GET YOUR ASS OUTSIDE: On Finding Mount Galiano (And Getting To The Very Top Of It)

February 25, 2013 

Ariel Taylor | Part of what brought me to Vancouver (and largely what has made me stay) are the seemingly endless opportunities to be in the wilds surrounding our city. These destinations are part of what makes living on the best coast just exactly that. This column will share those back road, off the radar type destinations that maybe require just a little (or sometimes a lot) of perspiration to enjoy. Dont worry, this isn’t some Arc’teryx junky’s deathwish list. They’ll be full disclosure on just exactly what you may (or may not) be getting yourself into. So the next time you find yourself with a day off and nothing to do, try to resist the urge to hit the couch and get the f@ck outside instead!

The Spot

Galiano Island is an easy day trip from Vancouver and when the sun is shining even the ferry ride is pretty epic. I first climbed Mount Galiano a couple of years ago (albeit hungover on New Year’s day) and I promise you the payoff was well worth the impending nausea. The panoramic view encompasses neighbouring Mayne Island and stretches across the twin Penders over to Saltspring. Arbutus and Gary Oaks give way to a patchwork of moss and any burn you’ve worked up during that last push to the top will be quickly swept away by the salty sea breeze. You should probably bring a sweater, an apple, and some water.

The Route

Take the ferry from Swartz Bay to Sturdies Bay on Galiano Island (about an hour). Follow Sturdies Bay Rd. to Georgeson Bay Rd. and park at end of Active Pass Drive. It’s about a 6km hike to the lookout and should take most people under 2 hours to do. The path is well marked so there’s really no getting lost. The elevation change is around 300m but most of it happens in the last 20 minutes of the climb, so don’t get too cocky at the trailhead. Dogs are welcome and you may even pass some islanders on horseback. Coming down almost always takes less time so steal some extra minutes on top. If you’ve worked up a thirst, the Hummingbird Pub has you covered (with margaritas) en route back to the docks.

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Ariel Taylor is a writer and professional student living and working in the West End. Though never short on opinions, she approaches most things in life with an open mind and a grain of salt. She suffers from acute wanderlust (hence her Get Your Ass Outside column) and as a result can be packed for most adventures in 10 minutes or less.

  • Thomas

    “It’s about a 6km hike to the lookout and should take most people under 2 hours to do.”

    Forgive my ignorance; is that one way or round trip?

  • Geebs

    HEY. Easy on the Galiano press; that’s two posts in one week. Next thing you know, the corner shop will be carrying Herschel bags and Edison bulbs, and Sean Heather will have a sausage parlor in place of Flying Black Dog.

  • Ariel

    Hi Thomas. My apologies for the confusion, it’s 6km
    to the lookout and another 6km back down. Hope you
    get a chance to check it out and thanks for reading!

  • Sarah

    Is there a bus you can take if you dont have a car?

  • Ariel

    Hi Sarah,

    Sadly I don’t believe there is a bus that will take you to the trailhead. However, getting over to Galiano itself is possible via translink to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal. I realize not everyone has access to wheels and will try to include a few posts that don’t require them. Thanks for reading!

  • Antonio

    What about bringing the dog along? Is that cool?

  • Ariel

    Hi Antonio,

    Yes, dogs are definitely welcome.