Penders’ Special Places

Pender Island is known for its accessibility to public spaces. Along with numerous well-marked parks, there are many local public access points to trails and beaches. Look for our attractive cedar signposts created by the Pender Island Parks and Recreation Committee and you will be pleasantly surprised by the treasures they hold.

South Pender Island

Gowlland Point

A beautiful pebble beach at the end of Gowlland Point Rd. on South Pender Island, where you can enjoy views of Saturna Island, Mt. Baker and the San Juan Islands. A walk around the headland takes you to Brooks Point. From the headland it is possible to see, in season, whales, porpoise, Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones and a variety of seabirds.

Brooks Point Regional Park

The entrance to this spectacular forest/headland/beach area is located off Gowlland Point Road, just before Kloshe Rd. on South Pender Island. Take the boardwalk through the wetland forest, which in early spring has an abundance of flowering salmonberry. You will come out at a meadow which contains typical flowers of the Douglas fir ecosystem. The rocky headland offers views of Boundary Pass. River otters can often be seen frolicking amongst the rocks. Orcas and marine traffic can be spotted transiting this busy waterway. The beach itself is a great place to observe intertidal life at low tide. In late April, the headland is blanketed with Chocolate Lilies and Common Blue Camas. In the winter this is a good spot to view waterbirds, specifically Harlequin Ducks and Pigeon Guillemots. At times you can see flocks of gulls. From Brooks Point you can walk to Gowlland Point to complete the circle. Going in the opposite direction, you can walk up the beach to Higgs Road and from there return to your starting point.

Greenburn Lake

Part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, this pristine lake is located on South Pender Island, just before the Fire Hall. A short, moderately uphill walk through the forest takes you to the lake where you can see waterbirds, such as Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers in the winter months. There is a walk around the lake, which requires a bit of scrambling. By crossing the dam and taking an unmarked trail to your right you will arrive at a viewpoint looking toward Vancouver Island. Occasionally, Turkey Vultures and eagles can be seen soaring beneath you from this high ledge.

Enchanted Forest Park

Located on Spalding Road, just before the road turns to Poet’s Cove Resort, this level path through the mixed forest is a delight for children and adults alike. Bridges and boardwalks over wet areas make this walk accessible throughout the year. In the spring, a waterfall can be observed near the ocean end of the trail. Several signposts identify common flora seen along the trail.

Mt. Norman – Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Located along Canal Road, a 20 – 30 minute vigorous hike will take you to a viewing platform where you can see to Victoria, Vancouver Island, and the San Juan Islands of Washington State. This is one of the few areas remaining on Pender Island where it is possible to hear and see Sooty Grouse in spring. In some areas where there is mixed woodland, one can hear and see a variety of flycatchers and warblers. A circular route can be completed by taking the Ainslie Point Road trail back to Canal Road, along Canal Road and back up to the parking lot entrance.

Beaumont Marine Park

Access to this part of the Gulf Island National Park Reserve is from Ainslie Point Road. This vigorous hike takes you down to the water’s edge. As with many wooded areas on Pender Island, Calypso Orchids and other wildflowers can be seen in spring. You are rewarded with a sandy beach and great views. There is a campsite located here, along with washrooms. This area is popular with kayakers.

Mortimer Spit

Located on Canal Road, just across the bridge from North to South Pender Island, this spit of land is a great place to beach-comb and it is a popular place for boats travelling from Bedwell Harbour to Port Browning. It’s also a good place to launch kayaks and dinghies. “The Spit” is an excellent winter waterbird area for mergansers, goldeneyes, buffleheads and other seabirds. Spotted Sandpiper is occasionally seen here in the winter.

North Pender Island

Xelisen – Coast Salish traditional harvesting area

Located just before the bridge to South Pender Island, this isthmus shows evidence of Coast Salish peoples having encamped here to harvest shellfish more than 2000 years ago. Look closely at the banks and you will see soil embedded with shell fragments. This quiet little beach is sometimes called our “Shell Beach”. Mortimer Spit can be seen across the waterway.

Medicine Beach Conservation Area

Located at the junction of Aldridge Rd. and Schooner Way, this beach and wetland area is overseen by the Pender Island Conservancy. The beach can be easily walked at low tide around the entire bay. There is a rocky cliff path that gives wonderful views south to the San Juan Islands. From this spot, in breeding season, Purple Martins can easily be viewed. Ospreys nest in the vicinity. This is a good place for watching winter waterbirds. Buffleheads, grebes, mergansers and scoters are seen here on a regular basis. There is also a resident Kingfisher who likes to make his presence known with his unique call. Virginia Rail have bred in the marsh area.

