Hiking Salt Spring Island; Coast To Coast Adventures

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A hike a day keeps the Doctor away? I don’t know if that is true, but hiking Salt Spring Island each day certainly offers you the chance to see something new and wonderous every time. Mother Nature is the most talented artist around and Salt Spring Island is one of her masterpieces. Mountains, forests, and shorelines are all part of hiking Salt Spring Island inventory and in some cases, you can choose all three in one hike. It may be the wet and rainy Winter season, but it is the perfect time to put on your hiking boots and explore the more than 180 square kilometres that make up Salt Spring Island. Let’s go hiking!

Hiking Salt Spring Island begins

One of the things I like to do when I visit places is to talk to locals and find out what their favourite things about where they live are. Even though I’ve been to Salt Spring Island many times before this trip is no different. Chatting with my host at Lost & Found Guest House I found out about a trail that is easy to walk but offers stunning woodland views and will take me right to the coastline of the Island. It’s called Chris Hatfield Trail and it is going to be my first hiking Salt Spring Island adventure.

Entrance to Chris Hatfield Trail and Ruckle Park

The best directions I can give you to find the start of the trail is to Google Map Cusheon Cove Guest House. There is a small turn around area to park your car and this is where the trail begins. Just look for the blue B&B Road sign.

Cusheon Cove & Chris Hatfield Trail marker

The hike begins with a gentle walk into the forest parallel to some private property. Apparently this little pond I walk by is off limits to us humans but our four legged friends are welcome to go for a swim.

A private swimming hole for dogs

As I get deeper into the woods, I am struck by how lush and alive everything is. If I could use one word to describe it, it would be verdant. Moss covers everything from rocks, hillsides to entire trees. Take a deep breath and your lungs will fill with the cleanest and crispest air you’ve ever enjoyed.

Moss covered hillside in Ruckle Park

Moss covers everything inside Ruckle Park

The path is well marked and very easy to follow. Every once in a while, a sign appears to let me know I am headed in the right direction. There are some choices to be made, do I take the path to Pebble Beach or the trail to look out over Cusheon Cove? Depending on how much time you have you could do both.

Well spotted signs mark the trails

Trail map of Ruckle Park

I head to Pebble Beach as I want to see the water. It is a grey and overcast day, yet the beach is still magnificent. I can see myself enjoying a bottle of Salt Spring Wild Cider and sandwiches from Penny’s Pantry all while sitting on the beach enjoying the view and the water.

Last few feet to the water

Pebble Beach at Ruckle Park Salt Spring Island

Honestly a very easy hike for all ages, perfect for kids and dogs.

For my next hike, I decide to cheat and get right to the good stuff, the beach! Baker Beach Loop is located at the end of Baker Beach Road. You park your car in the tiny lot at the end and then walk back up the road to find the trail start. The trail takes you back up near Lower Ganges Road and then loops back down to the water where you can walk along the beach until you hit some stairs that end in the lot where you parked your car.

Parked car at Baker Beach Parking lot

It’s a lovely little hike, but unfortunately, I have to return to Vancouver shortly so I cheat and head straight to the beach.

Stairs down to Baker Beach

There are a few people out and about, but everyone seems to be out for a little solitude. A polite nod of the head and a good day greeting is shared. Otherwise, I am left to my own company.

Sunny day selfie at Baker beach

Looking out towards the water from baler Beach Salt Spring Island

It is gorgeous here with views to some homes on the other side of the inlet and across the way to Crofton Ferry dock and Chemainus. The truly amazing views though are under my feet. You don’t even have to look hard to see the layers of rock that that make up the foundation of Salt Spring Island. Remembering back to my Geology classes I can guess that the rocks beneath my feet are laid out as a result of tectonic plate upheaval. The normal horizontal layers are turned almost 90 degrees and you can see each layer.

Fantastic bedrock striations can be found at Baker Beach

Sharing Baker Beach with a dog and its owner

My favourite photo of the day is of this tree growing on top of vertical layers of rock. It is truly amazing and I spent quite a bit of time exploring the various rocks and formations.

Amazing rock formations found at Baler Beach Salt Spring Island

Baker Beach is also a great place to come for a bite to eat on a sunny day. I brought with me a Winter Bowl from B Nurtured food truck just a  few minutes away in Ganges Harbour.

Winter Bowl to go on Baker Ridge Beach Salt Spring Island

I have only just scratched the surface of the adventures you can have hiking Salt Spring Island. I could spend every waking moment discovering new hikes. In fact, I’ve already made a date to join a local on a hike up Mount Maxwell the next time I am on the Island. I encourage you to schedule in some hiking time when you visit Salt Spring Island. It is truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth.


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About Author

Marc Smith is a single, 45-year-old, gay urbanite, living in high-rise heaven in Vancouver’s chic Yaletown neighbourhood. After a ten-year career as one of Vancouver’s pre-eminent event planners, he decided it was time for a change and posted on his Facebook page “I am ready for a change. What shall I do with my life?” 30 Day Adventures was born from that status update.


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