was certainly good at the Oystercatcher and the waterfront patio can’t be beat.
Explore beaches on the way to Long Harbour
We had some time to kill before our 4:00 pm ferry back to Vancouver. We pulled out the Salt Spring Adventure Map and stopped at a few beaches on the way to Long Harbour Ferry Terminal.
Do a short hike while waiting for the ferry at Long Harbour
Have more time before boarding the ferry? Grab a snack at the hilarious Snack Shack up the road blasting Caribbean music or wander the trails off the side of the road.
Wave goodbye to Salt Spring Island as you sail back to Vancouver
Finally it was time to board the ferry and sail back to Vancouver feeling very relaxed and rejuvenated after 3 glorious days on Salt Spring Island.
What is the best place you have visited this summer? Have you gotten really lost before on a hike?