Park on South Pender Island encompasses over 100 hectares of varied
forests, grasses and varied wildlife. The forest is regenerating,
having been logged as recently as 1985.Mount
Norman Park is a part of the Gulf Islands
National Park Reserve, which protects a portion of British Columbia’s
beautiful Southern Gulf Islands, a landscape of rocky headlands,
forested hills and shorelines studded with colourful tidepools.
from Mount Norman, South Pender Island
One of Canada’s
newest national parks, the Gulf Islands National Park resembles
a patchwork quilt of protected lands scattered over 15 larger islands,
and many smaller islets and reefs.
The Coast Salish people - the Saanich and the Songhees - hunted
and fished around Pender Island as far back as 6,000 years ago.
In the 1700s, Spanish explorer Francisco Eliza sailed past Pender
Island, which he named Sayas ("skirt"). Permanent settlement of
the islands by Europeans began with small sheep farms in the 1800s.
By the 1900s, the island community had grown large enough to warrant
a government wharf, a post office, and ferry service from Sidney
on Vancouver Island.
Because the Gulf
Islands are so tightly configured, it's often difficult to determine
where one begins and another leaves off, especially as Vancouver Island
provides such a big backdrop that it takes on the appearance of a
mini mainland. One of the best ways to sort out the geography is to
take a hike to one of the higher viewpoints, such as the peak of Mount
Norman. From this vantage point you can identify the surrounding islands.
from Mount Norman, South Pender Island
The main hiking trailhead is off Ainslie Point Road. From here,
start your 30-minute hike through stands of Willow and Red Alder
surrounded by towering Douglas firs. Proceed along twisted trails
over a bedrock base established 80 million years ago.
Finally reaching the summit of Mount Norman, the highest point
on the Pender Islands, at 244 metres (800 feet), the views of the
surrounding islands and northern San Juan Islands are unsurpassed.
The vista from the top makes every step of the hike worth it. After
a rest, you can return to Ainslie Point Road, or continue the trail
down to Canal Road on the northern boundary of the park.
Facilities in Mount Norman Park are limited to toilets, parking,
and a boardwalk at the viewpoint atop Mount Norman (no camping).
Adjacent to the park is Beaumont Marine
Park, which is also part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
Beaumont is reached by a separate trail leading off near the main
trailhead. It's a fairly steep 2.5-km trail, and while it only takes
about 30 to 40 minutes to walk down, it's a challenging hike to
come back up. With good anchorage, mooring buoys, and a sandy beach
for kayakers to land, Beaumont is a popular place to camp (11 campsites)
and picnic for visitors touring the islands by boat or kayak.
Mount Norman Park
is located on South Pender Island
in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, 5 miles (8 km) southeast
of the Otter Bay Ferry Terminal (a 15-minute drive).
view of the Pender Islands
Access to the
park is off Canal Road. Turn right onto Ainslie Point Road immediately
after crossing the wooden bridge that connects North and South Pender
Islands. Follow the road to the Mount Norman Park entrance, where
parking is available.
BC Ferries provides
a vehicle and passenger ferry service to Otter
Bay Ferry Terminal on North Pender Island from Swartz Bay on
Vancouver Island (Victoria) and from Tsawwassen, south of Vancouver
on the BC mainland.
of North and South Pender Islands attracts kayakers, canoeists,
fisherman and scuba divers. Cycling is a great way to explore the
islands as there are so many roads and beautiful beaches to discover.
||Poets Cove Marina, Pender Islands
||Poets Cove Marina is located in beautiful Bedwell Harbour on Pender Island, one of the top ten anchorages in the Western Hemisphere. Contained within North America’s largest designated marine park, the Marina at Poets Cove offers 110 deep water slips for boats up to 100 feet, with fuel, power, water, and a Canada Customs office right in the Harbour. Heated pool, hot tub, laundromat, and showers.
||Poets Cove Resort & Spa, Pender Islands
||Poets Cove Resort & Spa is the premier luxury resort on the Gulf Islands, hidden away in a secluded bay on Pender Island, offering 15 cottages, 9 villas, and a lodge with 22 rooms looking west toward ocean sunsets. Amenities include a stunning ballroom, an elegant restaurant, world-class spa, heated pools, and a Marina.
- British Columbia
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
2220 Harbour Road
Sidney, BC, V8L 2P6