Welcome to ihikebc.com!

Trip 250 - May 27, 2022 (Friday)

Retreat Cove Cave Visit

Galiano Island BC

Retreat Cove Cave Location: Galiano Island, British Columbia. Approximately 16 kilometers from Sturdies Bay Ferry Terminal via Sturdies Bay Road, Porlier Pass Road and Retreat Cove Road.

Liked: A small picturesque cave, fine sandstone formations near the cave.

Of Note: The path past the cave is complicated and is for experienced hikers only. Uneven ground and slippery stones. Hiking poles and boots are recommended to the cave, and are highly recommended past the cave.

Vancouver Island, Victoria & Gulf Islands Backroad Mapbook (9th edition) Retreat Cove Cave Approximate Coordinates: Page 20 (Galiano Island) - main map and inset - D2 or D7.

Related Websites: Wiki - Galiano Island, Galiano Island Chamber of Commerce.


Retreat Cove cave is a small (about 15x3 meters) cave made of sandstone located very close to Retreat Cove dock on Galiano Island, one of British Columbia's Southern Gulf islands. You can get to Galiano Island via a ferry from Tsawwassen or Swartz Bay, and then it's 16 kilometers to the dock (via Sturdies Bay Road, Porlier Pass Road, and Retreat Cove Road), and 70 meters of stone-hopping to get to the cave. The "path" then continues past the cave for another 200 meters or so and becomes substantially more complicated, even dangerous, as much care needs to be taken to avoid falling into the ocean.

The cave is very picturesque, especially when the sun is out. Beyond the cave, there are some interesting sandstone formations, but hiking poles/boots and some hiking experience would definitely be good to have for anyone proceeding past the cave.

Finally, Retreat Cove Road is fairly narrow, and any vehicle larger than a full-size pickup truck may find it complicated turning around at the dock, where the road ends.

1. Here is a Google map showing the route from Sturdies Bay Ferry Terminal to Retreat Cove Road.

2. We are on Porlier Pass Road on Galiano Island, heading towards Retreat Cove dock.

Porlier Pass Road Galiano Island BC Canada

3. Turning left from Porlier Pass Road onto Retreat Cove Road.

Porlier Pass Road at Retreat Cove Road - Galiano Island British Columbia

4. Retreat Cove Road immediately after the turn. There is a pit toilet located on the left side, pretty much across the mailboxes.

Retreat Cove Road - Galiano Island BC Canada

5. Retreat Cove Road 100 meters after the turn.

Retreat Cove Road

6. The end of Retreat Cove Road, 600 meters from Porlier Pass Road. Coordinates: N 4856.372 W 12330.045 Elevation: 40 meters. There is not much space to park, but two vehicles should fit in there. Otherwise, park by Porlier Pass Road, near the mailboxes.

Retreat Cove Road at Retreat Cove Dock Galiano Island BC Canada

7. Here is a dock walkway. The path to the cave is immediately to the left.

Retreat Cove Dock Walkway

8. A quick look at the Retreat Cove dock, in case you decide to take your boat here instead of driving.

Galiano Island Retreat Cove Dock

9. To get to the cave, head down the path to the left of the walkway.

Retreat Cove Path to the Cave

10. Then, turn left.

Path to Retreat Cove Cave Galiano Island British Columbia

11. The cave is only 70 meters away from the dock.

Retreat Cove Cave - Galiano Island - British Columbia

12. It's quite small, but very picturesque.

Retreat Cove Cave British Columbia Canada

13. Retreat Cove cave looks even better from the inside.

Retreat Cove Cave

14. Especially, when the sun is out.

Galiano Island Retreat Cove Cave

15. The shape of the cave is also very attractive.

Retreat Cove Cave - Galiano Island - BC - Canada

16. It's just a pretty small cave.

Galiano Island Retreat Cove Cave

17. Looking from the other side, very neat.

British Columbia Cave - Retreat Cove Cave on Galiano Island

Here is our video of the Retreat Cove cave.

More ihikebc videos are on our YouTube Channel.

18. If you are properly equipped and experienced in dealing with challenging terrain, the route continues for another 200 meters and leads to interesting sandstone formations.

Galiano Island BC

19. This is a particularly complicated stretch, as the path becomes very steep, and careful foot placement is in order to avoid an unplanned swimming session.

Sandstone on Galiano Island British Columbia

20. Neat sandstone, though.

British Columbia Sandstone on Galiano Island

21. At 290 meters from the dock, the path becomes impossibly steep, and one has to turn around.

Galiano Island

22. A fine view on the way back.

Retreat Cove Galiano Island BC

Retreat Cove cave may be small, but its attractive shape is certainly worth the visit. Highly recommended.

BACK: Galiano Shore Access Page 4    NEXT: Mayne Island BC Visit

Other Trips on Galiano Island:

Mount Galiano Trail

Galiano Island Visit

Bodega Ridge Trail


Montague Harbour PP



Galiano Shore Access

Other Trips:



ihikebc.com Trip 250 - Retreat Cove Cave Visit (Galiano Island BC)