However, you will want to bring a car if you plan to bring a lot of stuff, want to explore and get from A to B quickly, and plan to take home lots of treasures. Driving times are short on-island, but walking times are much longer due to hilly and winding roads.
Read on for more about all the ways to get around Bowen and what to expect.
Bringing Your Car
If you decide to bring your car, here are some notes on car access to each of the Bowen Island Accommodations properties. You'll be glad to know we have a gas station here which includes diesel, though weekend and holiday hours may be limited. However, as of this writing, We don't have an electric car charging station.
The Evergreen Cottage, the Weaver Waterfront Cottage and Eastman Waterfront Retreat and Cottage are easy to drive to, with no special driving instructions or vehicle requirements.
Car Access to Bowen Island Accommodation Properties
The Eastman Cottage is at the bottom of a sloping gravel driveway. Driving down the driveway, you'll see there is space midway to turn around and back into the parking space in front of the cabin, parking facing up the hill. We recommend doing this if your car is front-wheel drive. Twice in the last four years front wheel drive vehicles who drove down the driveway found it difficult to back out of the parking area and the tow truck was called.
|View coming down the Eastman Cottage driveway:|
take a left to turn around and back down to the parking spot you see on the right.
The Lazy Bowen Hideaway and Lazy B Waterfront Suite are at the bottom of a AWD/4WD access road only. If you have an AWD/4WD vehicle, please watch this handy video on how to safely drive the road down to the properties.
If you don't have AWD/4WD, not to worry, there are a few other options for getting you and your things down to the properties:
- You can book our Cleator Road Shuttle Service at least a week in advance. It costs 40.00 for a round trip, but worth it if you're bringing lots of luggage or have mobility issues and walking the road is not an option. Ask Jan about the specifics of this service.
- If you're able-bodied and don't have too much luggage, parking is available up top on Eaglecliff Road by the mailboxes, and walking scenic Cleator Road is an option many choose. It's about 5 minutes down and 8 minutes back up, and is a great opportunity to get some exercise in before you hunker down to a Lazy Bowen holiday on the waterfront deck or in front of the fire.
|AWD or 4WD only on Cleator Road.|
Winter Road Conditions
Snow is no guarantee on Bowen, but it can happen. As a rural community, our main roads get plowed during a winter snowfall, but side roads get attended to last, and there is no promise that any one road will be plowed, salted, or sanded at any time. We recommend guests be prepared for all road conditions in the winter whether a new snowfall, icy or plowed and sanded. Please use caution and keep in mind that there is only one tow truck on Bowen... if you get stuck, getting help may take a while.
You can check out road conditions here: http://bowenisle.info/roads/roadstat.php and on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/611672372355913/
Property driveways may have snow so you may need to be prepared to park away from the property's designated parking spot and walk in a little way.
|Eaglecliff Road, post-plow.|
Going Car-less on BowenIf you don't have a car or want to leave yours at home, there are options for getting around, but be forewarned -- they require you to be fit or very patient.
BusBowen is easy to get to via the 250 or 257 bus from Vancouver. While on Bowen, various areas can be accessed by the Bowen Island Community Shuttle, part of TransLink. The schedules can be found at the Municipality website here.
However, do check the schedule, as the buses only service commuter hours on weekdays and are limited throughout the day on weekends and holidays, generally servicing each of the two routes once every two hours. So don't expect regular service as in a city, and do look at the schedule before planning your day out.
The Compass Card fare or transfer you received from the Vancouver buses on your way to Horseshoe Bay will work on Bowen with no extra charge if you board the bus soon after getting off the ferry.
|The C11 Eaglecliff bus takes you to the|
Lazy Bowen Hideaway & Lazy B Waterfront Suite.
If you are staying on the east side of Bowen Island (this would include the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and the Lazy B Waterfront Suite) you will be pleased to know that the C11 bus to Eaglecliff will drop you right at the top of the driveway. To catch the bus from the ferry, walk a short distance to the red library building where you will see the bus stop on Cardena Road. Tell your bus driver that you would like to be dropped off at Cleator Road, they will know where that is. The bus ride only takes about 15 minutes. When returning to Snug Cove, be out on the road 10 minutes before it's expected time so you don't miss it, and just wave down the bus anywhere along the route and hop on. You can pay with exact change or scan your Compass Card. More info about fares here.
Unfortunately, the bus does not service the Mt. Gardner area or Taylor Road, so if you are staying at the Eastman Waterfront Cottage, the Eastman Waterfront Retreat, or the Evergreen Cottage, you will have to find other transport there. There are a few options...
Bowen TaxiThe Bowen Taxi is an option, but do call ahead of your trip to see about availability (there is only one taxi car as of writing), and check their operating schedule online.
New - As of December 2018 the taxi is only running on weekend evenings.
HitchhikingFor an old-school authentic taste of the Bowen Island lifestyle, hitch a ride with a local to wherever you're going. Either wait on the road or at any of our designated "LIFT" spots, smile, and stick out your thumb, and you should get a ride in no time.
Rather than try to hitch a ride on Bowen Island Trunk Road in Snug Cove, however, walk to the start of one of the four "artery" roads - Miller Road, Dorman road, Mount Gardner Road (by the school), or Bowen Island Trunk Road (past the school). You will be more likely to get picked up as drivers will know which way you're heading.
WalkingWhile the Evergreen Cottage and the Weaver Waterfront Cottage are relatively close to the ferry (about a 20 minute walk from Snug Cove), the other properties are about 3km or an hour or more from Snug Cove to walk. Bowen is hilly and there are no sidewalks outside of Snug Cove, so walkers should be fit, prepared for all weather, and mindful of traffic.
If you're walking after dark, do make sure you are visible to traffic (reflective gear is best) and have a flashlight, as most roadways on Bowen Island don't have sidewalks and walking becomes dangerous after dark. In snowy conditions, we recommend bringing removable shoe-grips so you don't fall on icy paths.
BikingIf you are very fit, bicycling may be an option for you, but be forewarned - Bowen is very hilly and roads are narrow. You'll want to be very aware of cars around you and wear high-visibility gear. Also, know that deer and their young can pop out from the brush onto the road at any time as well. If you are a regular cyclist and have a great set of lungs and the muscle power to tackle Bowen hills, it can be a nice way to travel.
|Photo by Neil Spinney|
You can rent scooters in the high season for a few hours to a few days from Zoom Zoom Bowen scooter rentals. Rentals are weather dependent, and booking ahead is prudent, so give them a call or email before you head over to Bowen. This can be a fun way to get around, but keep in mind all we have mentioned above, that roads are narrow and hilly, so drive with caution, and please keep to all posted speed limits.
|Photo from zoomzoombowen.com|