Time & Elevation: 2½ hours walking from Snug Cove, 1½ hours from car park, 75 ft.
Difficulty: Medium as there are a few steep inclines around the lake
Access: By foot from Snug Cove; by bus (see bus schedule); parking at the lake
Main Attraction: Good circular walk, lovely lake views
This trail is very well marked, with both arrows and maps at various points. If starting from the ferry ter- minal, turn right on Cardena Road and left into the park. A wooded trail leads you alongside the small lagoon, past the Memorial Garden and then on to Miller Road. Just before the road, a right-hand turn leads you to the fish ladder and Bridal Falls, well worth a side trip.
Turn right on Miller Road and cross into the park just before the Catholic Church. Walk straight along Killarney Creek Trail, past the turn-off to the meadow, then take either the left or right fork to decide whether you wish to hike around the lake clockwise or anti-clockwise. If clock- wise, a short walk on Killarney Creek Trail takes you to Magee Road where you turn left and then right to access Killarney Lake. Here you will find benches and tables and beautiful views over the lake, a good lunch spot, much used by visitors. There is also a long-drop toilet available.
From here, follow the trail around the lake and watch out for roots. There are three boardwalks and some good views of birds and old growth fir. On the return trip, leave the lake via a left-hand turn to Magee Road again and go into the trail on the upper fork called Cedar Trail, down to the bifurcation.
This time, take Meadow Trail on your right, cross the meadow (past the dog walk area on your right) and turn left to go over a bridge and back to Miller Road on the Hatchery Trail, so named for the fish hatchery just a bit further along Meadow Trail. Note the amazing ‘hollow cedar grove’ on the left just before a small bridge on Hatchery Trail.
Cross Miller Road and return to Snug Cove on the same trail, but you could turn off to the right at one point and arrive at the Cove further up the road, right across from a variety of restaurants and cafés, plus two pubs. No lack of sustenance, which you deserve after a long walk!
a. When you reach Miller Road first time around, cross the road on the crosswalk and re-enter the park via Hatchery Trail. Pass the turn-off that takes you left uphill to the Bowen Island Community School and the soccer field, continue down the hill and across the bridge.
Just before you turn right to the meadow, try turning left to have a look at the Bowen Island Fish Hatchery. If you are lucky, one of the volunteers will be working there and can show you around. The Bowen Island Recycling Depot is in the background, and to the left of it Knick Knack Nook, a hub of activity for trading old clothes, toys and interesting junk. There is also a long-drop toilet in this area.
b. Instead of entering the park on Cardena Road, carry straight on and cross the causeway, a reminder of the old days when the Union Steamship Company offered weekend getaways for Vancouverites. Here there are benches, an information kiosk and a lovely spot for feeding the local ducks, geese and other sundry birds.
You may catch sight of a Blue Heron or two, as they nest in the trees next to the lagoon. There are beavers at work, cutting their way through the tree trunks at the water’s edge, but they are rarely visible. On your right, you have a beautiful view of the North Shore mountains and close at hand a variety of boats either permanently anchored in the bay or just there for the weekend.
You can reach Killarney Creek Trail by turning left on Melmore Road and sticking to it until you reach Miller Road and the start to Killarney Creek Trail.