Adventures Canada Travel Guides

Things to do on Salt Spring Island – from Kayaking to Hiking

June 4, 2018
Salt Spring Island: Top 5 things to do for adventure seekers  - kayaking

A short 20-minute ferry ride from Vancouver brings you to the picturesque island of Salt Spring. Known for its laid back lifestyle, artistic residents, wineries, craft fairs and an abundance of locally grown produce. Did you know they even have their own currency and the locals will often hitchhike to get from one end of the island to the other as public transport is so sparse! It’s a great place to visit with a family and there are heaps of things to do to keep you active, from hikes leading to the most incredible views across the Gulf Islands to plenty of sheltered bays for kayaking trips.

 

 

Here’s my Top 5 Things to do on Salt Spring Island…

Salt Spring Island: Top 5 things to do for adventure seekers  - the view from Mount Maxwell

The view from Mt Maxwell (photo: Saltspringmarket.com)

  1. Mt Maxwell Provincial Park – is this the best view on Salt Spring?

Mount Maxwell Provincial Park is home to Baynes Peak, the highest point on Salt Spring Island. From the 588m summit, you can look down upon the picturesque Fulford Harbour, across to the Gulf Islands and beyond to the snow-capped peak of Hurricane Ridge, just north of Seattle. There are heaps of well maintained hiking trails in this area.

Note the gravel road leading up Mount Maxwell is steep and narrow. Many local taxis won’t take you on this route and if you’re driving yourself, it’s worth opting for a 4×4.

Further reading:

 

Salt Spring Island: Top 5 things to do for adventure seekers  - mt erskine

Salt Spring Island – the view from Mt Erskine

Salt Spring Island: Top 5 things to do for adventure seekers  - fairy houses mt erskine

Spot the fairy houses on Mount Erskine!

  1. Look out for the teeny fairy houses on Mt Erskine

A semi-steep 1.7km trail (one way) through the forest leads you another of Salt Spring Island’s most spectacular viewpoints looking across the Gulf Islands towards Vancouver Island. As you follow the trail, look out for the tiny fairy doors hidden in the tree trunks and foliage; making this a great walk to enjoy with kids!

Start from the turnaround at the end of Trustees’ Trail. Look out for the trail head sign and follow the path between the trees. As the forest starts to open up, you’ll be treated to a blanket of moss, ancient tree trunks and a canopy of green overhead; this is a great option if it’s a hot sunny day as much of the path is sheltered. Follow the trail up and before you know it you’ll have reached the peak – a flat mountainous outcrop perfect for a lunch stop.

Further reading:

 

Salt Spring Island: Top 5 things to do for adventure seekers  - kayaking in Ganges harbour

Things to do on Salt Spring – go Kayaking!

Salt Spring Island: Top 5 things to do for adventure seekers  - kayaking in Ganges harbour 2

Discover hidden bays and remote beaches with your kayak

  1. Go wildlife watching whilst kayaking in Ganges Harbour

The safe and calm waters of Ganges Harbour offer an easy paddle along the shoreline of this beautiful island. Keep your eyes peeled for harbour seals, sea lions, eagles and a whole host of other wildlife. It’s the perfect family activity.

If you’re a keen kayaker and have a bit of time on your hands, many of the local kayaking companies offer multi-day adventure tours taking you deep into the Canadian wilderness. Chances are you’ll be sea kayaking alongside whales on their annual migration, and may even spot a bear along the shores.

The only thing holding us back was money. Kayaking in Canada is pricey when compared to Asia and even Europe so do your research.

We kayaked with Salt Spring Adventure Co. and couldn’t fault their service.

 

Salt Spring Island: Top 5 things to do for adventure seekers  - cycling through Ganges

Cycle through the town of Ganges and take a step back in time

  1. Cycle 35km / 50km to see the best of Salt Spring in a day

There are two cycling loops on the island of varying lengths.

The first is a 35km route starting at Long Harbour Ferry Terminal – travel north towards Southerly Point, across to Vesuvius, take in Salt Spring’s main town of Ganges and finally return back to Long Harbour.

The second is a slightly longer 50km loop which starts and ends in Ganges – take in Fulford Harbour and Ruckle Provincial Park before heading back to the ferry terminal.

These two routes are on fully paved well-maintained roads. Just be wary of traffic as there are no cycle lanes on the island and in the summer months the roads get pretty busy. The great thing is both routes start and finish at Long Harbour Ferry Terminal and so you can simply get a day ticket and be back in Vancouver before dinner.

Further reading:

 

Salt Spring Island: Top 5 things to do for adventure seekers  - Saturday Market in Ganges

Be sure to check out Salt Spring Island’s Saturday market!

  1. You MUST check out the famous Saturday Market

OK this isn’t an outdoor activity per-se, but you’re still walking so it is gentle exercise! If like me, you love organic home-grown produce then Salt Spring Market is for you.

Farmers, growers and makers from all around Vancouver attend this weekly market. The only rule is that all products must be ‘vendor produced’ – they must ‘make it, bake it, or grow it’ themselves; a simple rule that makes this market experience so unique.

The market runs every Saturday (April – October).

Further reading:

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4 Comments

  • Reply 7 Easy Hiking Trails with Breathtaking Views - Travel Interesting June 9, 2018 at 6:59 am

    […] But be warned, Salt Spring is known to have a resident cougar so keep your wits about you – make plenty of noise as you walk and carry a big stick for defense – that’s my advice! Discover other outdoor activities on Salt Spring here. […]

  • Reply Exploring Vancouver walk, bike or run the Seawall to Granville Island - Travel Interesting June 29, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    […] Check out nearby activities on Salt Spring Island  […]

  • Reply Josy A November 7, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Oooh I am thinking of heading out to Salt Spring Island this weekend, so this is really helpful, thank you! We’re mostly going for the hikes, but hopefully we can fit in some of these other activities too. 🙂

    • Reply nickyherbert November 8, 2018 at 5:43 am

      Oh thats great news! The hikes are great there, so much to see. Make sure you hunt for the fairy houses!!

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