Via BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Snug Cove
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Distance From Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay Ferry
About 20 kilometers via Lions Gate Bridge. Ferry
trip to Bowen Island - 25 minutes one way. Trip frequency - about once an hour
from early morning to late evening (with a break of several hours in the
Views of the nature and other ferries,
modern-looking interior and exterior (Queen of Capilano ferry), cafe
available on board, lots of room on a mid-morning weekday run,
comfortable waiting room at the Horseshoe Bay Terminal.
Of note: Rather
steep ticket price (over $41 for a vehicle and a driver return fare).
Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (2010 edition)
for Bowen Island: Page 10 (Gibsons)
The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available
for purchase at
We took this ferry trip to get to Bowen Island, where we hiked
Mount Gardner (described
in the next trip report). But the ferry ride was remarkable on its own.
Great views and an interesting experience await intrepid ferry takers.
Here we go:
1. The directions to Bowen
Island Ferry are as follows. To get to Horseshoe Bay ferry
terminal from Vancouver, you need to take Highway 1 West to the very
end, where it turns into
Highway 99 Sea-to-Sky. Here we are approaching the end of Highway 1
West. Stay right to get to the ferry terminal.
Highway 1 BC Near Horseshoe Bay
2. Just a bit further, there is
another decision to make. If you are driving a vehicle onto a ferry,
stay right. To get to
Horseshoe Bay Village, or, if you are a foot passenger heading to a
ferry, stay left.
3. As we were driving a vehicle to a
ferry, we took the right lane and ended up at the toll booths. Ferries
from Horseshoe Bay Terminal go to Nanaimo (Vancouver Island), Snug Cove
(Bowen Island) and Langdale (Sunshine Coast). It comes as a surprise to
some people, but you cannot take a ferry to Victoria from here, and
instead need to go to Tsawassen Ferry Terminal, located 1.5 - 2.5 hours
(depending on traffic) away in Delta, near the US border. Another option
is to take a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo and then drive to
Victoria. You can also take a ferry to Nanaimo from Tsawassen.
Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal Toll Booths British Columbia Canada
4. Toll booth #8 served Bowen
Island ferry riders. Our return trip cost for a car + driver was almost
$42. There is no toll booth at Bowen Island, and you just board the
ferry on your way back without any ticket.
Bowen Island Toll Booth Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal Province of BC
5. We then drove forward and
parked in lane #70. Lane #69 is reserved for Bowen Island-bound vehicles
too. We would then drive for half a minute to our left to board a ferry.
6. While waiting for the ferry,
we checked out the waiting room located right by lane #70.
7. It turned out to be a very
modern, cozy-looking waiting room. Seats, snacks, public phones,
washrooms, what more can a reasonable traveler ask for? By the way, see
the TV in the top left corner?
Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal Waiting Room Photo BC Canada
8. That TV was showing the ferry
schedule, as well as the current location of all the ferries serving Horseshoe
Bay, their heading, speed, and estimated arrival time. On the TV map
Horseshoe Bay is where Queen of Cowichan is located, Bowen Island is
just to the left across a small stretch of water, and Vancouver Island
is a mass of land closest to Coastal Renaissance.
BC Ferries Vessel Tracking TV Screen at Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal
9. Having checked out the waiting room (there is
another one at the terminal too), we went to see the boarding of
Nanaimo-bound Queen of Cowichan. Vancouver Island-bound ferries are much
larger than Queen of Capilano, which we would take to Bowen Island. This
is Queen of Cowichan.
BC Ferry Queen of Cowichan at Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal
10. So that you know where this ship is going...
11. BC Ferries workers were busy directing traffic
entering the ferry.
BC Ferries Workers Directing Traffic Boarding Queen of Cowichan
12. Some foot passengers were waiting on the side. Not
sure if they were going to Nanaimo or Bowen Island.
Foot passengers waiting at Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal British Columbia
13. Finally, we were directed onto the ferry. It was
not possible to take a photo of the exterior of our ferry from the terminal, but
when we visited Horseshoe
Bay last year, we took a photo of Queen of Capilano (the only ferry
going to Bowen Island) at that time, so here it is.
BC Ferry Queen of Capilano (en route to Bowen Island)
14. And here we are, boarding Queen of Capilano.
Cars Boarding Queen of Capilano BC Ferry at Horseshoe Bay Terminal
15. Departing Horseshoe Bay. A seagull and two other
ferries are saying good-bye.
16. Time to check out the interior of the ferry on the
second floor, above the car deck. Looks very modern.
BC Ferry Queen of Capilano Interior
17. Passengers can enjoy looking through large
Inside Queen of Capilano Ferry
18. Hungry? There is a cafe waiting for you.
Cafe Inside Queen of Capilano BC Ferry
19. Bon appétit!
Passengers Eating at BC Ferry Queen of Capilano
On the next page, we will check
out the open upper deck, see the views, and also take a look at Bowen
Island's Snug Cove ferry terminal.