Magic Lake

Located at Schooner Way and Privateers Road, this lake is a popular spot for kayaks, canoes, and swimmers in the summertime. In the winter, it’s an excellent place for viewing wintering waterbirds. Flocks of Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, American Wigeon and Ring-necked Ducks are regular visitors here. In the springtime, many families of mallards can be seen. This lake is the only known breeding site on Pender Island for Pied-billed Grebe. In spring, multitudes of swallows can be seen hawking for insects. Below the dam, in the alder woods, skunk cabbage flourishes. In summer, yellow Water Lily is a common emergent plant.

Oaks Bluff Park

Located on Pirates Rd., a short hike through Douglas fir forest takes you to the bluffs which offer incredible views of Swanson Channel. Moresby and Portland Islands can be seen from the bluffs. There are comfortable benches available and even a picnic table to enjoy your lunch at the top of this very high cliff. The area is not recommended for young children, as there are no safety barriers. Peregrine Falcon has nested on the rock face.

Peter Cove – North and South

Follow Pirates Road to the end of the peninsula and you will enter the neighbourhood of Trincomali. Plumper Way takes you to 2 public access points – the Peter Cove North path leads to a small beach, another good spot for wintering birds, and farther up the road is a marked path that leads to a bench where passing boats and ships can be seen on Swanson Channel. Following Trincoma Place takes you to Starvation Bay and Peter Cove South, where you can see ages old junipers and Garry Oaks hanging out over the rocks. In winter, Black Oystercatchers and Black Scoters are often seen in this area.

Thieves Bay Park and Marina

Located at the end of Privateers Road where it becomes Anchor Way, there is a beach and grassed area perfect for picnicking. This is the most popular area to view Orcas as they pass close close to the breakwater. Harbour Seal can often be seen just off the rocks.   A public washroom is located here, along with a public boat launch and picnicking area.

George Hill Park

Located in the Stanley Point neighbourhood, there are 2 entrances to this park. Off Upper Terrace Road, a 10 minute moderately steep hike takes you to a viewpoint where you can see toward Victoria and Salt Spring Island in one direction, and Active Pass and Saturna Island in the opposite direction. There is a more challenging entrance to the same viewing area off Ogden Point Road. This steeper hike takes about 15 minutes. Garry oak trees and spring wildflowers, such as Common Blue Camas, can be admired here.

Hope Bay

Following Bedwell Harbour Road past the Pender Island Library, takes you to Hope Bay, a small commercial area with docks and a restaurant. This picturesque protected bay offers good views of winter waterbirds, including Barrows and Common Goldeneye, American Wigeon and Buffleheads. Roosting Bald Eagles can often be seen on Fayne Island. From the docks you can see Mayne and Saturna Islands, along with occasional giant freighters waiting for their turns to unload in Vancouver Harbour. This is an excellent spot to see Harbour Seal and River Otter. On the dock pilings, good views can be had of Sea Anemones.

Roesland and Roe Islet

Located along South Otter Bay Road, these properties form part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. At Roesland, at one time a family resort, the Pender Islands Museum is situated. There is a wide beach to admire, which in winter, holds several dozen American Wigeon. On the pilings in Boat Bay, Purple Martin houses have been erected and they are widely used. At low tide, access is gained to Roe Islet, a rocky outcropping of Douglas Firs and Garry Oaks. In the springtime this is a good spot to see Fawn Lilies and other spectacular spring wildflowers. Views of Otter Bay and the ferries can be enjoyed from the benches at the end of the trail.

Roe Lake

Continuing along South Otter Bay Road, bearing left at the junction of Irene Bay Road you come to the well-marked entrance to Roe Lake. This area is also part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. A gentle 10 minute walk takes you to the lake where trails in either direction give excellent views of this pristine natural lake. In the winter time Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers and other species can be seen here. The lake can be circumnavigated with a bit of persistence. A loop trail will take you to Shingle Bay and back to your starting point. There is evidence of an active beaver colony, one of the few sites on Pender Island where they can be found.

Shingle Bay

Also part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, entrance to this secluded bay can be gained by following the gravel road down to the shore from the entrance to Roe Lake. Another access is located via a trail off Harpoon Road. Camp sites and washrooms have recently been added to this lovely spot. This site is of historic interest as evidenced by the old pilings and ruins from the former fish rendering plant.

Hamilton Beach

Located in Port Browning Harbour, off Hamilton Road, this site is a popular tourist stop. Marina facilities, along with a store, restaurant and Pub, make this a great place to enjoy views of Mt. Norman, Mortimer Spit and the San Juan Islands. You can often spot Harbour Seals, River Otters, Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagles. In winter it is possible to see 4 or 5 species of gulls. The site of our annual beach cleanup, this beautiful bay is a great walking area.